When the Oklahoma City Thunder started building its franchise in 2008, it went beyond just organizing a great basketball team. The franchise knew it needed a business Relevant Products/Services strategy that focused on its fans.

Thunder owners, then, set out to personalize the fan experience. The Thunder customer Relevant Products/Services service team promoted various campaigns, collected metric-based research data Relevant Products/Services and shaped its training programs -- and deployed Microsoft Dynamics CRM Relevant Products/Services.

"Our vision was to make the Thunder the most fan-centric organization in professional sports," said Scott Loft, vice president of Ticket Sales, Retention and Database Operations for Oklahoma City Thunder. "When fans enter the Chesapeake Energy Arena for a Thunder home game, we want them to feel like guests rather than customers or numbers."

Slam Dunk Customer Service

Microsoft Dynamics CRM created accountability within and standardization of the company's guest care best practices, and now serves as the centralized repository for all customer information, providing a 360-degree view of franchise guests. According to the team's Net Promoter Score, a system Relevant Products/Services that helps businesses measure customer satisfaction, the Thunder has an NPS of 91.2 percent -- more than twice as high as the NBA average.

"When guests share their Twitter and Facebook profile names, that opens another channel of engagement between our organization and customers," Loft said.

The franchise provides guests with ways to keep in touch with the team and other fans via social media and encourages fan feedback through telephone, e-mail and online surveys. This data helps the Thunder's customer support team drive consistent improvements.

All interactions are compiled into a monthly trending report that delivers a snapshot view of the current level of customer service. At the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 conference in New Orleans, the Thunder shared how these customer satisfaction scores have soared since the team implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In fact, the Thunder has been ranked the top NBA team in terms of the overall fan experience; 99 percent of guests have rated their overall experience as "good" or "excellent."

Hoop-to-Hoop Integration

We caught up with Rob Helm, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, to get his feedback on Microsoft Dynamics CRM's social media integration. He told us CRM is part of a bigger picture that Microsoft sees.

"Microsoft can go after the marketing function at organizations and offer them both an on-ramp to social networks and the ability to manage the resulting flood of customer contacts that they'll get when they start playing there," Helm said.

"Microsoft has this unique ability to deliver an end-to-end story where they connect inbound to social networks outbound and then manage customers. There is also a tie-in to other systems inside the company, like the SharePoint portal. It's hard to find a vendor that has all the pieces like Microsoft does."