The Jersey Shore BlueClaws’ Secret to Memorable Experiences

In this new episode, discover the unexpected connection between minor league baseball and the hospitality industry. Join Judd Shaw as he speaks with Joe Ricciutti, President and General Manager of the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, about the importance of focusing on small moments to create unforgettable fan experiences.

Dive into the intricate process of mapping the customer journey, from the parking lot to the concession stand, and learn why attention to detail is key. Joe and his team go the extra mile, even ensuring the glass at the ticket counter is spotless. So, why put so much emphasis on these seemingly minor interactions?

When you invest care and attention into each customer touchpoint, people take notice, develop a desire to return, and remember how you made them feel—particularly during those small moments.

Tune in to this episode of Working The Wow with Judd Shaw featuring Joe Ricciutti, as they discuss creating emotional connections with fans, guiding your organization through hardships, and the importance of using small touchpoints to shape the customer experience.

In this episode: 

    • [0:30] Introduction to guest Joe Ricciutti
    • [01:07] The multigenerational appeal of Jersey Shore BlueClaws games
    • [03:18] Joe’s hospitality background and Minor League Baseball success
    • [05:24] Crafting emotional connections, ‘Wow’ moments, and exceptional experiences
    • [12:05] Breaking down the fan experience into small touchpoints
    • [18:30] The role of core values in hiring, leadership, and training
    • [24:04] The significance of recovery in customer service
    • [29:48] Building a devoted, customer-focused team
    • [31:25] Leading by example: tips for guiding staff through challenges and creating lasting first impressions


Judd Shaw:

Hi everyone. Welcome to the show. I’m your host, Judd Shaw. On with me today is special guest, Joe Ricciutti of the Jersey Shore BlueClaws. Joe, welcome to the show, man. 

Joe Ricciutti:

Judd, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here with you. 

Judd Shaw:

Joe, you are president and GM of the Jersey Shore BlueClaws. Tell me I know about inexpensive tickets, snacks that are now reasonable.

Reasonable prices for families. You know, entertainment, fun, family vibe, quality fans. What makes it so great to come to a Jersey Shore BlueClaws game for fans and family? 

Joe Ricciutti:

You know, I think when you think about. Family entertainment. Right. You know, minor league baseball has, uh, you know, since its inception, has been the hallmark of, of family, uh, entertainment.

You know, and as you watch, entertainment landscape has changed around us. Um, you know, even over just the last 15 or 20 years, there’s only a handful of things and very few things at that where you can actually go as a family. Multi-generational, right? You can come with grandparents, parents, and kids, um, and enjoy a common entertainment experience as a.

You know, you can’t go to the movies cuz you know, grandma and grandpa don’t wanna see what the kids wanna see and mom and dad don’t wanna see what grandma and grandpa wanna see. And you know, so you’ve got that whole dynamic. Minor league baseball is one of those last remaining, um, multi-generational family experiences and, um, and affordable as well.

You know, you can take a family out to our ballpark and you know, if certain tickets where you can, you know, you can, you can have your food included in your. You know, and, and you know, for, uh, you know, for not a very expensive night out, be able to, to come out, enjoy some good family entertainment, have a great time, and not have to take your wallet outta your pocket the whole night if you don’t want to.

You know, and that’s a very unique message to be able to deliver. It’s a unique experience, uh, particularly in a tough economy. You know, 2023 is gonna be a tough year. 2022 was 2020 through 2021 was, you know, so I think when you see those kind of challenges, Minor league baseball, um, tends to weather it better than many industries because we can still maintain that affordability.

You know, it gets more and more challenging, but we can maintain that affordability. So, you know, that’s when I think about our experience in addition to all those things that you, um, you know, you are very gracious to, to articulate. But, um, you know, there are things that are inherent in that experience that are, um, are unique and certainly Jersey Shore BlueClaws are emblematic of all of.

Judd Shaw:

Yeah, I’d like to get into the experience of that, the really, the wow moments that make it special. But before we do that, uh, Staten Island Yankees write a long term. With, uh, Columbia University, I think you were, yeah. Uh, vice president of Events Management. Yep. Um, tell me how did you get to the general manager and president of a minor league baseball team?

Joe Ricciutti:

Well, you know, it’s funny cuz it, it, it is all interconnected. Um, you know, I, um, , I spent the majority of my career in the hospitality world. Um, and you know, when you think about, okay, well what is, you know, being a assistant vice president at, you know, a very prestigious university, in my capacity at Columbia, I handled all the event management for the entire.

