How Canlan is using a Salesforce app called Player’s Bench to improve user experience
Canlan Ice Sports Corp (Canlan) is the North American leader in the development, operations and ownership of multi-purpose recreation and entertainment facilities. Canlan are the largest private sector owner and operator of recreational ice sports facilities in North America and currently own and/or manage 18 facilities in Canada and the United States with 68 surfaces including ice rinks and indoor soccer fields.
Up until 2013, Canlan managed most of their communications with individual league members and team reps through an online portal. The portal provided the league with a channel for communication as well as a means of displaying league statistics. However, with the continued growth of the league, the portal was unable to keep up with the increasing functionality that Canlan required to effectively support the administration of the league. They made the decision to stop using the portal and find a better solution that could scale as the league did. At that same time, Canlan was considering Salesforce for different areas of their business. The concept of the Player’s Bench online community was only a piece of what Canlan was looking to do with Salesforce.
Canlan began the project by identifying key requirements that the solution needed to achieve. Communication needed to be improved upon, with better facilitation between ASHL league officials, teams (reps and players) and Canlan administration. The solution should also enhance collaboration, providing members an online forum to interact with each other and easily receive support from league administration.
Canlan also wanted a seamless LeagueStat integration (a third party database that contains all league scoring statistics – team and individual based) that was also mobile friendly so they could serve team and player up in a digestible format. A sleek, mobile user interface was desired to encourage engagement from current and future league members. This needed to be fully responsive and device agnostic – working on any browser.
The solution should not only support the league, but act as an attraction to new members. Canlan also wanted the solution to encompass the administrative tasks of payment processing and league registration. Members should be able to pay and manage their annual league fees online, integrating with PayPal to ensure that fee administration and collection was simple and convenient. Canlan wanted to market events, products and other Canlan services within the solution.
In the true spirit of Salesforce, Canlan also required that the solution build on their database of league members, capturing information pertaining to game participation, portal engagement, payment history member spending and more.
The Player’s Bench is not a traditional use case for Salesforce. The solution that was developed was a completely custom, branded and responsive online community, customized on the Force.com platform. The Player’s Bench took advantage of the fundamental elements of a Salesforce community by using the player login, profile and user management and Chatter functionality. It was then stripped of all unnecessary functionality to support a fast, responsive and agile platform. Unlike most Salesforce projects, there is no semblance of Salesforce and its distinctive formatting.
The community leverages the Salesforce Chatter functionality for communications between league members, officials and administrative staff. Chatter, along with its instant notification features supports an improved communication management strategy with better tracking, tagging and categorizing of the content shared in the community.
With the objective of minimizing duplicate data and ensuring strong data governance practices, the community was designed to integrate with the external database systems to simply display the information on the Player’s Bench for member consumption. Minimal data, apart from user management data and communication records, is collected in Salesforce, keeping it efficient and clear of duplicate data.
Members can select which games they are able to attend, helping team reps make better lineup decisions. Based on who has given their availability for any given game, team reps can go into the community and set their lineups for upcoming games, with an easy to use, jersey drag and drop feature (as seen below).
Team reps can support the league in collecting and managing league fees. Using different profile roles, team reps are given the ability to see who has and has not paid their league fees. They can then easily follow up with those outstanding through the messaging feature.
With user experience at the top of Canlan’s priority list, Traction developed a platform interface that is interactive, enjoyable to use and incorporates a sleek design. The Player’s Bench is truly an amazing tool for Canlan’s 65,000 league members and especially for team reps. The community enhances the player and league experience to one that would only be found on the professional sports level.
To support Canlan’s sales and marketing efforts, The Player’s Bench functionality includes areas for advertisements on upcoming events and offers. It also integrates with Puck Bucks, a joint loyalty program between Canlan and Hockey Canada. Puck Bucks are collected by league members when they spend money at the Thirsty Penguin – the restaurant chain that operates in Canlan’s arena facilities. Now, using the Player’s Bench, Puck Bucks can be used to pay for annual league registration fees or to purchase merchandise from Hockey Canada.
The Player’s Bench will support a streamlined operational process for Canlan to effectively administrate the ASHL, collect fees, communicate with league members and team reps and provide a world class user experience that attracts new membership.
With the seamless integration of the LeagueStat database, players and team reps alike can see in real time who is performing well and who isn’t due to the improved visibility into all recorded game statistics. All stats are uploaded and served up directly from the scorer’s box at the game to LeagueStat so players can view their performance while in the locker room after the game.
Along with the paying of league fees, team reps and individuals can sign up for the ASHL through the Player’s Bench with integration into Canlan’s online registration system.
“When we first partnered with Salesforce we didn’t know the Players Bench Team Management Platform would be on the horizon, what we did know was that by choosing Salesforce as our technology partner anything seemed possible. When the Player’s Bench vision started to become a reality we knew that using Salesforce would give us the customizability and flexibility we needed to create something incredible. […] With the dedication, commitment and innovation of Traction’s team we’ve developed a highly integrated platform that provides our customers with a unique user experience unlike any else on the market today. […] We’ve created a competitive advantage for Canlan Ice Sports that will drive retention, encourage new business and opened doors for new revenue generation.” – Hailey Clark, Director of ASHL, Canlan Ice Sports