Secret Formula

Most of us have some sort of hobby, some ways we fill leisure hours and spend our recreation dollars. Some play golf, garden or go to movies.  My hobbies are travel and blackjack.  Most of my recreation dollars are  spent on activities while I’m traveling or related to getting somewhere.  But some of my recreation dollars are spent at the blackjack table in various casinos, mostly around the Pacific Northwest.

The “Secret Formula” is not my winning strategy for blackjack.  It’s what I have observed as the differences between casinos and what all business people can learn from these observations.

Some houses seem to employ a “shut up and deal” policy with their dealers.  I don’t know if it is expressed as such by management, if it’s the result of minimal English language skills by the staff or just the end result of shared rather than individual tips but MANY of the casinos – especially the tribal casinos – seem to operate this way.  It does not make for a pleasant customer experience – it makes losing sting more and winning not as much fun.  That is why I prefer to play at non-tribal card rooms.

What about your business?  Do you encourage staff members to engage customers in chit chat?  Do you remind them that people do business with people they know and like so get to know the customer, form a relationship even if it’s over the phone or only for the brief time they are at your place of business?

I’ve played at one house that touts “friendly dealers” when in fact they are sullen, surly or sarcastic – none of which falls under “friendly” in my book.  What about YOUR staff, do you THINK they are friendly or do you KNOW? Do you use a mystery shopping service to be sure the customer experience you seek is the one customers receive?   Some of the busiest casinos  hire mystery shoppers for their locations as well as some of their competitors – genius!

There is one street here locally with 4 – count ’em – 4 privately owned casinos next door and/or across the street from one another.  All within eye sight of the others.  All offering the same assortment of table games with minor variations.  Yet one, the Great American, I have to circle the parking lot and often park in the farthest corner just to get a spot while the other 3 I could park right next to the doors.  No, the parking lot is not that much smaller – they are just that much busier.

Do you visit your competitors to see how busy they are throughout the day?  Drive by, check out the parking lot or even walk in and do it several times  a day – different days of the week.  If you find they are consistently busy when you are not – time to start analyzing what they are doing that you are not.

What does the Great American offer?  When I play there, I feel as though I’m playing in a rerun of “Cheers”.  From the moment you walk in, you are greeted warmly by security, wait staff, dealers and management.  Even dealers with full tables will make eye contact, nod, smile or make some welcoming gesture.  Repeat guests are quickly known by and greeted by name.  Wait staff remembers what you drink even if it’s a soft drink or other free beverage.  Dealers keep their own tips but are also clearly encouraged by managers to engage the customers.  What sort of motivation program do you have in place for your team?

If you compete for a customer’s recreation dollars – you need to make the experience FUN and the secret formula to FUN and to your SUCCESS is in the hands of your team.  Find out what your competitors are doing, what your customer wants and motivate your team to deliver it – that’s the Secret Formula!


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