Uh, campus, right? Our, our, our offices. So we would, we, we had 34,000 bookings annually, went through our office and it was all the conference and event services that you would imagine, um, that, that go along with conferences and uh, and, and meetings and large scale performances. And when heads of state would come to the university, you know, all of those things came through, um, university event management.

Um, but when you think about that, okay, well, where’s the connectivity between. And being a president and general manager for a monolith baseball team, you know, when I think the through line there is, it is all part of the same industry. It’s part of the hospitality industry, you know, and when we think about like, you know what we do,

Um, you know, people don’t think about baseball as the hospitality industry, right? It’s the sports industry. You know, I get asked by students all the time. Um, so tell, tell, tell me what it’s like being in the sports industry. Right? And yes, it’s the sports industry, however, um, The baseball business is what goes on from the dugouts to the outfield wall.

Um, the hospitality business is what happens from the dugouts out to the parking lot. So for me, the moving in between those two industries was very comfortable because it is largely the same principles, whether it’s a seven o’clock first pitch or an eight o’clock curtain, right? Or, or, or a 10:00 AM conference.

it’s all the same industry. You know, the, the revenue lines are a little different. The expense lines and nuances are a little different. Uh, but it’s the hospitality industry, you know, and so I think that’s kind of how, um, you know, I’ve been able to move, um, very seamlessly and very comfortably in and out of, um, of that world.

Judd Shaw:

You know, the podcast focuses on taking that kind of customer service, client experience to the next level kind of things that I say as wow moments. Yeah. And the blue claws. Have a platform to create something special, which is an emotional connection with your That’s right. Customer or your client. Right?

Yeah. Can you tell me about that? 

Joe Ricciutti:

Yeah. Look, you know, when you, when you think about our experience, um, and you, you go to a baseball game, it’s not like you’re selling a tangible product, right? You think about that whole experience from the minute that you buy your ticket. You know, you’re gonna park your car, you’re gonna engage with the parking staff and the box office staff, and the ushers and the ticket takers and the security and the food and beverage staff and you know, so, so you may have 15 touches with the organization before you even get to your first pitch.

Right? And then, , you know, you’re gonna spend three or four hours with us and then you’re gonna leave, um, you know, later on that evening. You know, and if you approach that experience as, um, you know, kind of somewhat transactional, right? I’m buying a ticket to a baseball game and I’m buying a baseball game, nine innings of a baseball game and an outcome.

right? If you think about it in that context, you kind of miss the majority of what that experience is because you know, you think about it, there really isn’t anything tangible that you can walk out of that experience with, other than the ticket stub. Everything is emotional. How you greeted when you walked to the gates, how you greeted at the box office.

Was your usher smiling and friendly? Was it ticket taker? Did they make you feel welcome when you walked in the gates? You know, when you got your, um, you know, your food and beverage, did the person at the concession stand say thank you and count your change back to you, or, or whatever. You know, those are, those are moments that in and of themselves feel, um, kind of small, but at the end of a three hour.

Event cumulatively, it shapes how you emotionally feel when you leave the game at the end of the night, right? So we approach it in a very, very specific customer service centric way where we take a lot of care with each one of those steps. So, when you go to the box office, for instance, was the glass clean?

Were the microphones working? Was the person, uh, who was handling your transaction? Were they friendly? Did they greet you by name? If you, or did they thank you by name if you handed them their credit card or your credit card? Right. You know, how, how do all of those touches break into these smaller subset experiences that when you think.

Um, cumulatively you wind up with multiple opportunities for an organization to define themselves, right? And, and what are we defining? Right? What we’re defining is how important is your three or four hours of your time? How important is that to the organization? Right. And, and if an organization like ours, we break those interactions down to its barest, uh, uh, elements, and we train our staff on it because that’s the, what the fans are experiencing.

Right? And, and, you know, you can, it, it, you wanna be mindful, right? We’re not asking, and we’re not trying to preserve, you know, a $10 ticket experience, right? Because, you know, PE people may be a little, uh, Protective of $10 than they are three or four hours worth of their time. Right. With mom and dad, both working and kids in sports and school, you know, it, it to find, you know, uh, three or four hours of, uh, uninterrupted ex, you know, opportunity where, where families are together, that’s kind of rare.

You know, it’s hard to find everybody in the same spot at the same time. You know, for four hours. Um, it’s hard to ask parents to be able to, you know, you’re coming home from work. You got, you know, you’re fighting traffic, you’re rounding up the kids. Everybody’s had a busy day. Everybody jumps in a car.

