What can we do for Browne?
by Dennis Conrad
What can we do for Browne?
Steve Browne has helped many of us open our eyes and realizing just how to build good relationships-for that, he deserves our thanks
Marketing by Dennis Conrad
It's been awhile since I've penned a testimonial. It's not that there aren't any industry giants left to honor with my words, and God knows the pool of "unsung casino heroes" out there is tremendously deep and largely unrecognized.
I guess I've just been remiss. But I aim to rectify that.
Now I know that in choosing to honor this particular person today, I'll be accused of being self-serving, or heaven forbid, even wrong.
I don't care. Even though this person is my friend, my confidante, my partner, my sounding board, my advisor, and too often the brunt of my criticism, he is long past due my praise.
Steve Browne is the customer service associate at Raving Consulting Company. Most people think he and I are partners, or that he works for Raving, but he actually is an independent consultant who has created his own customer service training business under the Raving brand. I couldn't be more proud of that division or more thankful for what Steve brings every day to the success of Raving.
It's hard to describe Steve Browne. He's a Texan who grew up rather well off, was a hippie for a short time at college in Colorado before becoming a ski bum in Lake Tahoe, and like many back then, falling into the gaming industry almost by accident.
Steve's gaming career is one of the more interesting stories in the business. As a fledgling table game junior manager in Lake Tahoe, he met a wealthy banker who wanted to buy a casino. In short order, with no money, no experience and no plan, Steve Browne was the general manager and part owner of a small locals casino in Carson City, Nev. called Cactus Jack's.
After a few years of bumbling and stumbling, Steve led Cactus Jack's to nine years of double-digit growth, with an incredibly simple and powerful strategy of "building meaningful, personal relationships with everyone who walked in the Cactus Jack's door." And then he sold his interest and "retired" from gaming for the first time, to tend to his growing cigar bar business.
Of pride and passion
But enough of Steve's story. Let me share what I know of his soul.
Steve Browne now develops customer service programs and executes service training. He is a motivational speaker who inspires by connecting, by being relevant and by sharing his passion. I have seen him present now in front of several thousand casino employees, from the front line to the executive office, and I continue to be amazed at his impact. He still makes the hairs on my arms stand up when I listen to him.
Steve has no hearing in his right ear and watches his 17 year old daughter, Katie struggle daily with cerebral palsy. Somehow, I think, that has given him patience and perspective.
Steve Browne "grabs you" when you hear him speak or get cornered by him in a too long and too enjoyable conversation. Part of it, I believe, is his Texan B.S. and time-worn jokes, but more than that, Steve cares enough to make sure he connects, that he builds a relationship with you. He is never in a hurry when it comes to people.
Steve has been his own one-man crusade for the past 10 years.
He speaks proudly and often emotionally about our industry as an "entertainment experience that enriches lives." He calls passionately for the recognition of those casino employees who give so much of themselves for our customers. Yes, Steve pioneered Bosses' Night at his casino, where the bosses would pull a shift in a front line position, to the delight of employees and customers alike.
I love Steve Browne and consider him a great, true friend. Interestingly, he both inspires me and frustrates me, probably because I'm always in a hurry and I don't have his patience or relationship building skills.
What I have learned from Steve is how our casino business is truly about people. Yes we have games and lights and restaurants and hotels and spas ("all of that stuff," as Steve would say), but at the end of the day, what we sell is a connection between people.
And while we think sometimes that our business is our slots and our rooms and our tables ('cause sure as hell, we can count revenue there), it really is about Joe the valet parker and Javier the dealer and Flo the cage cashier. And whether he learned it or just always knew it, Steve Browne has been bringing the passion of his people message to our industry now for decades.
And whether you know Steve Browne or not, whether you care about his message or not, I'm hoping you can join me in thanking him-for making our casino lives a little brighter, our business mission a little clearer, and our understanding and appreciation of people a little deeper.
And that's what Browne can do for you, or at least did for me.
Dennis Conrad is the president and chief strategist of Raving Consulting Company, a full service marketing company specializing in assisting gaming organizations. He can be reached at (775) 329-7864 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Raving's Web site at www.ravingconsulting.com.