Over the last few years, I’ve noticed some pretty cool guest-focused policies that casinos have used to improve the customer experience.
These include direct mail coupons that can be put right into the slot machine for redemption (or better yet, downloaded at the machine with a few keypad strokes); hotel check-in that requires no time at a registration desk; table game dealers who have full authority to offer comps to players; express lines at key areas for VIP players; and many, many more.
These policies are great. They are convenient. They show that a casino cares.
But then there are the casino policies and procedures that are still insidious and make me want to pull my hair out every time I experience them. To this day I still wonder at whose convenience were these programs devised, because they surely were not for the customer’s sake.
Below you will find some pervasive examples of poor guest policies from Casino Land:
• Casino employees using guest lines at the cage cashier—casinoemployees have numerous legitimate reasons to have transactions with the casino cage such as to cash out tips, get jackpot payoffs, pick up a cash bank for their cash-handling job, etc. Except… when casino team members are allowed to use the same cashier windows that guests use, it not only clogs guest lines and creates more waiting (and lost revenue), but also sends a very bad message that employees are more important than guests. There is an easy solution to this issue—have a dedicated window for employee transactions at the cage, and if possible, keep it out of view of your casino customers.
• The half-closed restaurant—this policy has been ubiquitous for years and is an attempt to manage employee staffing on soft business days or shifts. That’s not a bad goal, but when this policy results in long guest lines (often caused by aggressive coupon offers) and the guest can see all of those empty tables while they have to stand in line, well, it is clear at whose convenience your restaurant is designed. Fill the empty tables, have some “on-call” servers for such situations, or put some supervisors to work seating guests or waiting on tables.
• “We’re charging your credit card, just in case”—this procedure occurs at casino hotel check-ins where guests posting a credit card are informed that it will be immediately charged a minimum amount (usually $50, $100, or $150) for “potential” incidentals that are billed during the guest’s stay. “Don’t worry, we will credit the charge at checkout, if you don’t use it,” is the typical response given at check-in. Well, I do worry that I will still get charged for something I didn’t use, and it sends a terrible message. I trusted you enough to give you my credit card. How about trusting me enough to not charge me until I actually buy something from you?
• Close-in executive parking—convenient parking is one of the greatest benefits you have for your casino guests, with absolutely no cost attached to it. But when you reserve the best parking spots for senior executives, regulators, board members, or anyone other than your best VIPs, it is clear whose convenience you care about. Plus, your executives could use the exercise—you might even save on healthcare costs.
•The cage/players club combination—combining the casino cashier cage operations with players club operations is a recent, rapidly spreading development. The cost savings are readily apparent, but the guest inconvenience factor is not. Longer lines, fewer relationship-building conversations, waits for lengthy transactions (e.g., waiting for a check cashing transaction when you just want a replacement players club card) and lost loyalty program sales are some of the consequences of such an “efficiency” policy. It may be possible to do it well (Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi’s cage/players club operation is worth looking at), but from my experience, it generally has created more guest inconvenience and more casino convenience.
So, at whose convenience is that new policy you are considering?