Braves traffic comes to a baseball game, and they’re gonna be with you for four hours or three hours or whatever it may be. You know, if, if you are running that company, you had better, be sure that that experience is worth four hours of their time and every interaction that you have as an organization is respectful of those four hours.

Right. And we, we are, and and we have a very specific process in which, which we do that because we want to fans at the end of the day to feel like, you know what? That was fun. I had a great time. My family had a great time. We felt like we were treated, you know, well, the food was good. Everybody smiled. We had a great time, and I feel better for being there for four hours.

Right? That is the outcome, right? It’s not like when you go buy a car, right? You get a brand new car, you get a brand, right? It’s not a tangible product. It’s all experience. It’s all emotional, and you have to approach that very differently than you would if you were selling toothpaste or you were selling some sort of product that was easily, you know, marketed and easily um, experienced. This is different. 

Judd Shaw:

I love that. Wow. And that. Ton of stuff in there. Yeah. And let’s try to unravel some of that, cuz that’s a lot of really good information. And you know, my, my brain was just spinning when I was listening to a lot of this, because what you did was explain exactly the correlation when you’re in that service industry, right?

Because you can’t guarantee that result. How can they get a result from a full baseball game with a winner if it rains? How? That’s right. Can I provide, Guaranteed outcome that there will be a recovery of a certain amount of dollars. I can’t. So o obviously, uh, the podcast is, is sponsored by, uh, my, uh, my parent company, Judd Shaw Injury Law, the law firm.

And, and I have to tell you for, for, uh, For full disclosure of all my, of all the listeners, uh, judge Andre Law is incredibly excited this year to be a proud partner with the Jersey Shore BlueClaws for this season, and we’re really excited about that. And, you know, it made me think as you’re talking about why I believe so strongly in the client service aspect of.

Uh, representation because I can’t guarantee that outcome. I can’t guarantee a certain dollar that’s gonna come down to whether, you know, the type of injury, the type of insurance. There’s a lot of factors that come into it, but I certainly can make sure that every touchpoint that my client experiences from the start of signup to that end point, whatever that looks like, is filled with wow moments and a first class client experience.

Right. And so, you know, so much is true for baseball because you can’t guarantee the outcome either, right? But what you can do is, you know, as that saying goes, people don’t, you know, forget how you made them feel, right? They don’t forget what they s what was said. They remember how you made them feel. When you look at that, and I’m thinking about the experiences you described it, you would want most ballpark.

To to be, you know, hospitable, uh, treatment with courtesy and, and respect and things of that nature. But when you think about the, the BlueClaws, and maybe this is when you even first came on, do you look at it in terms of, okay, so so the fan comes and they’re gonna park. What’s that experience like? Yeah, okay.

They’re gonna come to the gate. What is that wow moment? What are we gonna do that makes him. . Wow. I’m so happy I’m here. Wow. What a great experience. What are those touchpoints that you particularly look at that you’re creating almost intentional wow moments without them even knowing it.

Joe Ricciutti:

Yeah. One of the things that, um, that I brought with, uh, with me when I got on board in 2017, Was, um, you know, this, this process that originated when I was, uh, running the Staten Island Yankees back from 2007 to 2011.

Uh, and we call them our standards of excellence, right? And what these were, was, um, at a, at a high level, It examined every touch that a fan has with the venue. Right? So, you know, I pull into the parking lot. Okay, so, so, uh, yes, at a macro level, that’s a touch. I go to the box office. That’s a touch, you know, and, and, and you track each one of those moments from a fan’s perspective, and you, you walk through the experience as a fan.

Judd Shaw:

It’s like a, it’s, the experience is full circle, right? It’s start to finish. You’re tr you’re almost, you’re, you’re. That experience. Yep. 

Joe Ricciutti:

You map the whole experience and, and then what you do is, and if we think about our, our world, our. As a fan, I park in the parking lot, so I have a touch with the, the, the parking lot.

Um, I’ll go to the box office and get my tickets. I have a touch with the box office. I will go to the gate and I will get, uh, a bag check. Right. So I’m gonna have a touch with security. A ticket taker is gonna scan my ticket in touch with the ticket taker. I’ll get to my seat. My usher will seat me. Uh, my seat will either be clean or not.

Or there could be, are there peanut shells from the game before? Okay. Well, there’s a touch with the secure, with the, uh, with the, uh, the facility portion of it, right? The custodial element. I go to the, to grab a beer and a hotdog. Okay, well, there’s a food and beverage touch, right? So I’ve got all of these touches that will go on, and when we look at them as a.

