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EFC Customer Care Factor? Zero!

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I won't bore all you Toffeeweb devoties with a long and laborious article, I just wanted to bring your attention to another article I have just read (you can find it here if you wish to read Football clubs 'pay lip service' to customer care).

Basically the piece outlines a study completed by the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) on the customer care guidelines set by each Premier League and Championship club in their 'club charter'. Amongst other things, these charters are supposed to provide fans with information on how to go about submitting complaints, the contact information for the Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO) and should provide clear timeframes for dealing with said complaints and should be easily accessible.

Each club was scored according to the quality of their charters, with a maximum possible score of 35 (that being top quality). Second from the bottom was Manchester United, with a measely score of 8. No real surprise there! Everyone knows that the fans aren't happy with their current owners, and they have the green and gold scarves to prove it.

Dead last, however, was my beloved Everton Football Club, with a score of 0! Nothing! Zilch! Our club does not even have a charter, let alone a poor one!!!

It is sad to say though that I wasn't the least bit surprised when I read this. It seems that if you are going to get rid of AGMs and EGMs then you may as well get rid of the club charter.

Just another nail in Blue Bill's 'contempt of the fans' coffin.

Chris Bannantyne, Sydney, Australia     Posted 15/03/2011 at 03:29:44

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Michael Kenrick
1   Posted 15/03/2011 at 05:52:52

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Wow, that really surprises me (no, seriously). I thought they really bigged all that up... but maybe it was a couple of years ago, if I recall.

What's gone wrong? Zero has to be a mistake. I thought Graeme Sharpe was Fans Liason Officer or something.

They used have a deal that all questions submitted would be answered... maybe there have been just too many questions? I really don't understand...
Lynn Thorne
2   Posted 15/03/2011 at 06:45:46

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I was surprised too. I know they're not brilliant ? but generally my dealings with them have usually been good.

I recently wrote to them in respect of my dissatisfaction with the state of the club and my reluctance to renew my season ticket. I received a satisfactory reply within 24 hours (not a bog standard one) and a promise that the points I raised would be forwarded to relevant people and I would hear again soon.

Michael Brien
3   Posted 15/03/2011 at 06:41:21

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Not really surprised that Football Clubs, in this country, score so badly generally in "customer care" ratings. I think that Football is one area in this country were the public have been and are being ripped off.

There is the boast that the Premier League is the best League in the World ? usually it's made by the media in this country !!

If you compare ticket prices here with those in countries like France, Spain and Germany then we are definitely being ripped off. To go and see my local team Lincoln City in League 2 (or Division 4 in reality) you would pay more than you would to see top German sides such as Bayern Munich,Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04. I was in Spain on holiday around Easter time in 2009 and toyed with the idea of going to see Valencia play in La Liga ? there were several ticket price levels but I recall there were several areas of their stadium where the admission price was 20 Euros and that was not the cheapest ticket price.

Be it ticket prices, food at the stadia or replica shirts, Football in this country is in real danger of alienating its public. It used to be a game that had working class roots ? certainly a game of the people. Sadly, just like "New Labour", the game appears to pay lip service to its roots in the drive for new converts.
Øystein Heggelund
4   Posted 15/03/2011 at 07:51:40

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The zero score basically seems to be a result not of the fact that customer care is non-existent at our beloved club, but that the club has not been rated at all in six of the seven categories. 'N/A' rather than '0' suggests that the foundation for setting a score is not there, as is also suggested by the comment in the document that there does not seem to be an official 'club charter' at Everton.

Having said that, I don't think we would have scored particularly well even if such a charter had been in place. I have had a few bad experiences as far as tickets are concerned, while the customer service regarding web membership, EvertonTV etc seems to be working adequately.
Gavin Ramejkis
5   Posted 15/03/2011 at 08:11:30

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It wouldn't have happened under previous administrations but does fall into the general malaise that's rife here now. I think BK has resigned himself to that fact and given up what little he did care, he knows the club is fucked as it stands and the trouble with taking things for granted is that it spreads. The club takes its fans and supporters for granted with lip-service token gestures getting even less and less by the season. Without a significant change this is the current Everton way.
Mike Green
6   Posted 15/03/2011 at 08:25:27

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If I've got this right, the score is based simply on the quality of a club's Customer Charter. We got a '0' because there was no Customer Charter in place, which the club says is because it is currently being updated. Might be true, in which case fair enough... but wouldn't you leave the current one in place whilst updating the old...?

