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How Upper Deck Earns Every Note on Their Customer Wall of Praise

When one of your customers is a retired Navy Pilot who insists that you keep his prized Navy Flight jacket, you know that you've fostered a truly meaningful relationship.

Chris Carlin, Head of Customer Experience at Upper Deck, takes pride in making sure their collectors know how much they are appreciated. From their focus on fan engagement to their purpose-driven campaign that gives back to their community of collectors, Chris shared with us some of the ways that Upper Deck keeps customers at the center of their business.

Surprising and Delighting Fans of All Ages

Completing a specific collection means a lot to Upper Deck fans. For eight-year-old Owen, collecting the entire set of Tim Horton’s NHL trading cards was his mission. Working with his dad and two brothers, they realized that they might not be able to complete their set of the popular cards, so they came up with a plan.

Owen started drawing the cards that they were missing with the hope of trading them with other fans for the actual cards, and Owen's dad would post pictures of his drawings on a Facebook Trade Group page. Since Upper Deck is actively engaged in their online fan communities and social media, their Customer Care Supervisor took notice and reached out. He worked out a trade with Owen and exchanged his drawings for actual cards to add to his collection.

But the surprises didn’t stop there.

Collaborating with the Upper Deck Marketing team, they arranged to have Owen and his dad join them at the Western Canada Sports Collectors Convention. There, they set him up to create some of his custom cards for fans in attendance – a truly unexpected experience that showed all Upper Deck collectors how much they are valued.

Staying close to their online community is a priority for Upper Deck. If you take a glance at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) page for Upper Deck, you'll notice two things. A list of over 40, glowing 5-star customer reviews and two-way interactions. In addition to earning an A+ rating and praise for their high level of customer service, Upper Deck also takes the time to respond to their customer comments in a personalized way.

Understanding that their customer experience is fostered at every touchpoint, these moments of acknowledgment, both big and small, strengthen their customer relationships and build authentic brand advocates.

Sharing the Celebration: Upper Deck Random Acts of Kindness

With customers at the heart of their business, Upper Deck wanted to recognize and include their fans in the celebration. As they kicked off their 25th anniversary in 2014, they looked for ways to acknowledge fans who had a positive impact on the trading community.

The Upper Deck Random Acts of Kindness (#UDRAK) campaign featured individual gift boxes filled with items customized to each recipients collecting habits. As both a “thank you” gift and a spotlight for being a positive force in the community, Upper Deck has been able to make an impact with their campaign that resonates well beyond their immediate customers.

What started as an anniversary celebration initiative was so impactful that the company has continued it through the years and has delivered over 2,000 #UDRAK packages to fans around the world.

Customer Wall of Praise

Customer Care starts with employees. Fostering an environment where employees are empowered to take care of the customers was an area that Upper Deck put an increased focus on in 2018.

They started with a software upgrade that would allow their team to better track customers and enable them to respond more effectively. Then, they took a look and their policies and procedures and made changes necessary to make it easy for their team to provide a high level of customer service. But most importantly, they knew that having the right people in place would take their customer care to the next level. They made a concentrated effort to bring in team members that shared their values and passion for creating exceptional customer experiences.

With the right team, the right tools, and an empowering environment to succeed, Upper Deck has seen tangible results that are showcased on their "wall of praise." The wall highlights real customer feedback that reiterates the importance they place on customer care and gives kudos to the team for a job well done.

Chris and the Upper Deck team understand the importance of continuing to enhance their customer experience at every touchpoint, and the results show how that focus can energize an entire community.