What if we go down one level deeper, right? And let’s break apart that experience. I go to my seat, was my usher friendly? Did they greet me? Did they know? Were they attentive? Right? If I’m, if I’m wandering around the concourse and I’m looking around with a ticket in my hand, is somebody kind of watching me go by and say, can I help you?

You look like you might need a hand. Can I help you? Right. Some, some small interaction like that, or when I, when I’m brought down to my seat. Does the usher wipe down my seat for me in case there was some pollen from, from earlier during the day? Or, you know, we have, um, you know, pigeons or seagulls in the area.

Okay. Well, if my seat was the unfortunate recipient, it’d be nice to know somebody was, you know, taking care of my seat and wiping it down for me so I was sitting in a clean seat. But so when you think about all of those, those kind of. Each one of those macros can be broken into a whole series of substeps, right?

That will define overall what that experience was. Right? And you know, when you think about it sequentially, if the touch in the parking lot or at the box office was a clunky one, right? Let’s say you get to the box office and the.  person behind the glass was on the phone or they were having a conversation and kind of ignoring you at the, well, we’ve all been there at other places.

Um, it’s kind of infuriating, right? Um, so, um, but was the glass clean? Were they attentive to me? Um, you know, did they smile? Didn’t they make me feel, was it a warm interaction? And if it was great, the next experience is set up for. If that was a clunky moment, let’s say I had a clunky moment in the parking lot, right?

I drove around for an hour and nobody told me that there were no spots left. Okay? I finally find a spot. I missed a couple of innings. Okay? Now I’m kind of cranky. I get to the box office, they’re having a conversation behind the glass and nobody’s acknowledging me. Good luck with the rest of that experience.

You’ve lost them before they even walked in. Right. So if you think about it sequentially, and you take a lot of care in each one of those interactions and you break it down into its substeps and you focus on, okay, well what does this mean? What do we have to do to make sure that these steps were clean?

Okay. How does that inform the training when you bring people on staff, you know, and we’ll share with the people, like take the box off his staff. , this isn’t the totality of your, your, your training, right? This is, you know, in addition to all the technical elements of executing your job, this is the stuff that the fan is going to experience.

And some of it is, um, you know, kind of, um, subconsciously, right? I, I, I will feel whether or not, if I stood there for, let’s say I stand there for five seconds before somebody greets me, okay? Reasonable amount of. , 10 seconds, 15 seconds. Uh, it starts to feel like, get a little bit uncomfortable at that point.

Okay. Well that I, I, I may not be counting down the seconds, but I’ll know where that moment is, right? So, so how does that go into your training? Right. So your teach you staff, okay. The minute somebody walks through the window, acknowledge them and interact. If you are in the middle of something, acknowledge them and just say, I’ll be with you in a.

right? That communication helps, you know, kind of offer that warm interaction and then the next step and the next step all are set up for success. And so that was one of the things that I brought with me and we implemented here and we were lucky here. We had a great fan experience to begin with. The team here before we got here in 2017, did a tremendous job, had tremendous, uh, customer service.

This just.  make it consistent. It helped make it, you know, kind of crisp, but it begins to define your, um, uh, fan experience. And it also begins to define how the leadership of the organization focuses on the attention. How much care do we place in your three hours of being with.  and that in turn supports the amount of, um, money that a fan is going to spend with you, right?

If they’re gonna spend $20 with you, I would rather they have a great three hours of experience with us. They will feel better about spending that $20 if they had a rocky three hours of experience with us, and we were not mindful of all those things as we are. Mm. Good. I’m not coming back. Yeah. You know, you lost me. You lost me. 

Judd Shaw:

Yeah. Joe, I love that. Every company that’s in the service industry, hospitality, customer service, client service, should be mapping their touchpoints. I love what you’ve done. And then, you know, taking that a little further, right? Those macros, um, so for instance, our company, we have four core values, right?

And our core value number two is work the wow. And what that means. Go above and beyond what our client expects that’s working the wow. But what happens is in, you know, core value, one, be a knight in shining armor, what does that look like? And for your example, you know, if somebody says, call me and I’ll call you back.

At the end of the day you don’t call ’em for two days. Is that really being somebody’s knight in shining armor? Are you working the wow? Yeah. So everybody under the company has their core values and that’s the sort of the beacon on how they should conduct their action when or whenever no one or everyone is.