Spurs may also have the best Customer Charter ? that's no good if they don't stick to it; another club might have a very basic one because the integral DNA of how that club is organised looks after its fans naturally and doesn't need one.

I'm always suspicious of method statements, charters etc as it pangs of organisations going through the motions to tick a box in this morbidly regulated world we live in. By the looks of EFC's statement I'd say they've hit a banana skin within that arena which they'll be looking to repair ? with the first stop being having a look at Spurs charter!

It's all a lot of bollocks at the end of the day unless it actually means something and they stick to it. Judge the club as you find it ? not by the phoney trinkets it wants to show off.
Chris Keightley
7   Posted 15/03/2011 at 08:34:00

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I can't remember a season when we have been dragged every which way through the slurry on and off the pitch, with poor team performances, lack of transfer activity (out-going does not count), hatred toward manager and chairman alike, talks of protests, splinter supporter groups (Evertonians for Change) ? and still the passion toward Everton remains. This is why I love Everton and its fans... and, in my honest opinion, why I continue to support and follow this amazing club!!!
Chris Bannantyne
8   Posted 15/03/2011 at 08:49:09

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Yeah. I get the feeling too that a 'club charter' is just another committee trying to cover it's arse in the typical bureaucratic way. "What do you mean, you couldn't lodge a complaint? Didn't you read our award-winning club charter?"

I'm not saying that a club charter is the answer to any of our problems, but it does still annoy me that something that is supposed to be in place simply isn't. I must confess I don't know exactly how much these charters achieve, but if it helps give the fans a voice, then why don't we have one??? Oh that's right, BK is chairman, my bad!

Phil Bellis
9   Posted 15/03/2011 at 09:01:27

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Could it be not that "there have been just too many questions" but, taking a lead from the top, the club got bored witth them?
Kevin Gillen
10   Posted 15/03/2011 at 09:15:37

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This is what we have all been saying for a very long time. It is the reason why we will lose a whole generation of fans and ruin any future chance of competing with the top six. The lack of information and total disregard for customer satisfaction cannot continue.
Guy Hastings
11   Posted 15/03/2011 at 09:14:59

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What a flawed piece of research:

"The Toffees? club charter is seemingly non-existent as an internet search for ?Everton? and ?club charter? only returns links to Liverpool?s website."

'Seemingly'??? ? it's either existent or non-existent.

They Google 'Everton' and ''club charter' and nothing appears. So, that's it, then. Did they even bother to contact the club? I'm no EFC admin apologist but this is just shite.

Club charters aren't worth the paper they're on in the first place.

Tony Waring
12   Posted 15/03/2011 at 09:19:55

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If we were top of the league with a 5-point lead, I doubt anyone would notice whether we had a charter or not. Frankly, I don't think surveys like this are worth the paper they are written on ? as you probably already know if you've ever been stopped in the street by somebody with a clipboard. I wish a charter was the only think to worry us!
Alan Clarke
13   Posted 15/03/2011 at 08:59:49

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I no longer feel like an Everton fan. I feel more like an Everton customer. I support Everton but it's quite obvious the club don't give a shit about me or anyone else. Regardless of whether we have a customer charter or not, customer care is absolute crap and all any fans liaison officer (such as the sell-out Graeme Sharp) does is toe the party line. I'm shown more loyalty by John Lewis or Tescos to be honest.

The problem is, if you treat your fans purely as customers, they start behaving like customers. If the product is shit, we'll stop buying it. This will be reflected in season ticket sales over the summer and match attendances between now and the end of the season.

It feels hollow now to say this is an amazing club ? it isn't. It used to be and there are some amazing fellow customers who will keep buying the product no matter how bad it is and they will continue to be customers through thick and thin. It feels now like It's just somewhere we congregate on a match day to have a bit of a drink, a sing song and a shout. Nothing we do as fans matters unless the club are taking money off us for it.

