Happy Employees Create Happy Guests

Anyone who works at a casino knows that the guest is the most important person at a property.  So creating an exceptional gaming experience for guests makes great dollars and sense.


This is especially true when it comes to creating more guest advocates – guests who say positive things about a casino of their own free will and potentially create new business. 


One way to create more guest advocates is to provide exceptional service.  Employees and their managers both play an important role in making this happen.  Employees deliver the outstanding service and managers who keep their employees happy and inspired help make sure the service is consistently stellar.


Here’s the bottom line:  when employees have fun, guests do, too.  And an employee reward and recognition program is just the ticket.  Most people are desperately looking for a simple “attaboy” or a pat on the back.  Casino employees face so many rules and regulations, it’s easy to forget about having fun.  Likewise, it’s easier for managers to focus more on the negative and less on the positive.


Incentives and rewards change behavior.  By putting a system in place that rewards the positive customer service actions you want to see from your employees, you are head and shoulders above the competition and more likely to turn ordinary guests into guest advocates. 


Here are a few important points to think about when planning a reward and recognition program.


First, you need to decide what behavior you’re looking for from your employees.  You need to identify this first so you know what kind of behavior to reward.  It could be something as simple as smiling or more complex behavior such as using a company slogan when talking with guests.  If you don’t identify the behavior you want, you’ll be rewarding people for doing something entirely different.


Second, assign someone to decide whether employees are performing the way you want them to.  Many casinos think this is a good activity for managers and department heads.  Unfortunately, bias and standards get in the way.  If a manager doesn’t like an employee, it will be difficult for them to see the employee’s actions in a true light.  Also, you run into the problem of different standards from different people.  One shift manager may have lower standards than the next shift manager.  Thus, employees on one shift may get more rewards than employees on another shift.


It’s important to use an unbiased third party.  This avoids finger pointing and claims of unfair treatment.  When my company works with a casino to help it improve its guest service, we use a mystery shopping company to garner “real” people’s input and ideas.


Third, you need to think about the rewards.  Many people believe employees prefer cash.  However, studies show that most staff members think a tangible gift has higher value than cash.  With the number of gift companies available today, it’s easy to give rewards that people want because you can find so many things locally or on the Internet.  It’s also easier than ever to provide gift cards as rewards.  These cards are available for everything from Wal Mart shopping to long-distance telephone calls.  The rewards don’t need to be huge.  They just need to be consistent.


Finally, realize that it’s very important to offer the reward as soon after the event as possible.  If a person is told they did a good job a month after it happened, they don’t have a clear understanding of why they’re being recognized.  People need to get the positive feedback as soon as possible.  If it’s too slow in coming, it’s almost as if it never happened.  The faster they get feedback, the more it will affect their behavior.


Improving guest service is a must in these highly competitive times.  Great training is the start and then it comes down to your employees.  The happier your employees are, the easier it is for them to share some of that happiness with your guests.


Rewards and incentives are the next step for casinos that want to reach a higher level of guest service and generate as many guest advocates as possible.

 Martin R. BairdRobinson & Associates, Inc.