In last month’s marketing column, I shared some thoughts on loyalty programs and suggested that building true player loyalty was much more a function of your people and your way of doing business than it was of your players club.
I realize that opens me up to some misunderstanding. So, to clarify, I do believe that having a GREAT casino players club is critically important to the success of your casino operation and your casino marketing efforts.
But also I believe that if your players club is lousy, mediocre or even pretty good, then you are really not accomplishing very much for your casino or your casino customers.
With that in mind, I would like to now share with you what I believe to be Essential Elements of Great Players Clubs. Use it as a checklist if you’d like and remember that even if your current players club doesn’t quite measure up to my lofty notions of greatness, at least you may have something to point toward.
Essential Elements of Great Players Clubs
- Your players club employees have to be some of your best employees, NOT paid minimum wage, have a clear player development career path and given the ability to solve guest problems and requests. They must know everything about your casino property and be trained as salespersons for the club and its benefits.
- Your players club benefits have to be meaningful to your members (ideally driven by what they most want) and not be seen as cheap.
- You must have enough work stations at your players club booth (as well as enough scheduled employees) to handle the flow of transactions.
- Your players club booth must have a central location and not cause a major inconvenience in order to visit it.
- You should always be able to find a host at your players club.
- Your players club work stations should be ergonomically correct for your employees and not cause unnecessary eye strain or awkward muscle movements. Chairs should be comfortable and at the right height.
- Technology should be user friendly for both your employees and guests who use your players club processes, and never be confusing, tedious or too coldly mechanical.
- If your players club uses tiers, the communication to those customers moving up and down those tiers (Platinum to Diamond, Silver to Gold, etc.) needs to be timely, honest, motivating and tactful.
- Your players club should never be the repository for all guest transactions that other departments don’t want to do (show ticket sales, guest paging, coat check, etc.).
- Your players club transactions with new club members should be among the best interactions you can muster, and the initial marketing offers to get these new members to come back should be timely, have value and be warmly personal (perhaps even a personal invitation from a real players club employee!).
- Your casino operations departments should be knowledgeable about your players club, assist in selling it, and be comfortable and positive in interacting with it.
- Your players club should have a name for it that motivates and fits with your brand, and not pay homage to what an ad agency thinks is “cute.”
- Your players club collateral should be consistent, easy to read and understand, have all pertinent information, and be able to excite your players about its benefits. It should never be written in “legal-ese.”
- Your best customers should never have to wait in line at your players club booth(s).
- There should never be any “secrets” as to what benefits your players club members have earned. If you want to issue “discretionary comps” to your best players, fine, but don’t put those benefits into a secret account that everyone eventually finds out about anyway.
- Don’t let your CFO set the policies for your players club redemptions (because he or she is nervous about “accrued point liabilities”).
- Never let your members’ players club benefits and point balances expire, without first sending a warm, enticing letter letting them know of the impending expiration.
- When “expired” members do show back up at your players club, fall all over them and reinstate their benefits and point balances anyway. Now, that’s a loyalty-producing gesture!
- Make it easy for spouses, friends or even unaffiliated persons to share players club accounts (with appropriate customer approvals of course). What do you care if real customers want to accrue benefits together???
- Make it easy to replace lost players club cards.
- Be able to honestly say to yourself, “We have a great players club.” Better yet, make sure your best customers say that.