Shouldn’t Casino Customer Service Be Easy?

Think for a moment about the casino business.  It’s the best of all worlds, right? 

Casino employees work in some of the most beautiful structures ever built.  We now have casinos that make guests feel like they’ve traveled to new and exotic places.  Casinos are where all the beautiful people come to have fun and relax.

Well, if casinos are so wonderful, how difficult can it be for employees to be nice and smile?  How hard can it be for them to provide that all-important stellar customer service?  Unfortunately, it can be very hard. 

The public has this mistaken notion that working in a casino is an easy job.  The truth is, a casino can be a beautiful place for the guest but when it comes to working and providing great service, it can be very challenging. 

As I present customer-service training programs for casinos around the country, I’ve heard many stories that exemplify why casino work isn’t always easy.  I want to share some of these war stories with you and explain how it’s still possible to provide great service under difficult circumstances.

My first story involves table games.  A dealer listened to what I had to say during training and then point-blank asked me how I would smile and do all that other customer service stuff in a particular situation he once faced.  He went on to explain that an unpleasant guest sat at his table.  The guest was losing all night and the more he lost, the more he drank.  After sharing a few choice words with the dealer, the guest got sick all over the table and the dealer.

I told the dealer he was right.  That situation didn’t make great service easy.  I also explained that it doesn’t mean that service is less important, just harder to do sometimes.

A person from craps had a guest who thought blowing cigar smoke in her face brought him good luck.  He blew smoke all through her shift.  And how about the person from housekeeping who couldn’t understand why a guest would continue to throw ashes and cigarette debris on the floor after a clean ashtray had been placed within easy reach.

Anyone who has spent time on a casino floor has seen these situations all too often.   But in order to stand out in a very competitive industry, casino employees simply must overcome these situations and find ways to provide the kind of service that makes guests want to come back. 

How can they do that?  Let’s start with a simple but crucial premise.  Everyone who works at a casino must understand that the guest who just walked through the door is the most important person in their business.  The customer or guest is the key to the casino’s success.

Everyone also needs to understand that they are directly affected by the kind of experience guests have while they are on the property.  People who work for tokes know they couldn’t pay their bills if it wasn’t for guests.  They make their living from tips, and happy guests are more likely to tip. 

The problem is casino employees don’t always see themselves in an accurate light.

For example, I watched a beverage server one night and she didn’t smile once.  As I continued to observe, I never saw her thank the guests for their tips.  I talked with her later and asked a couple of questions.  She told me that she always smiles but people just don’t know how to tip.  As I asked more questions, I realized that my view of her and her view of herself where not the same.  Co-workers, managers and supervisors need to help people see how they can improve and how a change for the better will help them and their guests. 

The next point about customer service revolves around one simple fact:  when people come to a casino to be entertained, they hope to walk out with more money than they brought but they often don’t.  Notice I didn’t say win.  Win doesn’t have to mean leaving with more money.  People can have a great experience and lose money and still feel like a winner.

Floor people sometimes miss that point.  They forget that they’re in the entertainment business and that they have a leading role.  Even though a guest is losing money, each employee has an opportunity to help them feel like a winner.

Casino jobs are not easy.  Nevertheless, guest service must be a priority.   Casinos need to give every employee, from senior management on down, the tools they need to help make the next guest’s visit so incredible that they remember more than just the beautiful building.  They remember the great people they met and the wonderful time they had.

To read other articles by Martin Baird, go to

Martin R. Baird
Robinson & Associates, Inc.

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