by Steve Karoul
Staying in touch with your players.
"Out of sight, out of mind". I'm sure most of us are familiar with this
expression. If you are not, you should be. You can also use it as a simple
tool to remind yourself that if you are not keeping in personal contact
with your players, you're competition probably is. One common trait that
I find in the area of casino marketing is that the longer a marketing
executive remains in the industry, the larger his customer base of players
becomes. It is easy to keep track of the "whales" or the premium VIP type
players. However, many other "good" players often fall through the cracks
and just "disappear". This is not magic, it is negligence. In today's
age of computers and sophisticated computer programs, keeping track of
your players and keeping in touch was never easier.
If you don't know how to use a personal computer, take the time and teach
yourself. There are numerous courses available geared for the beginner.
If you really think you can't learn or just don't have the time, make
sure you hire the best possible executive secretary that is computer literate.
Hopefully she has also taken a course in data management such as Microsoft
Access or Lotus Approach. These are two of the more common flexible, easy
to use, database management programs that give you the flexibility of
creating your own custom tailored database and query system. I am still
surprised at the large number of casino marketing executives that still
use a manual customer contact system versus a computerized system. Never-the-less,
they have a formal system whether it be a simple sales tickler card file
system or a full blown high-tech computerized database management / customer
contact system. The problem arises when the casino-marketing executive
tries to rely on personality and memory rather than an organized follow-up
program. I can guarantee you that this type of casino marketing executive
will magically have many of his players mysteriously disappear over time.
For those of you reading this article that have management responsibility
for a casino marketing department, I urge you to sit down with each of
your marketing executives and conduct a detailed analysis of exactly how
they conduct their day to day sales efforts. I recently went through this
exercise with one senior management casino executive and he was shocked.
Don't expect your sales people to have formal training in this area. However,
it is your responsibility to support your good casino-marketing executives
with the proper tools and support staff to help keep them better organized.
By doing this, I can almost guarantee that you will see their productivity
improve and their business volumes increase. This translates into more
table game drop per month per casino marketing executive. If your hold
percentage remains constant, your bottom line net profit will improve.
When you realistically look at the small incremental additional cost involved
in properly supporting your casino-marketing executives you will wonder
why you didn't do it earlier. The problem is usually the accountants who
analyze operating budgets and numbers of full time employees, etc. Don't
accept this as an excuse, it is your responsibility to convince them of
the cost / benefits ratio of proper database management / customer contact
programs. Make a deal. Get them to try your ideas for six months. If you
use these new customer contact programs with your player database, I am
sure that you will be more than able to justify any additional departmental
I also realize that many of the larger casinos have large professional
Management Information Systems (MIS) departments with numerous computer
programers that will produce mountains of formal looking computer printouts.
However, from my experience, unless you get the end user, the casino marketing
executive, to personally take some responsibility for maintaining his
or her own personal customer contact program or sales tickler file system,
the benefits of such are never maximized. Therefore, if you are lucky
enough to have a good MIS Department, use them as a support service rather
than a means to an end. Use them to help condense, organize and simplify
the tasks but still require the casino marketing executive to create and
manage his or her own daily "follow up" customer contact system. Once
again, the benefits and the results will be measurable.
Take a trip your local computer software store and take a look at the
new customer contact programs available. There are many goods one on the
market today. Choose one that you feel comfortable with, install it on
your or your secretary's PC and begin using it. You'll be surprised at
how many of your players no longer magically or mysteriously "disappear".
Date Posted: 04-Jan-1999
STEVE KAROUL is a recognized authority and consultant in the area of international casino marketing as well as an Associate Editor for CASINO WORLD MAGAZINE. Steve covers the Asian markets for CASINO WORLD MAGAZINE in the areas of Travel, Leisure and Gaming.
Steve Karoul may now be contacted in the Philippines at Tel. (63-47) 252-1342, Fax 252-1343 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.