Right, right. But then on those macros, everybody who’s responsible  for delivering that Wow experience can be hyper-focused on those things, right? They become targets, goals, checklists, KPIs. Mm-hmm. . So for instance, that person is uh, wipe the seat, uh, greet with a smile, but right. That’s gonna be something different than the security guy, the one at the ticket, the box office, the parking.

But everybody now has understanding of their checklist, their key performance indicators, their targets to delivering their particular Wow. In that touchpoint. 

Joe Ricciutti:

Yeah. And what’s interesting too is when, when you know, that becomes the focus of the organization, like it is ours, like it is yours, um, you know, that then speaks to when I’m interviewing somebody to join the organization or one of our managers are interviewing somebody.

Um, you want people who are hospitality minded. . Right? That’s, that’s a very unique set of skills, right? You have to actually believe it. You know, it, it’s hard to fake that, right? You have to actually believe it at your core. You have to enjoy making people, um, happy. And in our world, you know, I mean, on, on any given night, and I’ll, I’ll share this with, with our game day staff, um, you know, they’ll, they’ll interact with 6,000 people.

you know? Mm-hmm. . Um, so, so I can talk all I want about the care of customer service, they will prove me right or wrong every time. . Right? And that’s where, um, you know, it has to be a very active process. You have to constantly remind folks and constantly help coach and guide and mentor so that, you know, people are always mindful.

That is the customer service experience first and foremost. That defines us. And when you have folks that are, are customer service minded, as the vast majority of our staff are, , um, they, it’s, it’s almost effortless for them because they, they, of course, they’re go-to, right? I, I look at our ushers and my security folks all the time.

They always, they’ll have a f you know, anytime there’s a foul ball or a ball that’s made it onto the berm during bp, um, they’ll have a handful of them just kind of tucked off to the side. And if you see a kid who, you know, um, may have missed a foul ball, they’ll grab that foul ball and bring it right to.

you know, they’ll, they’ll grab one of their, you know, stock and bring it right to the kid and make ’em smile, right? Yeah. That, whether we train them or not to do that, that’s how they, that’s how they’re geared, right? So how can I make that fan’s experience that much better and it warms their heart to do it right?

So, and I will watch any given game and it. All the time. There’s a kid, you know, kid drops their ice cream cone. Our staff knows you don’t need to go to jail or you don’t need to go to the food and beverage person, um, to ask permission to go get them a new ice cream cone. You go bring him right up to the stand to bring him, get ’em a brand new ice cream cone.

If there’s a kid that’s crying on the cone, I can’t tell you how many times, you know, there’s a kid sometimes at the end of the night, you know, kids get a little bit tired around 9:30, 10 o’clock and, you know, um, and if I see a kid crying and I’ll ask, you know, mom and or dad, you know, , but some ice cream make ’em feel a little bit better, and then the kids’ eyes light up, come on, let’s go get some ice cream mom and dad, and we’ll go, you know, bring ’em over and we’ll, you know, get a, get a couple of ice creams for, uh, for the kid and for mom and dad.

You know, it just changes their night. 

Judd Shaw:

But that’s also, you know, I, I, I appreciate your humility in thinking that all of your team members come naturally skill set in delivering a wow client experience. But I would also suggest that is a true sense of top-down leader. From a company that lives that core value, right?

You have a, a bunch of people who are watching the company and understanding that they now understand that their mentality is. Go find a kid and deliver that experience, that baseball, you know, and, and, and it’s sort of a monkey see, monkey do. Yeah. Right. The, the company itself has to, it can’t just have core values and a mission statement on the wall and expect everybody to run around.

Nope. And try to deliver that experience. It comes from real training and great leadership. Yeah. Um, you know, when people, when your team sees you going up to a family and picking up on delivering an ice cream cone to give a wow. You know that’s not lost. Yeah. That’s got a huge effect. And what I wanted to talk about, which was a great segue, is the fact that every company strives to deliver first class client experience.

Every company at some point will fail at some point. Yeah. In doing that, and that’s where when you have that macro touchpoints, everyone now can also be trained in the recovery of poor service. In their particular thing. Somebody who’s lost their car, but now the parking attendants know how to deal with that situation.

Yeah. Grounds when here comes the rain and the kid only wanted to see the mascot run the bases. Right. Tell me about how recovery is such an important part of actual delivering customer service. 

Joe Ricciutti:

Yeah, that is, um, well, it’s the acknowledgement that as much as that experience as we can control the nature of live events is that there’s some element that is, Going to happen, rain, um, someone is just gonna have a clunky experience.

