Customer Service: What’s Your Adjective?

Customer service is the lifeblood of your business—how many times have you heard, or even used, this statement during the course of your career? While we all give lip service to the sentiment, how often do you actually stop and reflect on the meaning of this powerful statement?

The words “customer service” mean nothing without an adjective to accompany them (think good, bad, better or worst). The question you should ask yourself is which adjective truly reflects your day-to-day customer service operations?

To figure this out, you need to take a tour of your property from your customers’ perspective. It’s difficult, but you must commit to an honest evaluation without bias. To fully understand the service standards you provide, you must walk in your customers’ shoes. This means arriving through a public entrance, following signage to get to your destination and retrieving your car from valet or the parking garage.

This almost certainly means you need to change your appearance so employees don’t treat you with a deference that is not usually reserved for your customers. If you find that you can tour the facility in anonymity without changing your appearance, you are too removed from your employees and the problems and opportunities they face on a daily basis.

Regardless of the number of managers you employ, first-hand observation is a key component to ensuring quality. With this in mind, we are going to offer a few suggestions to kick-start your tour. You will undoubtedly be able to refine and add your own items to this basic checklist:

Determine First Impressions
When you enter the facility, what is your first impression? How was parking or valet? Was it difficult to get to the casino floor? Are the areas warm and inviting? Are the employees happy to see you, or are they wrapped up in their own conversations or conflicts? When you open the door, are there fingerprints all over the glass or is it clean and shiny? Your guests’ first impressions upon entering your facility are most often the same impressions they will have as they drive away.

Visit the Nearest Restroom
Before you do or see anything else, visit the nearest restroom. Is it clean and serviceable, or does it remind you of a rest stop bathroom off the interstate? If it’s the latter, grit your teeth, make a note and move on. If you bring attention to it immediately, your staff will definitely be alerted of your presence, and you will not be able to make additional candid discoveries. Sadly, if the restroom facilities are in a state of disrepair, this will likely not be the most egregious service shortfall you will discover while on your undercover adventure.

Imagine that you have invited important guests into your home for the evening. What preparations would you make prior to their arrival? Would you clean, or at least pick up, the place before they arrived? If they inquired what you were serving for dinner, would you have the correct answer for them? Of course you would.

Talk to Employees
Find several employees and ask them the following questions:

1. Where’s the closest restroom?
2. What’s your current promotion?
3. What’s the steakhouse’s special today?
4. Do you have Wolf Run, and where can I find it?

The responses you receive when asking these simple questions will be indicative of the service provided throughout your facility.

Evaluate How Employees Respond
It’s also worth noting the body language of the team member you approached for assistance. Did they take the opportunity to learn your name, answer your question with a smile, check for satisfaction and thank you for your patronage? Creating goodwill with customers is the key to ensuring they come back.

Observing the behavior of your team and how they interact with your guests while providing service is fundamental to recognizing opportunities to improve your standards. Compare the way you were treated when asking for assistance to how the interaction you are observing is handled. Is the interaction you’re observing consistent to the service you received?

Determine Actual Service Times
Another element to improving your standards is determining your customers’ average wait times in each service area. Rapid response to clientele’s needs is critical to both first impressions with new customers and keeping the loyal base you currently have. Sit down at one of your machines and hit the service light; using a stopwatch, time how long it takes until someone notices and asks you what you need help with.

You’re likely asking your employees to do more with less, but there are solutions that can help route your employees to outages on their own. These solutions allow your staff to spend more face time with the patrons that pay the bills. It’s important to remember that many customers visit your casino to see your staff members just as much as any other reason.

Evaluate Overall Cleanliness and Comfort
While walking the floor, rate the cleanliness and comfort of your surroundings. As a customer, you want to play and eat in a clean and comfortable environment. Take a good long look around; is the carpet clean and free of high traffic wear and tear? Are the walls pristine or grubby and scuffed up? Are the slot machines and stands free of beverage clutter and used ashtrays?

If the machine or table you sit at is dirty or covered in ash, it’s safe to assume that another player will not sit there until the area is cleaned up. Ensuring you have sufficient staffing to keep service areas neat and tidy is critical to the bottom line. While the importance of this need is obvious in your restaurants, the point is seemingly lost on some of your other departments.

Appraise Your Signage
Pretend that it’s your first time in your facility. Does the signage posted around the casino direct you easily to each of the areas a guest may need to go, such as restrooms, food outlets, cage, table games, poker room, parking garage, elevators and hotel towers? For a guest there is nothing worse than aimlessly wandering in circles until you stumble upon a sign that points you in the right direction. We have been in many casinos where the name or location of a restaurant has changed, but they neglected to update their signage. An oversight of this nature is not only confusing, but it’s also embarrassing and leads your customers to wonder what else is wrong on your floor.

Evaluate Your Promotional Materials
Now look at the promotional materials displayed throughout the casino; are they up to date, and do they deliver a clear message? Are you engaging the customer or just posting promotional information? It’s important for your marketing staff to keep in mind the target audience for each promotion and ensure that the promotional materials are appealing to that demographic.

Great customer service is the true differentiator in the gaming industry. If you provide a clean, comfortable and friendly environment for your patrons to relax and have fun, you possess the fundamental keys to increasing the profitability of your floor. Happy customers return for additional visits and often bring friends!

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