Casino Guests Are Talking About Your Service - Globally
by Martin Baird

Casino Guests Are Talking About Your Service – Globally
By Martin R. Baird

For 15 years, I have been telling casinos that guest service matters. That service can have a positive or negative impact on casino revenue, depending on whether it shines or stinks. To lend additional credibility to my claims, I have quoted service experts in other industries and written about examples of stellar service no matter where it occurs, as long as it relates to the entertainment and hospitality markets.

Now I bring you the ultimate proof. I am letting your guests speak for themselves. As guests speak, they offer you two critical lessons. First, they clearly say that service is important to them. Second, they are talking about your casino’s service to anyone who will listen – globally. And they link your service (good or bad) directly to your name!

I recently went to Twitter and did a word search for “casino customer service.” Two posts caught my attention. The first one was positive: “Enjoying Tavern Casino, West 44 at Greenbrier. Customer service is impeccably executed and sincere.” If this person is talking about Tavern Casino at The Greenbrier, a resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, I give you guys a well-deserved tip of the hat.

The second post was both positive and negative. This guest prefers one Detroit casino over another and names both properties in his tweet. I have removed the name of the casino that got the short end of the stick. Here’s the tweet: “I have been going to Greektown Hotel Casino more than (XYZ Casino) lately. Go Figure. (XYZ Casino) has to step up its customer service!!” The guest typed in the exclamation marks, not me.

I rest my case. Casino guests themselves say that they like good service and that they avoid casinos that don’t provide it. That means they go to casinos that emphasize service. So how can your property be the casino of choice? There are a multitude of ways to improve guest service, more than I can elaborate on here. But the following seven tips on providing stellar service will get you off to a wonderful start.

Do Your Best for Every Guest. Each guest who comes to your property is expecting a great gaming experience. Guests want to have fun and know that they stand out and that they’re special. This is a priority for everyone at the casino – employees and managers alike. In other words, every casino employee is in the guest service business.

Be Observant. It’s smart to observe guests by watching and paying attention. By watching what they do and how they do it, employees have an opportunity to know what guests want before they ask. That’s high-level service. For example, if a guest puts down an empty glass at a machine, bring a refill. If someone can’t find the restroom, step forward and help them. That simple act of observation sets a casino apart from the competition and truly impresses guests.

Be Timely. Casino service needs to be provided in a timely manner. Guests only have a certain amount of time to play and employees should want to be sure every minute of it is spent at the casino where they work. The faster guests are served and the more quickly they get what they want, the more likely they are to stay.

Acknowledge Guests. Casino guests want to be recognized by the property’s employees. They may not want their name yelled across the casino floor but they do want to be recognized. A nod of the head could be just the thing for one guest. For another, it could be remembering their name and using it appropriately. Recognizing guests is one of those simple things that is greatly appreciated.
Create A Welcoming Atmosphere. Every casino guest is welcome. They’re welcome to play, eat, stay in the hotel and swing their clubs on the golf course. They should feel welcome, not out of place or uncomfortable. Casino employees should make their guests feel as welcome as an old friend.

Watch Your Tone of Voice. The way you say something has a huge impact on what people hear. So be careful about your tone of voice as you interact with guests. Casinos are noisy. That’s why your voice needs to cut through, but in a calm, friendly, smiling and welcoming manner. The way you say words often has more impact than the words themselves.

Have A “Yes I Can” Attitude. No matter what a guest wants, no matter when they want it and no matter which department is responsible, you need to have a “yes I can” attitude. Sure, the request may be outside your area of expertise, but you need to come through for your guest with a cheerful, “Yes, I can do that.” Your guest will remember and appreciate your effort.

Now to that second lesson I mentioned. Social media is here to stay, folks, and it can work for you or against you. I guarantee that guests are talking about your casino on the Internet, and they are conversing with anyone around the world who wants to listen. Twitter is just one platform for this discussion and there are applications out there that allow people to simultaneously post a comment to several platforms – Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, you name it.

Even if a remark posts at only one social media site, it can spread like wildfire. I wonder if the above guest who tweeted that XYZ Casino “has to step up its customer service” got any retweets? I wonder if those retweets were retweeted yet again? And again? I’m sure Greektown is hoping the answer is yes and that XYZ is biting its collective fingernails.

Take a hard look at your casino’s guest service. Does what you see make you proud or nervous? You need to know the answer to that question. It matters and guests are talking about it.

Date Posted: 07-Aug-2010

Martin R. Baird is chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc., a Boise, Idaho-based consulting firm to the global gaming industry that is dedicated to helping casinos improve their guest service so they can compete and generate future growth and profitability. Robinson & Associates is the world leader in casino guest experience measurement and improvement. For more information, visit the company’s Web sites at www.casinocustomerservice.com and www.advocatedevelopmentsystem.com or contact the company at 206-774-8856. Robinson & Associates is an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.

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