Fan Experience Expert : Ruby Newell- Legner

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, March 26th, 2016

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TOM WARD
tompward@sbcglobal.net

Last month I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet a
real dynamo of a woman named Ruby Newell-Legner when my friend Kate
Delaney (NBC Sports Radio host) invited me to the Top Golf Facility in
The Colony to have lunch and hit some balls. I tagged along that
afternoon because if Kate believes this is someone I needed to meet
that was good enough for me.
Delaney is an Emmy award-winning broadcaster who has interviewed
over 12,000 people in her 20-year radio and television career. She’s
the only female host on NBC Sports Radio with her own program called
the Kate Delaney Show, which can be heard nationwide on NBC Sports
Radio every weekend.
Up to that point, all I knew about Ruby Newell-Legner is that
she lives in Colorado and is the current President of the National
Speakers Association.
Before we met at Top Golf, Delaney filled me in with more
details about Ms. Newell-Legner.
“Ruby Newell-Legner’s fan experience has transformed what some
of the biggest professional sports teams and events on the planet are
doing,” she said. “There’s a reason why 29 teams in 60-plus venues,
the 2010 Winter Olympics and Super Bowl XLI picked her to train the
staff. She understands that turning every customer into a fan and
treating them as more than a ticket holder is vital. Ruby is a rock
star in the area of getting, keeping and growing your fan base because
of the experience they have the second they step into the venue.”
That afternoon not only did I have a blast hanging out with
Delaney and Newell-Legner, I came away impressed by the tremendous
impact Ms. Newell-Legner has had on business and sports globally. She
is a Certified Speaking Professional and founder of 7 Star Service
(previously known as RubySpeaks, Inc.) in 1994.
Her company’s singular mission: to provide the hands-on training
employees need to create a more customer-focused work environment
where everyone can excel on the job.
Over the last two decades she has presented more than 2,300
training programs in eleven countries, expanded her reach to 22
countries through her online learning programs presented via webinars

