Buffalo Sabres loyalty Scott Miner, Director of Information Technologies for the Buffalo Sabres, has learned a lot about customer engagement, customer experience, and brand loyalty since the team launched its Sabres Fan Advantage loyalty program last year.

Technology plays a vitally important role in people’s daily lives, a fact not lost on sports fans.

“It is apparent that technology, social media, and fan loyalty have all become intertwined within the sports industry,” Miner told Loyalty360. “Go to a game and you will see fans interacting with their phones inside and outside of the venue. It is important that we use that technology to help our brand, whether it is our Sabres App which is more “On Ice” oriented, or the Fan Advantage App, which focuses more on the activities fans do in the concourse and outside of the game. It really has created an all-encompassing experience for our fan base in Buffalo Sabres Loyalty terms of technology.”

Miner explained that it was imperative for the Sabres to listen to fans before and after the loyalty program launched.

“The program had to be molded to fit our fan base,” Miner said. “Each market is unique, especially when it pertains to technology. As we move forward, we are still constantly adjusting and fine-tuning the program based off feedback for our fan base. We have been making note of comments that arise on a recurring basis, and work to adjust to program to fit the needs of our fans. It is very important to use all of this feedback productively, and we feel that we can continue to make this program a unique experience that, in a sense, our fans have built.”

Engaging fans is everything when it comes to a professional sports franchise, Miner said. And technology plays a vital role in that equation.

“In terms of experience, we want to make sure that whether the team wins or loses, fans enjoy the experience that they come to,” he said. “Things such as a loyalty program, especially one that fans can interact with at the game, play a part in that experience.”

Customer loyalty has changed greatly in recent years, Miner said.

“Some companies have always based loyalty off of how often a patron will visit your business,” he explained. “In the sports industry, loyalty can be expressed in many different ways. There are fans who consume our product in various other ways, or live hundreds or thousands of miles away. Changes in technology, such as mobile loyalty apps, have helped us reach those “Out of Town” fans. The loyal customer will still be the person who comes to the games, but the definition of a “loyal customer” has changed to include a whole new clientele.”

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