No matter if it’s an airline, bank or delivery service, businesses across the United States are successfully interacting with their clientele through the use of short message services or SMS texting. The use of this communications standard has changed the way businesses operate, allowing them to stay in constant contact with their clients while providing immediate responses to their wants and needs.
With this in mind, what is your property’s preferred means of communications when it comes to reaching out to your customers? Let’s take a look at four common methods used in most casinos today:
Mass Email Blast
Email blasts have a historically low open rate, meaning many of your most important messages end up in your customers’ spam files. When it comes to your business, it’s hard to leave your bottom line to such uncertainties.
Open rate is the number of people (in percentage form) who opened and looked at the email. It is often considered to be the most important performance metrics of email marketing, as it is a significant indicator of how much your audience cared about your email and how many people looked at it.
For an opt-in house list, your average email open rate should be approximately 20 percent. This means the promotional information you spend so much time and effort producing will reach only one out of five of your intended audience.
The limited number of customers who can or will further respond to your offer will dictate the success or failure of your campaign. While this form of campaign can be effective in larger properties with vast player bases, its effectiveness is limited to size of the player database.
Promotional and Monthly Mailers
Mailers are costly to produce and difficult to get into your customers’ hands. The success rate of direct mail aside, let’s focus on the delivery of that mail. Using information provided by the U. S. Census Bureau, we found 14 percent of the U.S. population moves annually. While the vast majorities of these people file a change of address and have their mail automatically forwarded, this service ceases after one year. Unless the customer has specifically updated his or her address with your business, that customer is not receiving those offers. If we could better manage this portion alone, it has the potential to drastically increase your offer acceptance!
Home Phone Calls
Home phones become more and more irrelevant with each passing day. Your customers are mobile, which means attempting to contact them at home is a tough way to do business. Caller ID and the cable company’s ability to display those numbers on the television have further eroded your ability to get someone to respond to a telephone offer.
Player’s Account Flag
Attaching offers to a patron’s account is an effective means to both communicate with and reward regular customers, but it is completely ineffective for the customer who doesn’t come back in. If your offers are attached to players’ accounts, but the primary method to reach the client is passive, rather than active, you are wasting time and effort.
While each of these methods are marginally effective, we use them because they are the best tools of our time. However, today we can make them far more effective with a simple follow up text to your customers’ cell phones.
Just Text Me, O.K.?
With all the options through mobile marketing, why choose text? Approximately 80 percent of American adults own cell phones. While multimedia messaging is compelling, not all mobile devices have the ability to accept and display these types of messages. On the other hand, virtually all mobile phones have the ability to text and nearly three quarters of all cell users send and receive text messages.
Text messaging allows both privacy and accessibility that is not available with other mediums. The delivered text is available to only the person receiving it, yet can be pulled up again if the message needs to be referred to. The transfer of information is performed nonverbally so it is far less likely to be intercepted by people passing by. Text also offers a degree of courtesy to those around the person receiving the message, as it is not necessary to verbally respond.
Additionally, text messaging provides greater accessibility, not just for people with hearing impairments, but also to compensate for ambient noise, weak or spotty cell network connections or the poor quality of microphones and speakers that plague many cell phones.
There is also far less psychological or social pressure to respond immediately to texts. This allows your patrons to finish their task at hand, such as parking their car or finishing their dinner, to consider their response to a text message.
With all that said, you might still be skeptical. It is just text after all. Where is the excitement in that? Well, imagine if casinos could link a player’s cell phone number to his or her player’s club account and begin interacting via text messages, a form of communication rarely used between businesses and customers but commonly used in personal lives across the globe. There would be many new ways we could develop our relationship with them, like some of these:
Alerting your customers via text message about impending offers allows them to be on the lookout for an email or direct mail piece and update their addresses if they do not receive the offer. It gives them a heads-up on their available offers and allows them to schedule their next visit based on them. It also provides your property an additional opportunity to reach out to the customer to let them know their offers are about to expire, thus getting credit for looking out for their best interests.
Just as important, it allows your customers the ability to communicate their wish to opt out of future offers, which can make culling your mailing lists far easier. While none of us likes the idea of losing players, there is absolutely no reason to extend marketing offers and spend postage on customers who will not respond.
Players can even let the casino know that they have arrived via a text message. The device’s GPS also has the ability to inform a host when specific players are on the property or near the facility, helping to anticipate needs.
Next month, we will give you specific examples on how text messaging at work can supplement your notifications and enhance almost any service you currently offer in your facility.
While we have great marketing and customer service tools at our disposal, we are very limited in our ability to effectively communicate with both our customers and our staff. The opportunity to reach out through text has never been more favorable; our older players are becoming more technically savvy, and our younger players readily accept this tool as a part of their everyday experience.
As competition increases and the number of active players diminish as they age out, it becomes even more important to use communication tools that are both readily available and widely used.