Title-FeatureStory-Block1.png
Gravity_660x220.jpg

MUDDY WATERS AT LAKE NONA

The USTA embraced a company not even some of their own staff would recommend

 By Rich Neher

BlueOcean.png

CONTEXT: LAWYERS IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS

 

It was the early '1980s and it was a good time for the Wilson Sporting Goods company. They became the official ball of the US open and entered into a partnership with the USTA that is still strong today.

The Head PENN Racquet Sports company had a similarly good year in 1987 when they became USTA partner as official ball sponsor of the USTA's Adult League program. Again, a partnership that is still ongoing today.

Why am I mentioning those partnerships today? Because they were made when lawyers had little to no say at the USTA. Yes, they probably had a General Council, but none of the decision-makers and few Board members were lawyers.

That all changed in 2007 when Gordon Smith became USTA CEO and with him came an invasion of lawyers onto the USTA Boards. Tennis was never the same. Many of the partnerships entered into were troubling at best. We are still investigating USTA/Deloitte because that relationship smells weird. Then there is ClubSpark. Oh boy. And now Blue Ocean. Yikes.

Fortunately, Mike Dowse is not a lawyer but many of the national and sectional Board members are. Seems to me they are out there destined to destroy the organization as we know it. When you look at all the major successful tennis industry vendors like Wilson, Head, Babolat, Tennis Channel, Slinger Bag, none of their CEOs are lawyers. In fact, this year, Forbes lists only 6 lawyers among 100 billionaires in the world. What does that tell us?

LAWYERS IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS = MEDIOCRITY AT BEST

CourtReserve.png

FAST FORWARD: BLUE OCEAN, HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA

When I heard on Clubhouse that a team from a new USTA vendor had been trained at Lake Nona to take over all customer service call center functions, I was quite puzzled. Several questions came to mind:

1. What customer service functions? Aren't the sections doing that? The only areas where they may need customer service help is Net Generation and the US Open, I thought. But - Net Generation is a failed program that probably has very few calls per day if any. I'd give it one person part-time. And the US Open? You want to tell me there is an entire outside team necessary to field US Open calls for 6 weeks each year?

2. Why select a Canadian company that was previously mostly involved in the defense industry? Then it dawned on me. Kurt Kamperman moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia and at the same time, a company from that town began work in Lake Nona and became a client? Does that look normal to you? 

The old USTA habit of Quid Pro Quo reared its ugly head again.

We will follow the money until we find out who's lining whose pockets with this deal. It just smells. We're trying to find out if and how Deloitte was involved. Or if anyone on the USTA Board profited from it. Everything is possible, friends. The USTA just doesn't have a good reputation when it comes to backroom deals.

Btw, Blue Ocean published a Launch Report on their website. Here it is

If that report is accurate it would mean the USTA and a vendor installed a project correctly and on time. What are the chances, haha? Seems more like an advertising message designed to make both parties look good.

On a side note: Look at the home page of Blue Ocean. Let the page load for a few seconds until the people start dancing. Doesn't it look like they're dancing because they found another sucker client? I'm being sarcastic, folks. It just looks so weird.

BlueOcean-Dancing-840.jpg
Neuro Tennis

REALITY CHECK: WHAT ARE CURRENT AND FORMER EMPLOYEES SAYING ABOUT BLUE OCEAN?

 

Have you ever heard of Glassdoor.com? Wikipedia writes, "Glassdoor is an American website where current and former employees anonymously review companies. Glassdoor also allows users to anonymously submit and view salaries as well as search and apply for jobs on its platform."

Everyone can create a free account on Glassdoor and then start researching companies. I did this with Blue Ocean and it was quite the eye-opener! Yes, there are positive reviews, of course, but look at all the negatives!

The first thing I always do when investigating a company, I look at the Reviews overview. Blue Ocan has earned a not-so-great 3.3 while only 54% of all current and former employees that left a review would recommend the company to a friend. Below Blue Ocean are the overviews of some other companies in the same field.

Blue-Ocean-Glassdoor1.jpg
Support-Ninja-Glassdoor1.jpg
Helpware-Glassdoor1.jpg

Support Ninja is based in Austin, Texas. Helpware is based in Irvine, California.

But let's go back and read what people are saying about Blue Ocean on Glassdoor. Current and former employees can give a company up to 5 stars.  I've just summarized some of the statements to give you an idea so you can form your own opinion.

