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July 09, 2012

Communication is key to a content customer

It took two hours to drive from our London home to the 2012 Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone race track yesterday. Had the return journey been the same, the title of this article may have been Communication is key to a happy customer. It didn't. In fact, it took closer to five hours.

The key ingredient that left me feeling ok with a three hour extension to the return trip was the amount of communication sent out by the event organisers. Silverstone Radio, their twitter feed, the website and an email campaign kept attendees up to date with what was going on.

A few days before the race weekend began, the first series of emails were sent out. Severe rains had affected camping and parking areas around the circuit and fans were asked to keep an eye out for further updates. On Friday's practice day, fans were asked to avoid attending the qualifier day on Saturday to prevent further damage to facilities for Sunday's race day. Refunds, obviously, we're offered for unused tickets. The updates went on to include traffic diversions, closure of highways to accommodate traffic leaving the venue, and calls for attendees in certain parking zones to leave in a specific sequence.

There was enough going on after the race to keep fans busy for some time but, since most people want to get home as quickly as possible, there was bound to be an issue. Traffic issues are only one concern and I was impressed to see the event organisers transform a normal highway into a one way system, using both sides of the highway for cars and busses leaving the venue.

The external factors, including the bad weather conditions over the weekend, really put them to the test. In my book, because I knew exactly what to expect at all stages of the event, they passed. As a result, the five hour journey home - including the 1,5 hour queue to leave the parking area - may not have left me feeling happy but it did leave me feeling content with the situation.


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