Getting Through to Your Guests

Daniel Wood

How to avoid the dreaded appearance of “telemarketing” or “spam” calls

A good friend of mine recently told me, “I never answer my home phone, since now I’m afraid that it’s just a spam call. And right now, there are probably five new calls on my phone, cleared from last week, and they’re most likely Google wanting to confirm my listing. Don’t even get me started about election time; the calls during elections are relentless. I don’t even check my home phone anymore, because it’s almost always a spam call!”

Do you run into this same attitude with your casino clients? It’s highly unlikely that your Host team ever has anyone complain about their Host calling them! That’s because the Host team likely has a personal relationship with the guest, and the guest welcomes those calls and any offers or special invites that are associated with those calls. According to Pew Research Center, “about three-quarters of U.S. adults (77%) say they own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011,” making the smartphone one of the most quickly adopted consumer technologies in recent history. So my response to my good friend was, “Why the heck do you still have a home phone?” Gone are the days of walking into your kitchen after being away from home for the day and checking your voicemail recordings. Even the most basic cell phone has voicemail capabilities.

What about your non-hosted guests? Chances are, if you have started to call your non-hosted guests, your callers have likely heard comments such as: “Who is this?” “Why are you calling me?” “How do I know that you are calling from my favorite casino?” “This sounds like a spam call!”

Here are four ways that you can avoid the doom and gloom of “telemarketing” or being labeled a spam call:

1. Make the calls personal

Be aware that calls to home phones will often display the caller ID, but most cell phones will not, unless they pay for that service or have downloaded a caller ID app. This can be a challenge when making calls to guests if they do not recognize the number. Make sure that your Players Club terms and conditions protect your property by getting the guest’s permission to call them on their mobile phone.

2. Have a meaningful purpose for the call

Develop a purpose for each call. Create call lists that will have the same message delivered. Make sure that the callers have rehearsed the purpose and are familiar with terminology that is personal and that the guest is familiar with. Make good word choices and don’t refer to your guest as “inactive,” that’s like insulting them or calling them a bad name. Be aware of how you communicate, and avoid telling the guest that “because they haven’t been back in a while, they have lost their VIP status,” etc. Choose key words that will motivate the guest to engage your callers while on the phone.

3. Don’t be afraid to leave a message

If the guest doesn’t answer on the first call, leave them a short message that explains the purpose for the call and leave a number for them to call you back. A short message that can be listened to by your guest can create excitement and a yearning to know what else your property has to offer them. Many times, those guests will call you back in order to get all the details that were not left on your message.

4. Be consistent

Once you start calling your non-VIP guests, it’s important to be consistent in order to build loyalty with each guest. If you’re consistent, your guests will get to the point where they will anticipate the phone call and look forward to the personal engagement with your property. Make sure that you have the processes in place to keep up with any changes that the guests have for their personal information. It’s an easy process to verify and/or update the guest’s contact information while on the call.

In an article published May 17, 2017, “Technology Use Among Seniors,” Pew Research Center indicates that “four in-ten seniors now own smartphones, more than double the share that did so in 2013.” Be aware of what type of phone number your guest is providing you. Is it a home number, cell number or office number? For the longest time, it was believed that you could reference the area code of a telephone number and know where that guest resides. That’s not the case anymore. Cell phone users move out of state, but don’t change their cell phone number because they don’t have to. The number isn’t connected to a landline like it used to be. It’s possible to have a New York cell phone area code and live in California.

Hopefully this article will help you avoid the dreaded appearance of “telemarketing” or “spam” calls from your property. Be personable, have meaning behind the calls you make, leave a message every now and then, and be consistent with your calls. Doing so builds loyalty with your guests, which can increase trip frequency and incremental revenue.

Daniel Wood