I bought my first season ticket when Kendall was in charge for the 3rd time. I've watched some utter crap for most of my days as a season ticket holder so I don't think I'm being disloyal in not renewing my season ticket. Despite us not being perennial relegation strugglers now, I've honestly never felt this hopeless and disillusioned about Everton. I'd like to write some obscenity about Elstone and Kenwright now but they truly couldn't give a shit about me or anyone else who ever criticises them.
Chris Matheson
14   Posted 15/03/2011 at 09:41:35

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Alan at 13, Gav Ram at 5 ? I agree. The mood and tone, the standard is set from the top and when that goes astray, everything else is allowed to go down hill. In my dealings with Everton I have had some very helpful people and some pretty rotten ones too.

Also, ref Graeme Sharp's role as Fans Liaison Officer. No disrespect to Sharpy but doesn't he spend most matchdays broadcasting? If so how can he be involved with and for the supporters?
Dave Roberts
15   Posted 15/03/2011 at 10:32:35

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It seems to me that the only advantage of a written charter would be as a tool to hold the club to account for failing to implement it or meet its requirements.

Otherwise, it's all down to one's personal experiences and I have to say that over the years my own have been pretty good. My only gripe would be the length of time it takes to answer the phone (and that can be said about every organisation these days) and accordingly I gave up that route some time ago.

However, a problem of my own making when applying for Cup Final tickets was solved very efficiently. I e-mailed, received a reply within 5 minutes, and proceeded to have an online conversation with a lady who solved the problem there and then.

On the rare occasions I have seen the stewards in action, I have been left with nothing to be concerned about and, as far as making complaints is concerned, well, I've never had to make one and that, for me, is more important than having a charter telling me how to do it and how it would be dealt with.

Much ado about nothing if you ask me and I have far more to be concerned about than the lack of a charter, such as an underperforming team, and I doubt if that would be dealt with by a fan's charter, would it?

Tony J Williams
16   Posted 15/03/2011 at 11:23:57

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I have had no problems with EFC as a company in all the dealings I have had with them.

The only issue was the Villarreal tickets, that was a farce but I got the game anyway and they learned from their mistakes.

Every transaction I have had has gone through smoothly; however, people don't cry out loud when everything is fine so the minority who have received poor customer service will always be heard but the majority of the others will remain silent.

I haven't been asked about customer service ergo the system for judging it is flawed.
Tommy Coleman
17   Posted 15/03/2011 at 11:34:27

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The People's....
Richard Dodd
18   Posted 15/03/2011 at 11:23:49

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Life is all about `Charters` and `Mission Statements` these days so that companies can be hung out to dry by quasi-independent bodies set up to monitor `performance` against the promises they make. All of it is total bullshit and a major job creation strategy. I should know having spent ten years in local government where this all began.

From my experience, Everton is no better or worse than most other Prem clubs as far as fan liaison is concerned although I have little time for their Press Office and how they handle football matters.

Trevor Mackie
19   Posted 15/03/2011 at 11:36:31

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Everton as an organisation is a shambles from head to toe and is destined to be Coventry in the next few seasons ? shithole of a club now.

British football is woeful and has been for 20+ years, I wouldn't spend more than a tenner to watch a Prem game, in fact I've hardly watched a full 90 mins of a live tv game concerning any Prem club for years. Absolute dross with Moyes the latest Allardyce, absolute dog shite.
Neil Smith
20   Posted 15/03/2011 at 11:44:04

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This surveys result is no surprise at all regardless of whether there is a charter or not. Commercially the club is a joke. You can't buy replica kits on the High Street other than the club shop because of some ridiculous narrow-minded kit deal. Even then, we change THREE kits a year. The gear in the club shop is of a poor quality and overpriced. No wonder they are always having offers and sales because they can't sell the rubbish.

I subscribe to the match programme. I used to get it delivered on a matchday by a local firm. Its now contracted to a company in the south of England and I haven't had the last two matches editions yet. I have emailed and rang the club and the company but nobody will take responsibility or get back to me. This is what a charter is supposed to address.

At the end of the day, Everton is a private company and wants your money. Can anyone honestly say that they are getting value for money out of the club? Ask yourself this question because the bottom line is you are customers.

Neil Vaughan
21   Posted 15/03/2011 at 12:19:20

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By recent reports about 'Summer stratergy talks' looks like even Davie Boy has had his fill of Kenwright's bullshit and dissappearing act... about fuckin time too!!
Scott Goin
22   Posted 15/03/2011 at 12:27:18

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So let me get this straight. This was all based on a document found on the internet (or not found in Everton's case). There was no actual study of customer care. I don't get it.

