AKA avoid the GM tsunami
She knew the diagnosis.
Every day the respected GM of the medium-sized casino resort went to work understanding that she had the condition. Despite that knowledge, she shouldered on, hoping for the best.
Each day was a marathon sprint of meetings, phone calls, and commitments.
(A random Tuesday) …
- an influential Tribal Council member called …
- reviewed quarterly budget numbers with the CFO …
- team member of the month lunch…
- meeting with Surveillance…
- phone calls …
- coordinate off-site team meeting …
- phone call from school, her daughter was running a low fever …
- her husband can pick up her daughter …
- prepare for a presentation with a downtown community group …
It’s 6 o’clock. Oops. Forgot to talk to guests again. Another day without guest contact.
Another day with “Communication Breakdown.” A condition resulting from not communicating with your guests.
No GM, company President, Vice President of Marketing or Marketing Director ever hired on to a job with the intention of not communicating with guests. Yet, every day, despite best efforts, the drumbeat of the job hits like a sumo wrestler and your calendar rolls like a tsunami.
“Communication Breakdown” develops and builds.
Before you realize it, you’ve contracted the condition. You instinctively know that guests are your life blood; yet you can’t run the business without running the business. You can’t run a company or a department without constant guest communication, or, you shouldn’t!
So, what does a time-strapped casino exec with “Communication Breakdown” do?
Like other chronic conditions, you can never beat it. You can only control the symptoms.
As a company President with a tsunami schedule, I developed techniques. Here are
five “Communication Breakdown” fighting ideas:
1. The Calendar. Friend or Frenemy?
- Your calendar, the leading cause of “Communication Breakdown,” can also be a cure.
- If you are overwhelmed, plan time each work week to talk to your guests. Plan a daily casino floor walk or walk through your lounges and restaurants.
- Stick to the plan. Try not to be diverted.
- By filling in your calendar with dedicated time for purposeful guest interactions, you help keep “Communication Breakdown” at bay.
2. The GM Is In.
- This concept came from reading a past Raving post, with a nod to Peanuts’ Lucy and her “The Doctor Is In” booth. Thanks to the original creator of the “GM Is In” idea. And thank you, Lucy!
- I posted signs with my photo around the property stating, “The GM Is In” and “Tell Tom What You Think” during specific timeframes. I sat at a table convenient to guests and talked to guests who approached. Some very interesting, important, and ground-breaking suggestions came from guests who sat down and talked.
- Guests are never shy about suggestions.
- Talking to known guests is the best part of the job. Guests you don’t know will introduce themselves when they see the “GM Is In” sign and almost always add comments about the property.
3. Lock Your Door and Get on The Floor.
- Make it a rule to shut down your office on weekend nights or high capacity days. It takes discipline to tear yourself away from financials, slot analysis, food and beverage cost of goods, and database reports.
- The real knowledge you need is walking and talking around your property.
- Be present. Be visible. Be in touch.
- I made it my business to be present and involved on weekends when most guests were enjoying the property or events.
- And I kept my office empty.
4. Player Development Event Presence.
- Your property works hard to insure top tier guests have reasons to revisit.
- Sit at several tables during large event dinners and talk to players. Make a small speech before the big drawing. Pass out merchandise. Engage and involve yourself with guests at events.
- The best time to talk to your best players is when they experience a well-run event or promotion.
5. Town Halls or Advisory Panels.
- Do yourself a favor. If you are not currently holding monthly dinners with players from a variety of tiers, start a program. It’s not complicated and not expensive. A monthly dinner with a small group of players will give you insight into your property straight from the front lines.
- Arrange a few discussion topics to keep the group talking. Do not mix tiers. Rotate guest participants with new players to keep it fresh. If done correctly, the result amounts to a rolling focus group.
- Use the guest advisory panels to test new promotions, programs or ideas. Panels can also review capital programs to provide input that might save expenses down the road.
- Planning, Planning, and More Planning
The prescription to end “Communication Breakdown” is centered around one word. PLANNING.
The creeping symptoms of feeling out of touch or disconnected from your guests can be treated by incorporating the five techniques mentioned above into your daily calendar. Approach the condition by making guest contact a priority. Back up that priority with commitment and resolve. Try not to let the tsunami take over. Put your focus on guest interactions.
The Small Print
Tom Osiecki is not a doctor. He does not play one on TV. The opinions expressed result from Tom’s experience battling “Communication Breakdown” and seeking creative ways to find the cure.