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11 October 2014
By Martin R Baird
For us, the buzz word of the year is “culture.” Every gaming property we meet with doesn’t want a “program.” It wants to create a casino customer service culture. We could be talking with management about a custom casino "Train the Trainer" session or a comprehensive program that includes everything from casino mystery shopping to casino customer service training and the discussion always turns to culture.
I know people are tired of “spray-and-pray” programs where all the casino employees attend training and management prays that it takes hold and customer service improves. I always say that casino customer service training isn’t like weed killer. Just because team members were touched by the training doesn’t mean it will radically change them.
Creating a culture of service excellence requires so much more than just training!
Here’s a great place to start. Casinos should identify their three guiding service principles. To develop a culture, you need to have guiding principles that all team members understand and use when making decisions. But don’t go crazy about the phrase “guiding principles.” t could just as effectively be called “values” or “purpose.” The term is not as important as how clearly it’s articulated. Yes, it needs to be clearly and consistently communicated at all levels by each and every department in the casino.
Here are two common mistakes we see when it comes to creating a casino customer service culture.
Talk Is Cheap
First, key decision makers frequently talk about service and creating a culture. They talk and talk and talk. But talk is cheap. Casino associates don’t believe what you say. They believe what you do.
Think about it this way. If EBITDA and head count are the topics the executive team invests the most time and attention to in meetings, then what are the casino’s guiding principles? Guiding principles are the alpha and the omega of all decisions at the casino. So if you want to create a service culture, you need to make sure service values are at the forefront of meetings and decisions.
Culture Is Not Systemic
The second mistake we see all too often is that service culture is not systemic. We see that service culture is for some departments or some people, but not all. I hate to break it to you, but guests don’t read the fine print on a badge to see if the employee they are talking to is from the “right” department. To a guest, an employee badge means that the team member’s number-one job is to help them. Guests don’t care if they’re asking a beverage server about black jack limits or an EVS team member what time the buffet opens. If the employee wears a badge, he must be part of the service culture.
If a casino has a goal of creating a culture of customer service excellence, that is great. This is a goal that can be achieved and the benefits of creating the culture will have a long-term positive impact on the property.
The key point to remember is that creating a culture is an investment in your people. It’s an investment of time and money to reach your goal. It also takes strong leadership with the ability to stay the course when it would be easier or more popular to do what is fun or cool.
When you are ready to commit to a culture of service excellence, please give us a call so we can help you do it successfully. Please note that I said,“Yu do it.” We help, but it ultimately comes down to you and your team.
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 email@example.com.
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Martin R Baird