Why should we give a crap about some customer care mission statement? Why are people getting upset over this? Baffling.

Shaun Brennan
23   Posted 15/03/2011 at 12:30:06

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Richard Dodd 18

"I should know having spent ten years in local government where this all began."

I would love to hear you slag off your previous employers...

You might even slag off Everton when you stop working for them, paye or no paye! ha ha

Craig Bellew
24   Posted 15/03/2011 at 12:32:56

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Alan Clarke # 13 ? Absolutely spot on mate, I was going to comment on this post, but you've taken the words out of my mouth!!

Your third paragraph especially rings true.
Gavin Ramejkis
25   Posted 15/03/2011 at 12:55:38

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Doddy, I seem to remember you got bladdered from your civil service cushy number for using the internet whilst you were supposed to be working so a little vitriol aimed at Sefton Borough Council smacks of bitterness.

Can you also quantify your learned knowledge of customer care from all the other clubs and when you have had to deal with all of these other clubs?

Paul Whittaker
26   Posted 15/03/2011 at 13:04:50

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Well said, Alan. The board has lost interest and is now just letting the club drift to obscurity. The expected selling off of its only remaining assets, ie, a handful of marque players, in the summer will confirm this.
Tony J Williams
27   Posted 15/03/2011 at 13:16:13

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Everton FC didn't score 0 points, they were in the process of updating their charter so a N/A would have been correct... but, then again, it looks better when the press can go for the sensationalistic quote instead of the plain truth.

If they really wanted to do the survey correctly, they could have linked to the previous one and scored that but they wanted to try and suggest we were that bad we scored 0. Bullshit of the highest order but some here were salvating on this crooked account to get their teeth into Everton again.
Richard Dodd
28   Posted 15/03/2011 at 15:00:30

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Gavram, you are 100% correct in your first para although I suspect my views on Customer Charters and Mission Statements are shared by most of my ex-colleagues.

You are also right about my in-depth knowledge of other clubs but, unlike some on here, I do speak to ? and correspond with ? followers of those clubs who usually have the same grumbles as we do. OK?

Mike Rourke
29   Posted 15/03/2011 at 16:25:14

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Treat 'em mean... keep 'em keen.
Gavin Ramejkis
30   Posted 15/03/2011 at 16:38:28

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No problem, Doddy, I've got experience of civil service myself, many many many dark years ago... and, having consulted since, it hasn't changed.

The trouble with Everton's charter (or lack of it) is symbiotic with the growing gap between the club that claimed to be open to its fans and supporters and the wall of silence for so long. I've got friends and former colleagues all over this and many other countries, all with gripes about their clubs and sports but none can believe what Everton get up to as they only have smarmy media reports to go on from afar.

I've just noticed the "trick" on the latest forum for 200 lucky season ticket holders, it's for 2011-12 season ticket holders, that's clutching at straws trying to get early renewals for the sake of a chance to sit in a carefully stage-managed meeting.
Karl Masters
31   Posted 15/03/2011 at 16:59:42

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Whilst there is plenty wrong with Everton's off-the-field activities, I'm not so sure I would take much notice of this.

Charters, Mission Statements etc are only as good as the people using them anyway. I tend to agree that by and large they are just bollox.

Another HR inspired PC way of trying to deflect the blame by saying, "Sorry, Mr Masters, that we sent you the wrong size Home shirt, even though it was clearly labelled, but don't worry: we have a Customer Charter in place to address this...'' kind of means, "we know we're gonna fuck up so we tell you this to make you think we don't like doing it, and we hardly ever do," ie, watering down the anger you might feel. Just a way of shutting you up.

However, this season I have to say that although the Club (or their appointed agents, based in bloody Manchester of all places!) did send me the wrong size shirt. BUT also, when I queried the raising of the programme subscription price by 35% last Summer, they did jump on it and deal with it. They have been in touch many times since to make sure I am happy.

(As a footnote, I'm not happy because they turn up very late now... and I have had two never turn up without chasing ? and the Reading one is still not here ? so the jury is still out for me on that one.) Would a charter make any difference? Only if the Club's employees can really stick rigidly to it and often that's not possible or some third party is at fault as witnessed above.

