Paul Turner, Head of Event Operations & Security, Dallas Cowboys, discussed how his organization delivers a unique and engaging customer experience (CX) to AT&T Stadium guests during his keynote presentation to Argyle's CX membership at the 2017 Customer Experience Leadership Forum in Dallas on Feb. 8. In his presentation, "Enriching the Fan Experience Through Technology, the AT&T Story," Turner explained how the Cowboys use state-of-the-art technology to provide an unparalleled guest experience at AT&T Stadium.
According to Turner, the Cowboys originally wanted to create a stadium that would enable fans to enjoy an experience unlike any other. To accomplish this goal, the Cowboys partnered with AT&T to ensure it could leverage technology to enhance the fan experience in any way possible.
"Our commitment is to make sure we're using technology as best we can to enhance the fan experience," Turner said. "We're trying to create things in our building that really enhance that fan experience through technology."
Ultimately, the Cowboys invested heavily in technology in all aspects of the stadium's development. The technology-centric approach delivered major returns, as AT&T Stadium today showcases the true value of technology to enhance CX.
"When you're [at AT&T Stadium], you're seeing a show that is being created specifically for you with the technology we have [on site]," Turner noted.
With a technology-centric approach, the Cowboys were able to deploy many innovative guest features.
For example, Turner noted the Cowboys worked with AT&T to implement a mobile ticketing system that eliminated the need for PDF tickets. By doing so, the Cowboys were able to reduce the risk of ticket fraud as well as make it easy for guests to purchase and access AT&T Stadium tickets on mobile devices.
"We've tried to leverage a lot of different things in our mobile environment to enhance the fan experience."
Turner also noted the Cowboys introduced a one-of-a-kind mobile app that enables guests to access stadium information, receive event updates and much more. In fact, Turner stated the app even changes on Cowboys game days to further enhance the guest experience.
In addition, the Cowboys incorporated augmented-reality features throughout AT&T Stadium. That way, guests could interact with the stadium using their smartphones and tablets.
"We've tried to leverage a lot of different things in our mobile environment to enhance the fan experience," Turner pointed out.
Furthermore, AT&T Stadium boasts a massive antenna system that enables guests to connect to the stadium's Wi-Fi and interact with one another quickly and effortlessly.
"We invested in a really robust distributed antenna system," Turned indicated. "This is where AT&T and our other technology partners have really been key."
Turner stated that the Cowboys remain committed to providing a superior guest experience. As such, the Cowboys have an infrastructure in place that can be upgraded at any time to support the latest technologies.
"We're continually putting in infrastructure so as we explore other technologies, we've got that capability [to upgrade]," Turner stated.
Although AT&T Stadium includes many features that fans will notice instantly, Turner said the stadium includes numerous behind-the-scenes features that are powered by first-rate technology.
"Some of these things are not seen by the customer, but they are an important part to delivering on that fan experience," he said.
Turner stated AT&T Stadium has an emergency notification system that is designed to minimize fan risk. The stadium enables the Cowboys to broadcast alerts across AT&T Stadium to ensure guests can stay safe in emergencies.
"Coming to an event is a very personal thing. … We have to [prioritize the customer experience] so that every person has an opportunity to enjoy the event and is free from the distractions and disruptions of other."
AT&T Stadium ushers are equipped with iPod Touch devices as well. Therefore, ushers can stay in contact with one another and work together to provide fans with a world-class experience.
Perhaps best of all, AT&T Stadium embraces social networks and encourages fans to do the same. Social networks allow Cowboys employees to keep fans up to date about accidents, emergencies and other critical situations that may arise at AT&T Stadium. Meanwhile, fans can share their thoughts and feelings about AT&T Stadium via social media, ensuring Cowboys employees can retrieve fan feedback.
"Some of these things aren't sexy, and some of these things aren't exciting, but they're an important part of the portfolio of things that we use with technology to ensure that we're running the stadium in a responsible way and delivering on that fan experience," Turner stated.
With top-notch technology, the Cowboys have revamped the definition of the fan experience. As a result, the Cowboys ensure fans can enjoy personalized experiences any time they visit AT&T Stadium.
"Coming to an event is a very personal thing. … We have to [prioritize the customer experience] so that every person has an opportunity to enjoy the event and is free from the distractions and disruptions of others," Turner said.
Paul Turner, CFE, is a Certified Facilities Executive and the Director of Event Operations and Security for the Dallas Cowboys and AT&T Stadium. He oversees event management, event and venue security and public services for all events at AT&T Stadium. He was part of the stadium planning group during construction and was responsible for the development of the stadium operations department. Since its opening in 2009, AT&T Stadium has been recognized as one of the world’s premiere sports and entertainment venues and is host to marquee events including the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, Super Bowl XLV and the 2014 NCAA Final Four.
In his 24 years in the public assembly facilities industry, Paul has developed and led numerous guest and event services operations in performing arts centers, arenas and stadiums. He has previously held positions with the NFL Philadelphia Eagles, the NBA Portland Trailblazers and the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in Southern California.
Paul is active in the venue management industry and is chair of the Stadium Committee for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). He is a member of the National Advisory Board for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), a faculty member for the Academy for Venue Safety and Security (AVSS) and serves on the Security Advisory Committee and Facility Coordination Group for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Paul is well known for developing industry best practices for customer service, event management, security and venue operations. He has created many training and development programs and is a regular presenter at industry meetings and conferences.
Paul has a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from California State University, Long Beach and he lives in Grapevine, Texas with his wife and daughter.