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Casino Customer Service, Referrals Boost Business

28 June 2014

By Martin R Baird
There’s a movement afoot to make immunizations as routine a part of health care for adults as it has long been for children. Apparently adults don’t think about inoculations as much as they should. Casinos need a booster shot of something they don’t often consider – referrals.

That’s right, referrals. For the sake of their own health, casinos need new business now more than ever. Referrals can give them precisely that.

According to Wikipedia, approximately 80 percent of companies obtain 70 percent of their business through “word of mouth from satisfied customers and contacts. Word of mouth is generally spontaneous and is achieved by businesses without any form of structured strategy.” Referrals are a gold mine for any commercial enterprise. They are a source of new money, and the business doesn’t need to do anything because customers make referrals without being asked. Why wouldn’t casinos want referrals and the benefits they bring? There’s no reason casinos shouldn’t have referrals just like a restaurant or a hardware store.

So if a casino’s revenue is looking anemic these days, if foot traffic is noticeably sluggish on the floor, employees should give their property a shot in the arm by looking at their guests in a different way. Those players at table games and slots are more than a source if income. They are a potential source of new revenue streams.

How do businesses generate referrals? By giving customers what they want. At casinos, that means giving guests an outstanding gaming experience and making sure they’re having fun. Those who patronize casinos don’t have to win every time in order to enjoy themselves. They don’t have to walk out with fatter wallets in order to consider their time and money well spent. If they had a great time, if they had fun at the machines and tables, they probably will come back (repeat business) and they are more likely to tell friends they should go to XYZ Casino and play (a referral that may generate new business).

But don’t stop there. Guests don’t have to win at all to have a good time. Make sure guests enjoy their meal at the buffet. Make sure they enjoy the golf course. Make sure they receive nothing less than impeccable service at the resort. Make sure they have a whopping good time at the shows. Every guest should be treated like a king or queen, but employees absolutely must be sure to give repeat guests extra-special attention. Think of the word “win” from a different perspective. It’s not about how often guests win, it’s about winning guests over, winning their respect and admiration. The gaming experience is a package deal, folks, and employees help deliver the goods.

Some people equate referral generation with salesmanship and there are few people who like sales. Instead, think of it as a referral mindset. Interact with every guest as if the sole purpose of that contact is to generate a referral. The employee who does this is not a sales person, he is a service person.

The gaming industry’s era of “build it and they will come” is over for the time being. Now it is up to casino employees to give existing guests a reason to give their favorite casino a referral. Employees need to show a little entrepreneurial spirit and think of the casino as their own company. If they owned the casino and its success depended entirely on how well they took care of their customers, every customer would get red-carpet treatment.

If employees owned the casino, they likely would understand that it is far easier to get new and ongoing business from referred customers than it is from customers generated by marketing. They probably would know that referrals help keep marketing expenditures under control. Employees likely would understand that referrals create a self-perpetuating cycle in which referred customers become satisfied customers who make their own referrals. They also would know that not every guest will be a patron for life but that referrals keep the pipeline open.

Employees don’t own their casinos, of course. But if they help management run the property like other businesses and create referrals, then foot traffic should pick up, tips should increase, revenue should improve and everyone will be better off. All it takes is a little shot in the arm.

Martin R. Baird is chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm to the global gaming industry.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at


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Martin R Baird
Martin R. Baird is chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc., a Boise, Idaho-based consulting firm to the global gaming industry that is dedicated to helping casinos improve their guest service so they can compete and generate future growth and profitability. Robinson & Associates is the world leader in casino guest experience measurement, management and improvement.

For more information, visit the company’s Web sites listed below or contact the company at 208-991-2037. Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.

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