‘Circles of Customer Service Hell’ Impact Casinos’ Overall Gaming Experience but There Are Ways to Avoid Them

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Robinson & Associates applies three of nine “circles of customer service hell” to casinos and wraps it up with solutions to these problems.

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Casinos’ gaming experience suffers from ‘circles of customer service hell’

Robinson & Associates, Inc., today announced how three “circles of customer service hell” relate to casinos and how gaming properties can overcome them.

The circles – three of nine identified by Jay Steinfeld in an Inc. magazine column – are the Disappearing Clerk, the Agent Who Doesn’t Understand Your Question and I’m Sorry but I Don’t Have the Authority to Do That. Steinfeld is founder and chief executive officer of Blinds.com, an online source of window coverings.

“Steinfeld’s article focused on retailers and other traditional businesses that have customers walking through the door and calling on the phone to buy products and services,” says Martin R. Baird, chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, a guest service consulting firm to the global gaming industry. “But there were lessons for casino management as well.”

The Disappearing Clerk. “Let’s revise that to say the disappearing casino employee,” Baird says. “How frustrating can it be for a casino guest who’s expecting help from an employee only to discover that that person has vanished? The same goes for a guest who’s trying to get the attention of an employee and that staff member simply wanders off and is never seen again.”

The disappearing employee goes to the heart of two problems – not caring and not paying attention, according to Baird, who emphasizes that casino employees must understand that guests are the most important people at the property and show that they care about them by helping guests any way they can.

The Agent Doesn’t Understand Your Question. This applies to the casino employee who doesn’t understand what the guest is saying, Baird explains. “The root of this problem is one simple thing – not listening,” Baird says. “Any casino employee who has worked the floor for a decent length of time has heard it all and it’s easy for him to assume he knows what the guest is saying and that he has the answer. Each guest is an individual with unique needs. That’s why employees must listen closely when guests speak. This also ties in with showing you care.”

I’m Sorry, but I Don’t Have the Authority to Do That. “I have no tolerance for this problem and neither does the typical casino guest,” Baird says. “Employees must never, ever say that what guests want is outside their responsibilities. It may, in fact, not be the employees’ job to fulfill the request, but employees are there to help, not hinder. Employees must have an ‘I can do that’ attitude at all times. That is precisely what guests want to hear. Just say you will take care of the request and then find help if you need it. Guests don’t care how things happen; they just want their needs fulfilled.”

Steinfeld didn’t just outline the circles of customer service hell and leave it at that. He also offered solutions and three of them caught Baird’s attention.

Staff Up With the Right People. This is an area of critical importance to casinos, Baird says. “From a bottom line point of view, it’s extremely costly to hire people, fire them when they don’t work out and hire replacements,” Baird says. “From a customer service aspect, you simply can’t expect people to be good at providing service if they are going to be lousy employees to start with.

“Casinos must go beyond hiring warm bodies for the casino floor meat grinder. They must go the extra mile and make a concerted effort to hire the right people for the right jobs. This takes extra effort but it’s worth it in the long run. I’m a huge fan of personality assessments. These assessments can help casinos understand each job applicant’s strengths and weaknesses and form a picture of how that person will behave on the job.”

Train Them Well – and Keep It Up. Even if casinos hire the best people possible, those employees will still need customer service training, Baird notes. “Few people are naturals at providing service,” Baird says. “The good news is that it can be learned. I strongly recommend that casinos hire trainers who bring the following characteristics to the table – they understand the casino business, they teach rather than lecture, they break up learning into bites, they teach through extensive audience participation and they make the whole process fun, fun, fun.”

Check Your Policies. “In the case of casinos, I’m talking about standards,” Baird says. “Many casinos talk big about providing excellent customer service, but they lack the one thing that gives them a firm foundation – written customer service standards. How can employees possibly provide great service if they don’t know what is expected of them? There is a lot involved in creating a customer service culture at a casino, but it all starts with deciding what the service standards should be.”

About Robinson & Associates

For nearly 20 years, Robinson & Associates, Inc., has been dedicated to helping casinos improve their guest service so they can compete and generate future growth and profitability. A Boise, Idaho-based consulting firm to the global gaming industry, Robinson & Associates is the world leader in casino guest experience measurement and improvement. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.casinocustomerservice.com or contact Lydia Baird, director of business development, at 208-991-2037 or lbaird(at)raresults(dot)com. Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.


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