July 13, 2017 – The NBA on Wednesday named Hornets Sports & Entertainment Vice President of Guest Services & Event Staffing Marlene Hendricks the winner of the inaugural Pete Winemiller Guest Experience Innovation Award.
Named after the late senior vice president of guest relations for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the award recognizes an NBA team executive who creates a world-class service experience for fans. The criteria includes innovating and enhancing the game experience for guests and employees, sharing knowledge with the league’s greater guest services community and embodying positive values when interacting with fans.
“We are thrilled that the NBA has recognized Marlene for her outstanding work here in Charlotte,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & COO Fred Whitfield. “She is committed to constantly improving the experience of our patrons and our employees. Her dedication is unmatched and we are incredibly proud of her achievements.”
Hendricks, who has been in her role since Spectrum Center opened in 2005, has exemplified excellence in guest services throughout her tenure with the organization. She helped develop the HSE Service Promise — “Spectacular Fun and Memories that Marvel” — and has ingrained the philosophy in the organization’s culture.
Under Hendricks’ leadership, HSE has installed detailed training programs to ensure team members embody the Service Promise and exhibit its five defining pillars: Passion, Positive, Prideful, Proactive and Problem-Solving. The training emphasizes the importance of creating positive interactions at every step of a guest’s journey and includes all full-time and part-time team members, as well as vendors and third parties. The program also recognizes successful team members with rewards and incentives initiated by guests, managers, supervisors and HSE executives.
Through creative and innovative programming, Hendricks has helped ensure guests leave Spectrum Center with positive impressions and memorable experiences. Her achievements include implementing the Random Acts of Kindness initiative, which gives guests coupons for free gifts as tokens of appreciation. She also developed the First Time Kids and First Time Fans programs, sending first-time guests home with freebies and, in some cases, rewards like seat upgrades.
The NBA founded the Pete Winemiller Guest Experience Innovation Award earlier this year. The recipient is decided by a committee of internal and external customer experience experts.