by Martin R. Baird
Customer Service Buddy Is Ideal for Staying on Track
And Being Accountable for Your Service Goals
By Martin R. Baird
Casino employees who strive to improve their customer service will achieve a higher degree of success if they establish service goals, work up a simple plan and simply hold themselves accountable for reaching their goals. One way to be accountable 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 it the customer service buddy system and it's simply partnering with someone to reach your service goals.
Here are four tips on how to implement a customer service buddy system.
Number 1 – You can use a variety of people for your buddy. It could be a close friend, a relative or another employee at your casino.
Number 2 – After you have selected your service buddy, explain your service goals and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Number 3 – Give your buddy important dates and milestones in your service plan so they can contact you and see how you’re progressing.
Number 4 – Offer incentives. For example, take your buddy out for 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 service plan. Doing this could be the first step toward climbing to that new level of service that you have always wanted to reach.
But why go to the bother of doing all this in the first place? My answer to that question is – zero, zip, zilch. That's how often customers will return to a casino with poor service (you wouldn’t have a job without customers). That's also how much value customers place on poor service. But that’s also how much it costs to provide some forms of quality service.
If casino employees want to go head to head with competing properties, they simply must provide outstanding customer service. Everybody suffers if they don't – the property, its employees and customers.
Let's take a closer look at zero, zip, zilch.
Zero. That’s the amount people tip when they get bad service. Why in the world should they give you a tip if they don't get the service they demand and deserve? You can't blame them for that.
Zero is the number of times the guest wants to come back and experience your property's poor service yet again. If your service is lousy, you've failed to give the guest a reason to come back, and your property and your personal livelihood cannot afford that. Competition in the gaming industry is growing by the minute and there isn't a single property that can say it doesn't matter if it has good service. Guests have too many entertainment choices.
Properties with poor guest service make zero profits. They just don't make any money. Perhaps I exaggerate, but it is true that guests vote with their pocketbooks. You need to make sure you're getting their vote with great guest service.
Zilch. Zilch is slang for nothing. That's how much value a guest places on poor service – nothing, nada, zilch. Guests want to be amazed. They want to have a great experience and they want to remember how wonderful it all was. Employees are first in line to meet those demands. Unfortunately, if customers get zilch for service, they'll remember the negative more than the positive.
Zip. That's what it costs to give a guest a smile, say hello and glow with a positive attitude. Those little gems of outstanding customer service cost absolutely nothing and they can pay huge dividends. So instead of giving your guests zip, let them know they are appreciated.
Let's recap. I suggest you set service goals, put them in a brief and simple plan and then team up with a buddy to stay on track. And while you're doing all that, never lose sight of zero, zilch and zip.
This column previously appeared in Casino Connection
Date Posted: 08-Jun-2006
Martin R. Baird is author of "Advocate Index™: An Operational Tool" and chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc., a global customer service consulting firm for the gaming industry. Robinson & Associates helps casinos worldwide 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.advocatedevelopmentsystem.com and www.casinocustomerservice.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Based in Annapolis, Maryland, Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.