Barclays Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena in Brooklyn, N.Y., that is home to the Brooklyn Nets and host to concerts, conventions and sporting events. The Brooklyn Nets' leadership saw an opportunity to differentiate the arena by providing outstanding customer service from the moment the doors opened. With help from Disney Institute, Barclays Center established a customer service leadership model designed to make each guest's visit to Barclays Center memorable.
From the Very Beginning
Opening in late 2012, Barclays Center is a premiere sporting and event venue in the heart of Brooklyn, N.Y. Equipped with more than 100 luxury suites, four lounges, and three clubs, Barclays Center serves as a state-of-the-art home for the Brooklyn Nets, and has seating for up to 19,000 fans.
In what would mark the return of professional sports to Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Nets sought to build an arena that would make a positive impact on the neighborhood and each visitor who came through its doors.
Long before the final touches were put on the event space, Brett Yormark, Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO, and Barclays Center leadership were already thinking about the fan experience. With a variety of service providers involved in the Center's operations, and a need to counter any negative stereotypes associated with Brooklyn, Barclays Center leadership engaged Disney Institute.
Together, the group established a foundation of quality service that would positively impact the guest experience from day one, encouraging visitors to return time and time again to experience all that Barclays Center has to offer.
Senior leadership from the Brooklyn Nets, AEG, and Levy Restaurants began work with Disney Institute to develop a methodology for delivering top notch service to Barclays Center guests by uniting the different business units around a common service framework. They created the "Brooklyn's Best" service strategy that unites expectations, language, symbols, stories, and values for all employees. This in turn creates a seamless, well-organized experience for guests.
In a city defined by its uniqueness, Barclays Center leadership didn't want to change the 2,000 Barclays Center employees, the majority of whom are Brooklyn natives, into something they weren't. The "Brooklyn's Best" service model empowers staff members to embrace their identity and encourages staff to share their pride in Brooklyn with guests who will want to be a part of it, connecting their hearts and minds.
Disney Institute also worked with the group to create collateral materials that support the service guidelines. These include service cards, a hiring video that is played for all potential job candidates, an orientation video for new employees, and a recognition system that rewards employees for a job well done. All of the materials are branded Barclays Center and represent the standards set forth in "Brooklyn's Best."
The No.1 Compliment
The finishing touches were put on the arena and it opened to the public in September 2012. Brooklyn native Jay Z christened the facility with a series of eight sold out concerts – the first of many entertainment events the center would host. The Brooklyn Nets played their first regular season home game at Barclays Center and in October 2012 the New York Islanders NHL hockey team announced they too will call Barclays Center home in 2015.
The arena itself has received accolades for its architecture, but as one visitor noted, the thing that truly sets the Barclays Center experience apart is the staff: "It's unlike any we've experienced. Helpful isn't the word. Gracious is. So is proud … We had one staffer walk us the entire length of the arena to help us get where we were going."
Empowered by "Brooklyn's Best," Barclays Center employees played a crucial part in the arena's successful launch. Brooklyn Nets owner Bruce Ratner said that of all of the things at Barclays Center, he is most proud of the arena staff, stating, "The No. 1 compliment I get about the arena is about the people who work there. They're friendly, helpful, and so on. I'm probably proudest of that among anything else."