and offered plug-and-play staff development through her Customer
Service DVD training system.
Ruby Newell-Legner helps businesses build strong teams between
front-line staff and management and make exceptional customer service
a way of life. She works with clients to build better relationships.
With 25 years’ experience as a public servant, front-line
service provider and facility manager, she has an uncommon level of
experience that gives immediate credibility with program attendees and
allows her to offer suggestions and recommendations based on actual
hands-on experience working with the public. Her areas of expertise
include leadership/management supervision, customer loyalty and
retention, onboarding new employees and internal and external customer
service.
Newell-Legner’s knowledge of business best practices in customer
service is one reason why she has trained management and front-line
staff for more than 1000 businesses in the world.
Her clients include: General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Apple,
350 municipal agencies and parks & recreation departments, 34 new
recreation facilities preparing to open, 29 professional sports teams,
60 sports and entertainment venues, 26 leisure facilities in the
United Arab Emirates, 20 military installations from the Air Force
Academy to Misawa Air Base in Japan, 19 theme parks in North America,
10 franchises ranging from education services to amish furniture
dealers, facilities hosting Super Bowl XLI, the 2008 & 2013 Grey Cup,
the US Open (tennis), the 2010 Olympics and The Burj Al Arab,
frequently referred to as the only 7-star hotel in the world.
Recently, I caught up with Ms. Newell-Legner via telephone at
her home in Colorado before she headed overseas to consult for another
company in Europe. I knew from our first meeting about her experience
as a swim coach, so I asked her how she transitioned from being a swim
coach to having a tremendous impact whereby major companies and
sporting events worldwide were clamoring for her expertise in customer
service.
“I was a swim coach for 20 years, which was my bread and butter
and it’s what I did and who I was,” she recalled. “My last 5 years as
a coach, I got really sick and developed a hyperallergic reaction to
the pool air. The doctors told me the only way I could get healthy was
to quit my job and get out of that environment. I told them, ‘I don’t
think you understand. That is who I am.’ I had a facility management
position to support my coaching habit because you couldn’t make much
money coaching, which I loved. So I found jobs that would allow me to
work my schedule around coaching, and as a recreational facility
manager as I went up through the ranks. Then I started doing a lot of
training and my mother was in customer service, so that came very
natural to me, so I started doing a lot of customer service training.
So I moved from aquatics facility manager over to recreation facility
management and I started training a lot more people. I had 28 staff
members at the facility and I absolutely loved it, and I found that
standing up on a pool deck and coaching is very similar to standing up
in front of a group teaching, so all I did was just change platforms.
“I joined the National Speakers Association of Colorado in 1996 and
got heavily involved with the organization,” she continued. “I just
watched and learned and eventually I joined the mentor program. My
mentor happened to be an individual that used to work at Honeywell who
was a technical trainer and two of his best friends that worked with
him ended up getting jobs working for INVESCO Field at Mile High
Stadium for the Denver Broncos. They called him and they told him that
they would like to do some training because they’re tearing down Mile
High and they want to have somebody come in and do training for the
staff. They really wanted customer service, but he didn’t do customer
service and he was mentoring me, so he told them, ‘I’ve got the
perfect person’ and brought me to the next meeting. We did tandem
training for 3 years with the Broncos, so when they opened the new
stadium and all the other teams came to visit they were so amazed at
the customer service and guest relations. Other teams would ask, ‘How
did you do that?’ They told them that I had done all their training.
Next, the Buffalo Bills came and saw me and hired me and then they
told the Indianapolis Colts who told the Pittsburgh Steelers. The
Steelers hired me to do a week’s worth of training for Heinz field,
and then they recommended me for a national conference that had all
the leagues of different sports like basketball, baseball and hockey,
so I got more exposure there. That’s where all the teams started
picking me up and the other day I was talking to my 30th team and it
looks like I’ll sign a “What exactly does customer service
entail?” I asked.
“Customer service means different things to a lot of people,”
replied Newell-Legner. “For example, I have a feeling looking at this
one website for this particular company, when they talk about customer
service they are talking about their call center. That’s not an area
that I specialize in, but I can help them a little bit. Mostly, I work
with that front-line staff member and the manager that supervises it
and the leader that makes decisions that the manager has to live with
and implement with the front lines. Mine is more of a service-oriented
[approach] that deals with the whole environment that is not only
external which makes the customers happy, but it’s also internal. I
consider the internal customers, which are the staff members and
employees, a really important element. “One of my favorite stories was
when I did training over in Dubai,” continued Newell-Legner. “I
interviewed the general manager, who worked first in the States and
moved over there to work with Jumeirah Groups, who has one of the best
hospitality reputations in the world. By the way, that’s where my
company’s name comes from. I asked him what was different about
working for this particular company. First of all, they don’t have
employees. They make reference to all of the people that work for them
as colleagues. It’s kind of an equalizer no matter what level of the
organization that you’re in. He told me that Jumeirah is different
because they know if they have a positive [attitude] that they can
have a greater impact on the external customer by impacting the
internal customer. That really shed some light on employee engagement
and how you treat your staff, because that will affect how they will
treat the customers. My whole premise of what I do revolves around
that concept. When leadership makes decisions and share their vision
and identify policies and they create an orientation program, those
types of things impact the internal customer. The managers, how they
supervise and their interaction with the front line staff, they all
become the creators of how that front-line employee is going to go
about treating that customer.”
My column doesn’t have adequate space to describe all the
wonderful things Ruby Newell-Legner is doing to help people have the
ultimate fan experience, so please visit her website at
www.7starservice.com to learn more. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If
you want something done, ask a busy person.” I echo those sentiments
and would like to add, “If you want quality customer service done, ask
Ruby Newell-Legner.”
Tom Ward can be contacted at www.teetimewithtom.com

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