Casino Customer Service Is the Key to Improvement and Success
By Martin R. Baird
Casinos that want to improve their performance need look no further than their own casino customer service. Stellar casino customer service is critical to casinos’ long-term success.
At one time it was OK to live in the world of “build it and they will come.” But those days are long gone! So how will casinos win the battle for more customers? For many years, the answer to that question was to add more amenities. Many casinos opened RV parks, golf courses, fine-dining restaurants, resorts and more. But I seriously doubt casinos can just keep building bigger and better as a way of attracting more guests.
The answer will come down to casino customer service. For casinos to grow and prosper in the midst of increased competition, they must provide a better guest experience. It is not enough to have the newest games. All the other casinos have them, too. The way that casinos are going to stand out is through better service and that will require casino customer service training.
When I meet with casinos about their customer service needs, I always ask, “Is the management team committed to guest service?” This question is critical because management commitment simply must be there. If it isn’t, none of the casino customer service training will work. The casinos that have the most success at building a guest-service culture are those that do it from the top down and the bottom up.
When the GM participates in the customer service training along with hourly employees, it sends a very strong message to all of the people that this is important. When each person from the management team participates, word gets out that this is a mission, not a one-time event.
Once you have the management team on the casino customer service fun bus, it’s time to get all the other employees on board as well. It’s important to note that I do mean ALL of the employees. It’s not enough to train only the people who have direct guest contact. Many casino employees who do not interact with guests do have contact with other employees who, in turn, have an effect on the guest’s experience. If customer service is the key to success, you can’t afford to have any weak links. Everyone must be on the service bandwagon.
So why should casinos make the investment in casino customer service training? The answer is very simple: some employees don’t know how to provide great service and they don’t understand how important guest service is.
Think for a moment about the number of employees you have who had not worked in the hospitality industry before you hired them, those who have never really experienced great service. If a person has never experienced great guest service, how can they be expected to provide it?
Learning how to give quality service and the act of actually providing it need to be a fun process. Passing down an order that people will be fired at dawn if they don’t have fun at work doesn’t build a very good attitude for the troops. Customer service and casino customer service training need to be truly fun and interactive.
This is important for two reasons. First, people learn and retain more when they have fun. If it’s the same old boring training, people will just zone out. Second, if you create an understanding that guest service is fun, people are more likely to do what is fun.
After the training, it’s important to have a system in place that provides unbiased evaluation and feedback on your guest service. Once a person learns a new skill, it’s very important that they use it and develop the positive habit. If you have an incentive program that’s tied to guest service, people are more likely to provide better service. If your employees know that they could get an extra five dollars for smiling, your guests will see more smiles. You need to give your employees the skills through training and then reinforce them with positive rewards.
The casino business is not going away any time soon. And as long as it is not going away and casinos are making money, competition is going to increase. This makes guest service more important every day!
Martin R. Baird is author of “Advocate Index™: An Operational Tool” and chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc., a customer service consulting firm for the gaming industry. Robinson & Associates helps casinos determine their Advocate Index, a number that indicates the extent to which properties have guests who are willing to be advocates, and then implements its Advocate Development System to help casinos create more guest advocates. The Advocate Development System uses the proven methodology of Advocate Index in combination with best business practices to chart a course for growth and profitability. More information about the Advocate Development System and Robinson and Associates is available at the company’s Web sites at www.advocatedevelopmentsystem.com andwww.casinocustomerservice.com. A copy of “Advocate Index: An Operational Tool” may be obtained by calling 208.991.2037. Robinson & Associates is a casino consulting firm can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.