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Best of Star Brooks

Gaming Guru

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Winter's Coming

9 November 2002

That’s the warning coming off my television for Thursday, and Friday and now, Saturday and Sunday too... It looks like Lake Tahoe is going to get some pretty good snow. Plans already call for the opening of Heavenly Ski Resort on the 20th... this will insure that, if the weather reports are right.

I want the ear of every gambler... and every corporate executive that reads this. It’s about customer service, and it is about complaints, and how the process can work. I just read an article about customer service, and it had some pretty good stats. For instance, did you know that 68% of customers who do not return to a business do so because they feel they were treated poorly by an employee and that 96% of dissatisfied guests will not tell someone in authority about their poor service? Did you know that they simply will not return? And you know they are going to tell every living and breathing soul they can about their negative experience. Wow! The internet has sure made that easy for the mad, angry, disgruntled souls! It’s now called “Let’s tell Millions!”

I’ve run into so many ticked off people because of one employee. And in general, I often hear that corporate doesn’t care. But you know what? They really do care. I knew it from the get-go, and I still know it... they care, they care, and they care. They just often really do not know what is going on. We have to tell them. I’ll say it again. We have to tell them. Nobody else will. If we expect a better gaming world, we have to be the ones to be the guardians, to a certain extent.

Recently, I got hold of a gripe... A man furious on the East coast, spitting-nails kind of mad... he’d gone to the Belterra in Indiana. And the majority of his night was spent waiting for ludicrously long periods of time for slot fills. And every moment of frustration had worn him out to the point that he was never going back, and he had absolutely nothing good to say about his visit. He was publicly venting, and he was loud.

So, I forwarded his gripe to Wade Hundley, the COO of Pinnacle Entertainment… owners of the Belterra (and also Boomtown Reno). I want the world to know that Wade set a new corporate track record for straightening out the entire matter. It took from a Monday to a Friday... He immediately responded, immediately got in touch with the disgruntled man and took the time to explain that, by Indiana law, any activity with a slot machine (fill, repair, pay-off) requires the presence of a security guard as well as that of the slot attendant, and that they were working on shaving the time on slot fills. He impressed the gambler, who commented on what a great guy this Wade is... the matter has been resolved, slot fill times are way down compared to the gambler’s visit... and I personally wanted to publicly thank Wade for taking care of things so quickly. Last report from Wade was that they had shaved considerable amounts of time Now if the rest of you follow suit, it will be a wonderful world!

I take back that statement about winter coming... I think it got here already... After a night of heavy winds, rain, and more wind... and somebody said that certain altitudes in Tahoe were going to see maybe four feet of snow. Skiers rejoice! But let me tell you about wind... and living in a motor home... We rocked, and we rolled all night long! Wow!

Just a note to remind everybody... the is always changing, and updating. Now you can get the road conditions in both Nevada and California from one simple link. CalTrans has a new page this year for mountain highway information. Get your winter driving conditions here! The links always come in handy for those wanting to drive up to Reno or Lake Tahoe in the winter Don’t leave home until you check those road conditions, and carry chains.

As I say in the weekly newsletter... May every day be a jackpot!