July 2021

Former employee, less than 1 year
1 Star - They will drive you to burn out, overwork you to no end.

July 2021

Current employee, more than 3 years

1 star - Do not go there, terrible place! Very low salary, almost no benefits. Shifts are all over the place. Not much real room to grow. Always understaffed and a lot of days we have back-to-back calls for the whole shift.

July 2021

Former employee, less than 1 year
2 stars - Very disorganized. Constant miscommunication between management, trainers, and staff. I was hired in February for one project, but given a second project (a second company to answer the phone for) within two days, and quickly put on three more. You don't know which company is calling you until the customer is already on the line. If you say you're uncomfortable, you'll be pressured to do more anyway.

Advice to Management - New agents are not qualified or confident enough to work on multiple projects at once. Agents should be trained and work only on one project for at least 3 months before being moved to additional projects, and only if they are ready. This way, you'll have more competent staff on each project, not a bunch of agents who are confused and barely competent at 5 projects.

May 2021

Current employee, more than 1 year
2 stars - Very low salary, almost no benefits. Shifts are all over the place. No much real room to grow. Understaffed... a lot of days we have back-to-back calls for the whole shift. 50-60 calls.

Advice to Management - Pay your employees a decent wage instead of just calling it a "wonderful" place to work

December 2020
Current employee, more than 1 year
2 stars - Pay is poor and they don't value their employees.

July 2020

Former employee, more than 1 year

1 star - The workplace culture was toxic. Workforce scheduling switched shifts from early morning to late night with no regard for employees' personal lives or outside commitments. Holiday/vacation scheduling was a nightmare, you couldn't get an answer until the week your schedule was published. Employee concerns were swept under the rug and upper management engaged in frequent gaslighting. Instead of paying a living wage, offering decent benefits, or opportunities for advancement, they had treat day and called it a wonderful place to work. The President of the company doesn't wash his hands when he pees.
Advice to Management  - Pay your staff a living wage.

May 2020
Former employee, more than 1 year

1 star - Nice office, low pay, false promises. 

Hired as technical support, immediately became apparent that I was customer support instead. -Low pay -Low raises -Laid off with 1-day notice, no pay in lieu of notice.

Advice to Management - Yikes. Not sure where to begin.

October 2019

Former Employee, more than 1 year

2 stars - Toxic environment, had to work in three different call queues at once and never paid more for doing more. Was over call time by 2 minutes on average but with 99% quality both years there. Even after that was given 12 cent raise and they thought that was amazing.....

Advice to Management-Upper management is terrible and I was told I was stupid by a higher-up manager and bullied by him until I complained.

March 2018
Former employee, less than 1 year

1 star - Terrible place to work. Management is unaware of what is going with the teams - Team leaders do not have any actual knowledge of the product or power to make any important decisions and they are just there to monitor you and make sure you are not late or actually are working -Multiple layers of management, each more clueless than the next - Probably one of the lowest-paying jobs out there - Very little regard for employees - No room to grow - You will be hired for one job and next thing you know, you have been assigned to a completely different job/position which you have received little to no training for

Advice to Management - replace the project coordinators and higher management or just shut it down.

December 2017
Current employee, less than 1 year

1 star - Management is useless they don't know how to distribute workload evenly, no permanent desk, Crazy Schedules they never gonna fix this, Cheap Place to work, I have seen people working crazy hard and in return, BOCC gives like cheap gifts like a cheap bag or $5-10 gift card. Trust me if you work like a machine also then in return you will receive nothing. This place doesn't appreciate hard workers.

Advice to Management  - Hire some good educated Management Person who can make right decisions. Don't do trial and error method with people. Someone just got the management position and literally even after three months don't know about Project!

More comments like this: 

- Always losing employees and clients.

- Blue Ocean is one of the most pathetically run businesses I have ever encountered or worked for.

- An absolute rubbish place to work.

- Sexual harassment claims were answered with "boys will be boys."

I'm asking you in all honesty:

A. Would you work for such a company?

B. Would you hire such a company?

Btw, here is the USTA on Glassdoor.

USTA-Glassdoor1.jpg

The most recent negatives write about poor leadership, negative culture, failed organization, low pay, very corrupted, 'good ole boy gang', and so forth.

But you knew that. Right?

PTR-Ad-October-2021.png

Do you like our content? If you do so, please consider supporting us.  For as little as $1 a month, you can help ensure the long-term future of TENNIS CLUB BUSINESS.

Click here to support and please share this with all the tennis lovers you know.