CUSTOMER SERVICE: The Dao of Wow
by Steve Browne
March 1, 2010
The elusive “Wow”. It grabs
us, tickles us, amazes us. It, well, it makes us say “Wow!” ... in capital
letters no less. And it is the holy grail of exceptional service.
Many gaming organizations work hard to provide an exceptional service product. They focus on creating an environment that promotes a good and friendly attitude. They install behavioral service standards and then train, measure and coach for them. They focus on service with every procedure, tactic and strategy they employ.
But “Wow”? Well, that is something else altogether.
Some say creating “Wow” in a guest is simply a spontaneous — and magical — moment. Others say it is pure luck, or a circumstance of opportunity and luck coming together. But I say you can create “Wow” as surely as you create, train, measure and coach for specific service behaviors.
Good question and one I intend to answer. But, first, let me cover the ground rules. You see, before you can deliberately and specifically create “Wow” in your guest you must first make sure you have your bases covered. And by that I mean the following:
Your already have an above-average service product.
Your staff is committed to and engaged in service delivery at all levels.
Your culture has established good service as important and great service as really, really cool.
You have training, measurement, coaching and recognition systems in place to ensure that the prior conditions not only exist but continue on a day-to-day basis.
Without these, what I call the basics, you really risk putting the cart before the horse if you try to create a program of sustainable “Wow” delivery to your guests.
OK, so you have them (or at least you are working on it diligently). So how do you create “Wow”? How do you make it happen when so many say it has to just pop up by circumstance and luck?
Consider the following strategies:
Break a Rule — Not the ones that will get everybody fired. No, I am talking about the rules you create for no other reason than to have a rule. So honor an expired coupon. Allow an early check-in. Let a player rub the dice. Whatever. Look at all those silly rules, figure out which ones you can break and start breaking them. Oh, and create some new rules just so you can break those too. (“Ma’am, we have a rule against that, but you are a special customer, and I fully intend to break that rule … just for you.”)
Offer the Free Upgrade — Once again, this can be around your current offerings, or just create some upgrades that you can then offer. (“Sir, I am upgrading you to our special ‘technology’ suite.”)
Sell the Sizzle — We don’t want a product, we want a story. We want a feeling. We want to be special. (“Ma’am, I have just the room for you. It has my favorite view of the mountains, beach, city, etc.”)
Add Something Extra — And if it didn’t used to be extra then take it out of the package and make it extra. (“I am adding this in just for you.”)
Customize — “How would you like it?” You can say this or that or something entirely different. Well? “How would you like it your way?”
Under Promise/Over Deliver — This one is an art but can be easily mastered once you get over the idea of showing off what you can do from the beginning. Offer the basics and then deliver far more. (“I know we said it only comes with six, but I added two more just for you.”)
Offer a Surprise — A drink on the house. A box of chocolates in the room. Don’t tell them you are going to do it … and then do it.
Follow Up — Build follow-up routines that combine with some of the other strategies to create “Wow”. (“Ma’am, I was just calling to ensure your room was satisfactory, and I also sent up some fresh roses for your bedside table.”)
Random Acts of Madness — Practice random acts of madness with your promotions, service delivery, etc. (the surprise gift, the spontaneous drawing, the free upgrade) and watch the faces of your guests as they go, “Wow! I didn’t see that coming.”
All of the Above — OK, this one isn’t new, but as you can see, many of these strategies work well with each other. The real trick to creating “Wow” is to develop a comprehensive, deliberate plan of action around all of these strategies and then put them into action in a measurable and specific way in every area of your operation that touches your guests.
There you have it. You are on your way to creating “Wow”. But if any of the preceding seem like pie-in-the-sky to you, or not feasible (“We just can’t do that.”), or even like a lot of Work, with a capital W, well, then, you (and your organization) are probably just not cut out for creating “Wow”. But don’t worry. Most guests don’t expect it and will be well-satisfied without it.
But if you want true loyalty and guests who will beat down your doors to return, then think about creating some “Wow”. Do it just for them. I guarantee they will thank you for it.
And reward you too. With their dollars. And their loyalty.
Steve Browne is president of Raving Service, based in Reno, Nev. Author of “Gambling and Service” and several casino service and sales training programs, he specializes in customer service, player development and how to sell an entertainment experience that enriches people’s lives. He can be contacted at +1 775 329 7864; or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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