The Bold Faced Blog™

June 08, 2015

Where Talent Matters | A Bold Faced Blog Series…Meet Chris Bryant

Posted 3 years 257 days ago by Gretchen Hirsch

The Ashton212 consultant team includes the best of the best from a variety of fields and industries. Today we catch up with Chris Bryant, Chief Experience Officer of Bryant Group in Los Angeles.


What does a Chief Experience Officer do?

My role is to help organizations develop a culture of exceptional service; that is consistent, compelling and creates customers for life. There is a huge difference between transactional and experiential service. A transaction is forgettable, but experiences create lasting memories that people talk about. We start by defining the service promise and establishing staff expectations for the desired customer experience. We then design, develop, and deliver a customized solution to equip and empower the organization to build brand loyalty at every touchpoint.


How did Bryant Group come about?

Early in my career, I was able to work for two companies that are benchmarks in world-class service: Nordstrom and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. At Nordstrom, I helped open a store—from an empty box to a great example of what Nordstrom does best. Later I had the privilege of working for the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando as Director of Training and Organizational Development, and also as a Company Speaker. It’s the largest Ritz-Carlton in North America and you might say I was the keeper of the culture.


Every new employee was required to attend my extensive orientation before they stepped foot on the floor to ensure a consistent level of service throughout the organization. I’m proud to say that our property became the top-rated Ritz-Carlton in the country with regards to the guest experience.

The hotel company also has the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center that consults other companies on Ritz-Carlton service and best practices. As a Company Speaker, I quickly discovered that business leaders were hungering and thirsting to know how we did it. They hung on my every word—and I enjoyed sharing the philosophy and insights.


When I came back to California in the same role for the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena, I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized I had attended the Harvard and Yale of customer service. I had learned best-in-class techniques and strategies, and the seeds were planted for me to open my own business. There was a need for what I knew—and a market for it. I’ve worked with a number of leading companies in various industries, but now Bryant Group’s work is 90 to 95 percent concentrated on the fan experience in professional sports.


How did that concentration come about?      

It all happened somewhat by chance. I was featured in a magazine article about exceptional service and a woman from the National Basketball Association read it and was very interested in my high-end hospitality background. Season ticket holders, premium seat and suite owners are the lifeblood of a sports franchise. To keep them engaged, their overall experience has to be special, particularly if the team isn’t playing well. The league recognized that the hospitality industry is excellent when it comes to highly personalized and anticipatory service.


I was soon referred to the world famous Madison Square Garden Arena, home of the New York Knicks. The Garden was undergoing a three-year, billion-dollar renovation and they wanted a service experience that mirrored the new facility. Then the National Football League caught on—and Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer. The rest as they say, is history. And all of it came from one magazine article read by the right person.


Obviously the company is growing.

Yes, and I’ve called on Ashton212 as a resource. They’ve sent me highly skilled trainers that I feel confident about sending out once I’ve brought them aboard and trained them in our programs. In addition to training the front office staff, we also deliver training for all game-day staff at stadiums and arenas. It’s a huge job and excellent trainers are essential.


How did you come to be part of the Ashton212 consulting team?

I had worked with Mary Ann Munro before she went to Ashton212. When she moved over to the new company, I came with her, and then I met Sheila—and I like what they’re doing.


What’s your life about when you aren’t working?

I have a 12-year-old son and I spend a great deal of time with him, and I’m also a caregiver for my mom.  I’m involved with my faith as well, both in the church and in nonprofit work. I do lots of mentoring of young people and I enjoy working out.


If you were told you could offer only one piece of advice to the world, what would it be?

Find what you’re truly passionate about and follow your passion. In your personal life, family life, and business, passion is the secret sauce. Don’t chase the dollars. Chase your passion and the dollars will come.

Tags: associate Chris Bryant customer service fan experience Signature Programs

Categories: categoryConsulting categoryWhere Talent Matters

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