Um, you know, and it’s just by the nature of having thousands and thousands of people in the same spot, you can try to control every bit of it, but at some, at some point, someone’s gonna have a clunky moment. And often you can’t control the circumstances that you found yourself in. You certainly can control the way you get out of it and the way you lead them out of it.

So when I think. You know, um, you know, clunky experiences. You know, I, I, I go back to my Staten Island Yankees days and we had probably in a 30 year career, uh, opening day, I think it was 2010, was probably the clun moment I have ever had in my professional career. And I’ll give you a quick summary of it.

Uh, it was opening night, uh, during that stretch of the Staten Island Yankees life. We were growing exponential. Our company bought this team that was struggling, uh, in early 2007. We fixed it and we went from selling out no games to selling out 26 out of our 38 very quickly. So the infrastructure was stressed real again, that exponential growth, uh, food and beverage stands, parking, all of those systems are, are, are stressed.

So, um, we. We wound up with a wonderful product. It was an all you can eat product that’s sold like gangbusters, and we thought it would be great. The concession stands were geared to handle this volume of fam. So we figured, okay, rather let’s have everybody hit the concession stands. This should be a quick transaction time.

Well, as it turns out, uh, there were some challenges with, uh, the concessionaire ran into with staffing and they were kind of caught off. And the lines were long, and it was not the opening day that. People expect it. It was a train wreck. And I remember, uh, my, uh, my GM and I were down on the field getting, uh, I think we were receiving a trophy from the New York Penn League.

I get up to the concourse and I see these lines and it people were angry. So now you’re in this circumstance where, okay, this is a mess. How are we gonna recover from this? We immediately went, . Um, okay. All the leadership get out to every spot where we’ve got lines built up. Go with business cards, you’re gonna apologize and we’re gonna invite everybody to come back to another game.

And I said to my gm, where’s the worst spot in the ballpark? And she said, uh, that’s gonna be, uh, third base concession stand. I said, that’s where I’m. And I waited out into the crowd. Um, and, you know, amongst the, um, you know, hurling of expletives and, uh, and, and, and sodas and other things at me, remember, it is New York.

Um, you know, once you’ve explained that this is not the experience that we intended you to have tonight, this is not the experience that you bought, this is not the experience that we wanted you to have. Um, let us make it. And all the fans wanted was someone to say, we got it. We screwed up. Uh, but they didn’t care.

I’m not gonna go blame it on the concessionaire. That’s, you know, they put a ticket from us, we own it, right? We’ll work behind the scenes and figure out, alright, how do we fix this? Um, we made an announcement on the PA letting everybody know that, uh, tickets for tonight’s game would be welcome. Uh, and you can come back to any other game this season.

Um, which a, a huge. Uh, roar, uh, from the crowd. Uh, and applause. So that turned the moment around. This was on a Friday night, I believe. Saturday night we had another game, so it was the end of the night. We are dissecting the mess. Let’s understand technically what happened and what are we gonna do. We designed from midnight until 7:00 AM.

An entire new distribution system. And I remember it was myself, my, my general manager, uh, and three or four of our people. Uh, we were in my office and we, we worked through what we thought was gonna happen and how we thought it was gonna look. And, uh, one of my staff people said, What time are you staying until I said, well, I’m gonna start pulling equipment out of the storage area and we’re gonna start laying this out tonight because we’ve got another game tomorrow and we don’t know if we’re gonna have, we may need all the way up to gates in which to get this fixed.

They said, well, if you’re staying, I’m staying with you. Right. And a handful of us stayed straight through the night. We got the whole new layout. Um, got the staff to come in early, trained everybody on a brand new system. We had fans who were there that night, the night before who had a train wreck who came to us the next night and said, I can’t believe this is the same place.

Right, right. So we controlled the, the, the response to it. One, we owned it until we controlled the response to it. There was no defending it. Right. It was so clear. Even the newspaper the next day wrote opening that was a little clunky, right? Because it was so let’s just fix it. And I think when, when, um, you have those kind of customer service moments, and again, 30 year career, that was the.

um, challenging because, you know, remember you got a game the next night. You got this massive infrastructure. You got, you know, let’s say, let’s call it a hundred people to train on this brand new system. So you have to figure it out yourself. And now you’ve gotta be able to articulate that to everybody else.