Chris Butler
32   Posted 15/03/2011 at 17:19:31

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In my opinion, our club is the worst in the Premier League at treating our fans like human beings rather than just pound signs. I've given up going, I'm sick of my matchday experience. I'm sick of having no leg room at all, sick of the boring football... and sick of the embarrassing atmosphere at Goodison Park.

We simply haven't moved on from the 80s in terms of what fans want. What chance do we have of gaining new fans when there's no atmosphere, little entertainment for kids, and uncomfortable conditions at GP? The food is ridiculous at GP ? why can't we sell proper food rather than selling snacks?

Let's look at Manchester City, for example, they've recently opened a family stand, a standing area, and a place where fans can congregate before games they call City Square. They liaise with their fans.

Mick Wrende
33   Posted 15/03/2011 at 17:28:21

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Nil out of 35 is quite correct ? that is what our customer care is worth. We are treated like crap so why should the club be given any score? Allan Clarke (13) sums it up ? if they provide us with shit, then we will simply walk away.
Steve Green
34   Posted 15/03/2011 at 19:44:00

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Lyn Thorne @ #2 ? and did you hear again 'soon'? No, thought not.

Appease, Ignore, Promise, Ignore, Prevaricate, Ignore.

All stock in trade of BB and now as a consequence, of EFC... Wonder how they are going to dress up the nosedive in season ticket renewals / sales coming on to the horizon 'Soon'? I've no doubt the relevant PR company are spending time on that campaign as we write.

Total outcome of this regime is now coming to pass. They treat us like shite, shout that they really treat us well ? boast, not content as we know ? and keep fiddling like Nero as the smoke rises around their ears.

A Blue Tsunami is coming, not from the fans and their wrath, just with the total collapse of the club and its whole infrastructure due to under-investment in the correct and relevant areas.

Shame, and shameful.

Nathan Ward
35   Posted 15/03/2011 at 20:05:16

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Seriously, so what if some FSF loon can't find a charter on the internet.

I don't care. I've had brilliant customer service from the club and also terrible.

I would much rather they spent the little money left in the club on football-related issues and not on some PC pleasing charter that actually means naff all.
Dick Fearon
36   Posted 15/03/2011 at 22:03:55

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What an opportunity missed, an hour's scribbling by the office girl could have put us top of the charter league.

Visions of massed crowds of Blue and White, triumphal parade on the top deck of a 45 bus, colours flying, marching bands, BK shedding a few tears... all dashed.

Jamie Sweet
37   Posted 15/03/2011 at 22:27:56

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Don't worry ? we may be sitting on no points but I've got a feeling we're about to turn the corner and put a good run toward the season and probably end up in the European places.

All we need to do is unleash our secret admin weapon and probably switch the desks around to a proper 4-4-2 formation.
John Pickles
38   Posted 16/03/2011 at 00:37:46

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Don't worry, Kenwright is working 24/7 to set up our Customer's Charter!
Jamie Sweet
39   Posted 16/03/2011 at 02:23:37

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Will it make us go "Wow" John?
James Yoxall
40   Posted 17/03/2011 at 06:41:56

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Why does everyone believe everything that is said about Everton? Within 30 seconds of reading the article on the FSF website I found Everton's Club Charter on their website. It is there for all the world to see. Obviously the survey people are not very computer literate. Too many "Evertonians" are too quick to criticise the club.
James Yoxall
41   Posted 17/03/2011 at 13:31:58

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Following my earlier post I've had a conversation with Michael Brunskill of FSF. He explained how the survey was conducted. I accepted his explanation and I would now like to withdraw my criticism of the FSF and wish Michael all the best .
Garreth Cummins
42   Posted 17/03/2011 at 18:32:07

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Hi James, thanks for that, was nice speaking to you earlier.

Just to explain to everyone else, after Everton read the FSF's criticisms they got their act together quickly and posted their charter online. Everton's charter appeared within 24 hours of the FSF criticising them for its absence - and fair play to the Toffees for that speedy response.

They were one of a number of clubs who took on board our advice and acted upon it - we'll be doing a more positive story on them all in the coming weeks as we're pleased with that response. After all, we just want to see the best possible advice on clubs' websites for fans.

For those of you who don't know of the Football Supporters' Federation, we're free to join and more can be found out about us here:


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