A Potpourri of Ideas for Providing Great Customer Service
by Martin R. Baird

A Potpourri of Ideas for Providing Great Customer Service
By Martin R. Baird

We’re well into 2006 and with the remainder of the year looming ahead, I think now is the perfect time to pass along some of my tried-and-true tips for providing outstanding customer service.
Following are some thoughts and ideas that really work. By the way, these are directed at all casino employees from the top down. If senior management thinks only a portion of this applies to them, they couldn’t be more wrong. Every employee at your property, regardless of rank or title, should never pass up an opportunity to learn how to offer stellar service to guests that walk through the door.
Speaking of management, let’s start there.
Guest Service Rolls Downhill
A commitment to creating a service culture must start at the top of the casino with senior management. Management must take steps to ensure that all employees are aware of this high-level commitment. When employees are expected to go through service training, the lessons are much easier to learn when they see the casino’s executives leading the guest service charge. When employees see their general manager smiling, greeting guests and picking up trash, they know they need to conduct themselves in the same manner. Follow up training with a recognition and incentive program to encourage employees to embrace the new behaviors expected of them. This is an additional indication of management’s commitment to service. When everyone in the casino works together to create a great experience, guests take notice. They appreciate those efforts.
Stay Committed With A Customer Service Buddy
Employees who strive to improve their customer service will achieve a higher degree of success if they simply hold themselves accountable for reaching their service goals. One way to do that is to have a customer service buddy. A little help from a friend is a great way to stick to your service plan. I call this the customer service buddy system and it’s simply partnering with someone to reach your service goals. You can use a variety of people for your buddy. It could be a close friend or another employee. After you have selected your service buddy, explain your plans and what you’re trying to accomplish. Give your buddy important dates and milestones in your service plan so they can contact you and see how you’re progressing. Offer incentives. For example, treat your buddy to ice cream each time you meet or exceed your monthly service goals. That’s a very small investment for reaching your goals and staying on plan. A customer service buddy system is something simple you can do to make it easier for you to succeed with your plan. Doing this could be the first step toward climbing to that new level of service that you have always wanted to reach.
Smile! What Could be Simpler?
It’s amazing how much smiles can help casinos go the extra mile in providing quality customer service. Sometimes it’s the simple things that really make the difference in creating a pleasant guest experience. Having a smiling staff on the property is truly a simple technique, but it’s effective. By smiling while you are at work, you are helping your customers have a more enjoyable visit. We all like to be around smiling and happy people because they make us happy, too. It’s a proven fact that people feel better when people smile. Smiles also make a great first impression. People want to stay and play at a happy, fun casino. A smile can make all the difference in the world – even the difference between an outstanding gaming experience at your casino and a less fulfilling experience at a competitor’s establishment. That’s a difference you want to cultivate.
Be Proactive and Reap the Rewards
Casinos looking for ways to offer something a little extra in their customer service might try thinking and acting in a proactive manner. It’s wonderful how being a little proactive can make a guest’s experience memorable. Great results can come from doing little things before you’re asked to do them. When you’re proactive, you’re thinking for the guest so they don’t have to think for themselves. Being proactive could be as simple as wiping up a spill or giving a customer the inside track on what’s great at the restaurant. The assistance you provide will be appreciated and recognized. Being proactive makes guests feel their welfare is always foremost in your mind as you go about your job. If you want your casino to stand out, being proactive is a great place to start. Think of ways to work a positive, proactive attitude into your casino operations. Don’t wait. Do it now.
Establish Bonds With Customers
The relationships between a casino and its guests should be handled with care because they can shatter like glass. If casinos don’t handle guest service just the right way, they could damage the relationships they have with their guests and never be able to repair them. That is what makes working with casino customers so challenging. Building relationships with customers is one of the most important elements of providing top-notch service. You should develop long-term relationships so your guests don’t overreact to little bumps along the way and think about looking for a new casino. Give guests a good reason to visit your property again and again. You can achieve that goal by providing stellar service and paying attention to other details, such as keeping your property clean and sparkling. Make customers feel special – make eye contact and listen when they talk to you. Greet your regulars by name. It’s impressive when you remember a guest’s name because they realize you have singled them out from hundreds of other customers.
Understand That There’s A Lot At Stake
Stellar service leads to positive word-of-mouth advertising that can translate into new customers. Conversely, if a guest doesn’t have a wonderful experience, they will tell lots of people about it. That’s the kind of advertising casinos cannot afford in today’s gaming environment.

This article first appeared in Native American Casino

Date Posted: 23-Apr-2006

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.advocateindex.com and www.advocatedevelopmentsystem.com. A copy of “Advocate Index: An Operational Tool” may be obtained by calling 206-774-8856. Robinson & Associates may be reached by phone at 480-991-6420 or by e-mail at mbaird@advocateindex.com. Based in Annapolis, Maryland, Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.

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