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Catch the Casino Ripple With Stellar Guest Service
by Marty Baird

Catch the Casino Ripple With Stellar Guest Service
By Martin R. Baird

A friend recently e-mailed me a link to a Wall Street Journal article that had good things to say about casino business on the Las Vegas Strip. My heart leaped with joy. Any good news about gaming is great news.
“The Las Vegas Strip’s dominant casinos and resorts this week are signaling that after years in the dumps, the heart of Las Vegas tourism is showing a slow recovery,” the Journal said. For example, the Journal reported that Caesars said its revenue in Las Vegas in the second quarter this year increased 10.3 percent from the year-earlier period while spending per trip grew 9.2 percent from last year. “Executives said that the increases were seen at nearly all of the nine casinos the company owns in Las Vegas,” the Journal reported.

True, this was only one city among hundreds globally with casinos and worries about a possible double-dip recession hadn’t manifested yet on the Strip. But let’s all break out in a collective smile, please. Now let’s also get down to business.

Word coming out of Las Vegas may only be a ripple, but it could be a sign that there is a great opportunity brewing for gaming. It’s fantastic that people are feeling confident enough about their finances to start playing at casinos again. But that won’t mean much unless casinos give these people a darned good reason to come back again. And again. Turn these newly returned players into regulars! That is the foundation of success going forward.
This requires quick action and the simplest and most effective way to grab these players’ attention is to bolster your guest service. Stellar service really stands out. Guests notice it. They like it. And it can give them a reason to come play again.

Following are 10 tips on how your casino can improve its guest service right now. These tips are directed at your employees. I suggest you print this article and post it where employees with direct customer contact can see it.

Number 1 – Look for Service Opportunities. A lost guest is a great opportunity for a wonderful guest-service experience. They may be looking for a restroom, the buffet or a way to get downstairs. Whenever the guest is lost, you have a chance to lend a hand and make them feel special. Instead of telling the guest where the restroom or buffet is located, take the extra minute and walk them to it. This makes a lasting impression.

Number 2 – Clean It Up! Take a lesson out of the Disney handbook: cleanliness is an integral part of customer service. If your guests have a good experience but the casino is dirty, it will be difficult to get them to come back. No one gets up in the morning and says, “Let’s go over to that dirty casino.” You want them to have positive thoughts about your property, not negative.

Number 3 – Be Proactive. When you are 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 guest the inside track on what’s great at the restaurant. The assistance you provide will be appreciated. Being proactive makes guests feel their welfare is always foremost in your mind as you go about your job.

Number 4 – Smile. I know this is corny, but by simply smiling while you are at work, you are helping guests have a more enjoyable visit. We all like to be around smiling, happy people. They make us happy, too. It’s a proven fact that people feel better when other people smile. Smiles make a great first impression. People want to stay and play at a happy, fun casino.

Number 5 – Look. Make an impression by making eye contact with guests. And be sure to have a cheerful look in your eye. Make eye contact when guests talk to you.

Number 6 – Listen. I can’t say enough about how important it is to listen to what guests have to say. Slow down, stop, sit back and listen to your guest. Listen to what they’re saying with words, body language and facial expressions. If you really listen to what they have to say, you can usually find solutions to their problems and you might discover a new opportunity to provide excellent service.

Number 7 – Have Patience. One of the most important elements of great service is patience. For example, some guests are older and have special needs. Patience is particularly important with them. Most any casino guest can be trying at times. Just be patient, smile and help them.

Number 8 – Spread the Kindness. Kindness goes a long way. It has a long shelf life in people’s minds. I’m talking about simple things like clearing off a dirty tray in a person’s area, saying please and saying thank you. Simple kindness is something that people remember for years. It’s also a hallmark of great service.

Number 9 – Recognize Guests. Players want to be recognized. They may not want you to yell their name across the casino floor or say hello to them in the grocery store. They do want to be recognized at the property because it makes them feel important and special. A nod of the head could be just the thing for one guest. For another, it could be remembering their name. Recognizing guests is one of those things that is greatly appreciated.

Number 10 – Be Consistent. This is critical if you convince a player to return to your casino. In your mind’s eye, put this word in capital letters and underline it because inconsistency is a killer. People want a consistent experience. Let’s say I come to your property and the valet greets me with a cheerful, “Good evening, Marty, how are you?” I’ll expect the same treatment the next time I visit. You and everyone else on the staff must have consistency in the exceptional service you provide.

Date Posted: 19-Sep-2011

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 208-991-2037. Robinson & Associates is an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.

 
 
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