Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nats Strike Out on Customer Service

Update, 4:45 PM: I've received an email that my tickets are on the way. w00t! Thanks, Nats!

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. In this case, I'll try to wield the awesome power of my Apple iBook G4 keyboard, newly refurbished after my toddler tore off the shift key on Saturday.

I've refrained from posting anything about it until now, but today we got confirmation of the team's ineptitude surrounding the 2007 season ticket campaign. (Hat tip to CP). The Nationals have completely dropped the ball with season ticket holders this offseason. The team insisted that we pay up for our plans in December, but has failed to hold up their end of the bargain. Season ticket holders were promised three things in exchange for their money: free hats, access to the season ticket holder section of the team web site, and, of! It's less than two weeks before opening day and I have none of these things.

I've asked my account executive at least once a month for the last four months when I can expect to gain access to the web site. As a first time season ticket holder, I don't know how these things work. The web site allows season ticket holders to sell tickets they can't use, exchange them for future dates, transfer tickets to friends, and other things I'd like to be able to do. A visit to the web site tells me, unhelpfully, that "the web site is being prepared for the 2007 season." Come on! The team has had the entire offseason to get this web site together, yet on the eve of opening day we've got nothing. They might as well put up a 1990's-era "under construction" animated GIF.

Then there is the issue of the tickets themselves. I paid in full for my tickets in December and expected that I'd have them sometime in late February or early March. The last time I asked my account rep when I'd get the tickets he told me that I'd have them "by the third week of March." It's the third week of March right now, and I'm starting to get concerned that I might get stood up. An announcement on the team web site doesn't instill a lot of confidence; we're told that we should have our tickets by Monday the 26th, but if we don't we have to call the Nats ticket office. Right. The announcement also tells us that we may or may not receive a confirmation email with a tracking number. I haven't received squat! Strangely, I purchased single-game tix for Opening Day on the Nats web site and those tickets arrived at my house lickety-split. I don't get it.

This has been a somewhat disappointing experience so far. My account rep has always been very responsive, but I get the sense that he, too is in the dark about what's going on with the season tickets. This experience also reinforces my perception that everything about the 2007 season is being forsaken in the name of 2008. Fans have been encouraged to re-up the season tickets this year and suffer through what could be a historically bad team to get "priority" for season tickets in Nationals Park. If the Nationals really want people to pay a lot of money for a bad product, the team needs to do better than vague announcements and avoidable deadline crunches. I hope they can work out the bugs in time for next season.

Blogger bumper sticker peeled from Diesel Sweeties.
1990's-era animated GIF dug up from Richard Edwards Elementary School.