Casino customer service training is a critical element of creating a customer service culture at gaming properties. Few people are naturals at providing outstanding service. Most need training.
Just as critical is providing training that actually works. Here’s a tip on how to offer training that will turn employees into service superstars. Make it fun and interesting. Just say no to boring training!
We do casino customer service training programs across the country and I’m always shocked at the number of people who tell me our program isn’t boring. I’m appalled to learn that casinos are doing training that’s so mind numbing. You are in the excitement and entertainment business and if your training isn’t exciting and entertaining, what message are you sending to your people?
Make training fun and interesting. The subject isn’t what makes training fun. It’s the way the material is presented and the thought that goes into developing and planning the program. If the training is well designed, it will get the participants so involved that they will actually want to learn and open their minds to new opportunities.
In this industry, casino customer service training should be glitz and glamour, fun and excitement because that’s what you sell to the public every day. Your training should mirror the experience that you want your employees to pass along to your guests. It needs to be participant centered. That means the program should be about the participants, not the trainer or the training department. It should focus on the people who are there to learn new skills. People learn by doing. Great training uses activities and exercises to keep the participants interested and active.
The program should be timed and choreographed so that there is a change or new activity every seven or eight minutes. You want the people in the training session to learn and that’s hard to do when they’re so bored they’re counting the holes in the ceiling tiles.
Develop a series of games or activities that encourages or requires the participants to say and do the new behavior. Take a current trend and blend it into the training. If “The Voice” is the current hit on TV, use that show as a theme for a portion of the session. Most people know the premise behind the show and they will be interested. Use the excitement these shows have generated as a way to add spice to your training experience. This technique keeps your training fresh and new.
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I believe casinos are losing one of their traditional roles in the entertainment industry – serving as a refuge from the troubles of the outside world.
A newspaper article in the Arizona Republic stated that movie theater ticket sales are doing well. It noted that industry insiders say movies have long been a refuge for the masses during economic downturns. Then it had an interesting quote from Patrick Corcoran of the National Association of Theatre Owners in Washington, D.C.: “If times are tough, people still need to get out and get away.”
Yes, people do need to get away and they used to flock to casinos to do that. We all know that isn’t happening right now. So what can you do to make your casino a refuge again? I am convinced that the answer is as simple as getting back to the basics of good service. Quality service then leads to the ultimate goal – creating an outstanding gaming experience.
Heck, if movie theaters can get people to spend their money on what may or may not be a good movie, then casinos can get people to try gaming. There’s a 50-50 chance a moviegoer’s experience will be lousy. Either the movie was good or it wasn’t. But great service can give casino guests a good experience each and every time even though they lose some money. Give people that experience and they likely will come back to play again.
Casino employees need to start thinking about some rather vague words and phrases that relate to having a good experience and then find ways put them into action.
Take the word “great,” for example. Guests should have a great time at your casino. You want every person who walks out of your property to leave feeling great. If you do the right thing, if you help them in every way you can and treat them like a guest, chances are they will have a bounce in their step as they leave. Odds are they will already be upbeat the next time they come to play because they will anticipate a great experience.
The phrase “good time” is another example. Many people patronize casinos simply to have a good time and nothing more. Guests know in the back of their mind that the chances of winning are fairly slim. But they’re OK with that because they come to your property to have fun and escape for awhile.
“Unbelievable” – that’s the kind of experience your guests must have. They must be in awe of how much fun they had and how nice everyone was. When guests visit your property, they must have an unbelievable experience they can take home. That’s what they have to show for the time and money they spent at your casino.
What about the word “warmth”? Guests don’t want to walk into a place that feels sterile and cold. They want your casino to project warmth and personality and you’re a major part of making that happen. Your smile and eye contact help guests feel warm and welcome.
This may sound a little corny, but if your guests had such a wonderful time at your property that they had to make up a word to describe their feelings, “yowza” would be ideal. If you can find a way to get people to actually exclaim “yowza!” because they had so much fun, well, you’ve done your job.
There are plenty of other words that describe the kind of gaming experience casinos need to deliver – exceptional, stupendous, marvelous. Sure, they’re vague, but all it takes is the right word to get casino employees thinking about ways they can make that word happen. I firmly believe casinos can reclaim their rightful place as a refuge for people in tough times. These days, people want and need to get out and get away. Give them a reason to come to your place.
This article originally appeared in Casino Connection.