Yeah. You have to get this whole infrastructure in place in which to support it. Um, but what we became known for was the response to the circum. Yeah. And that changed everybody’s perspective. And I was, I was particularly proud of the response. I mean, when you’re going through it, you know, it’s, it’s rough, you know, when you’re getting, uh, you know, uh, it’s not often as a grown adult leading a, you know, a multimillion dollar company that you’re getting yelled at, um, uh, by, uh, by, by fans.

But, um, it comes with the territory and we fixed it. 

Judd Shaw:

You know, sometimes you need some, some team members. A, a good company needs a, a good team, right? Yeah. A wow team to create. Wow. 

Joe Ricciutti:

Yeah. And, and, yeah, I was gonna say that. Go ahead. And, and, and that, um, what was great about that and what I remember resonated most was I didn’t have to ask.

my team to stay. Right? I didn’t have to ask my, my mike. They weren’t just staying because, uh, you know, well, Joe’s staying, they, they were staying because they, they felt ownership in it and they wanted to fix it for the fans. So when we talk about, as part of your own DNA of being customer service centric, when you’re blessed with a team that is customer service centric, it makes those uh, challenges easier to, uh, to respond to.

Judd Shaw:

I love the word, I haven’t heard of it before, but I love the word that you keep using, which is clunky. Mm-hmm. . It’s not bad service. It’s not a fa failure in service. It’s not, it’s like the hiccup, right? Yeah. The moment that that happens, and I love the, the psychology of the clunky service is that it’s.

It’s subject to imperfection. Yeah. And so there was a hiccup and let’s focus on making it better. Yeah, I like that word. I’m gonna start using that from now on clunkiness. So, uh, you know, I wanted to go back to one more thing, which was how you described those maps, the touchpoints right in the service, which can go from the parking to.

Ticket counter to the box office to this and how you had explained that, you know, everything could go well. And then they get to the seat and they’re not greeted nicely and there’s peanuts everywhere and, and now they’re aggravated. Right? So how do you, uh, because, uh, um, I talk about that in working the Wow.

How do you address the never ending first impression? That’s how I refer to it. Yeah. Right. With your team so that they understand that every time their touchpoint is still their first interaction with that client or customer. Yeah. 

Joe Ricciutti:

Um, you know, it, it, it requires a lot of just kind of ongoing coaching and guiding.

Um, you know, one of the things that we will generally do after games is a, is a. Where we’ll go through the, the standards of excellence for the night and say, okay, how did we do tonight? You know, when you identify any of those kind of spots that, that could have, um, used a little refinement, and then you, you know, okay, whoever’s responsible for it, like your leadership team is right there in the room.

And believe me, at the end of a game, we’ve been there for, you know, 13 hours already, 14 hours, um, and it’s 1130.  and we do a half hour debrief, uh, or an hour debrief, depends on how much there is to debrief. Um, so that issues become one game issues. Uh, and part of that conversation is reminding fan or reminding staff that, you know, for some number of fans that was their first game.

And for, um, you know, most of those fans they may have engaged with, um, you know, a ticket taker earlier. . But if they’re bringing you a challenge or an issue or something that they just may have had a, a rough spot, um, you own it, you don’t go send them into the customer service abyss and say, okay, well you can go over to the customer service, stand over there behind section eight and they’ll take care of it.

Right? If somebody asks, uh, one of our team members, um, Hey, could you tell me how to get to the team store? I’m going that way. I’m happy to walk with you, but even if you weren’t well, you are. Right. Right. You walk with them, right? And, and you have an opportunity to engage them, get to know them, and you know mm-hmm.

and, and in, in the five minutes that you might be with them, it’s a nice touch. Um, so definitely. Yep. So, so we, we, we ref reinforce that, you know, all the time if, um, if you see a napkin on the concourse, right? Somebody dropped a napkin, somebody dropped the straw. Um, do you walk by? Would you stop and pick it up?

Stop and pick it up, right? Because if you do it and you’re wearing the blue management shirt, the rest of the game day staff are gonna realize, yep. It’s not one set of rules for you guys and one set of rules for the game day staff. There’s one set of rules. Um, but it also, when I stop to pick up a, uh, you know, a napkin on the concourse when I stop to, you know, to grab a dust pan in a broom and sweep up some, some popcorn that’s scattered around the, the concourse staff gonna see me do it or see one of our leadership team do it.

They’re gonna look at it and go, yeah, I can do. . You know, it just keeps everybody exactly. 

Judd Shaw:

Mindful of that’s, that’s the message. The lesson in there is that it still starts from the top. Absolutely. You know, if you don’t come down to the tarmac and clean, clean that napkin up, , I mean, how do you expect anybody else to do it?


Joe Ricciutti:

That’s right. Right. It’s, it’s the set of rules for, uh, you know, for, for, for the leadership. And there’s a set of roles for the rest of the staff, and that’s, uh, that’s, that’s never the.

Judd Shaw:

Joe, this year we have, uh, Buster’s birthday party and fireworks, miniature golf, restaurants, bars, Sunday family time, dead night fire, you know, all of these amazing activities on top of what is predicted to be a great.

You know, season in the South Atlantic League this year, where do fans go and, and look more into Blue Claws, getting tickets, finding out more about it? 

Joe Ricciutti:

Certainly. Um, if, if going to our social media, um, going to our website, uh,, I think is, uh, is, is the best way. You can certainly always call the box office.

And, um, hitting the website’s always a good spot. There’s a, uh, a number of offerings that are out there for families. , there’s numbers of offerings out there. If you’re a business that you’re looking to actually, uh, grow your business. Um, there’s plenty of opportunities on the corporate partnership side that we can help be an asset in, in, uh, companies like, uh, like yours to grow their business, um, or get their message out.

Um, you know, one of the things that I’m really proud of is, uh, you know, we, we do a very. Um, uh, you know, a five game ticket plan, which is very affordable. It’s a, you know, it’s a, it’s a little five game mini plan. It’s five, roughly five games over the course of the summer. Um, that, you know, it’s, I kind of look at it like it’s five nights of prescheduled family time.

you know, it was busy as we were talking, how earlier, everybody’s so busy. Mm-hmm. . But boy, to be able to have five nights over the course of the summer to be able to say, okay, as busy as we are, we’ve got these five nights that we can go spend as a family together, right. And we’re gonna go do this thing and we’re gonna go have a great time and we’re not gonna spend a ton of money to do it.

Or, um, we’ve got these five nights where I can go out with, uh, you know, my colleagues from my office, as busy as we, we can get together for five nights once a month over the course of the summer.  and just get together and reconnect as human beings. Um, and I think that’s an important thing. You know, if you’re looking for something to do with your family, your friends, mini plans are a great way to do it.

Um, single game tickets are a great way to do it. If you’re a business and you’re looking for some opportunities in which to , uh, not only grow your business, but, um, um, client or stakeholder, uh, thank yous or, um, you know, customer, uh, appreciation or, uh, employee appreciation. You know, blue Cross tickets, uh, are, are great in sponsorships, are great ways to do it.

So I encourage everybody to come by. Check it out. Um, you’ll have a good time. 

Judd Shaw:

I think, uh, some 66, something like that. Home games 66, Lakewood, New Jersey at the Great Jersey Shore. Ballpark. Uh, season opener is April 11th, right? Yep. April 11th. And, uh, Joe, I can’t thank you enough for coming on because I have been there.

I am a proud partner with the organization because you really do deliver a great experience, and that’s really what it’s about. Thanks so much for being on today, Joe. 

Joe Ricciutti:

Judd, thank you. It’s my pleasure and it’s a pleasure to have you as a corporate partner. 

Judd Shaw:

Appreciate that. Thanks. 


🎙️ Meet Your Host 🎙️

Name: Judd B. Shaw

What he does: Judd founded Judd Shaw Injury Law (JSIL) and serves as the firm’s Brand Chief. He founded the firm on the premise that clients come first. Over the years, the success he attained for his clients helped JSIL grow significantly. Judd’s clients are not just another number to him or his law firm.

Company: Judd Shaw Injury Law

Words of wisdom: “At Judd Shaw Injury Law, it’s all about high-quality representation and excellence in client service. Our clients are counting on us to win and the stakes are high. Our endless pursuit for awesomeness through our core values, the ability to WOW our clients, is in our DNA.”

Connect: LinkedIn | Email


🎙️ Featured Guest 🎙️

Name: Joe Ricciutti

Short Bio: Joe Ricciutti is the President and General Manager of the Jersey Shore BlueClaws. He has a history of success leading highly visible organizations in the professional sports, academic, and performing arts industries. He has a passion for bringing excellent experiences to stakeholders, guests, and staff.

Company: Jersey Shore BlueClaws

Connect: LinkedIn

🔑 Relevant Resources 🔑

This podcast is designed for general information purposes only. Nothing on this podcast should be taken as legal advice for an individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Those with legal questions should seek the advice of an attorney.