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Are Guest Comment Cards Worth the Effort?

guest satisfaction survey

Many casinos rely on guest comment cards for getting customers to tell them what’s on their minds. The cards are usually available at the players club, food venues or other locations where they can be filled out, put in a box and reviewed by management.

There are a few ways to improve comment cards, but not all issues can be solved by using comment cards alone. One of the top benefits of using comment cards is that they provide useful information and insights into problem areas. The downside of comment cards is that only one to two percent of guests take the time to fill out the card, so they’re not reflecting the majority of guests’ opinions. In fact, virtually all people who fill out comment cards have either had a really bad experience or a really good one, so all you’re seeing are the extremes.

If you’re currently using guest comment cards or considering them, then keep the following in mind:

1. Comment Cards Don’t Fix the Problem for This Customer

While comment cards allow you to identify and fix problems, it’s too late for the guests who had such a lousy experience that they’re compelled to write about it in a comment card. The bad impressions that these guests experience are taken home with them and probably shared with several other people. In short, comment cards fix the future, not the present.

The best you can do to salvage a bad situation is to respond quickly and professionally. You can’t redo the bad experience, but you can keep it from multiplying.

2. They Are Often Out of Sight

If your comment cards aren’t easy to find, then don’t expect guests to look for them. Out of sight, out of mind means that the customer will leave, taking their opinions with them to write about on Yelp or Facebook.

Make sure that you have several highly visible areas throughout your property where guests can find a comment card, pens/pencils, and a drop box. It has to be easy for the guest or they won’t bother.

3. Every Step to Completing a Card Will Lead to Fewer Submissions

Keep your comment cards simple. If you have a checklist for the guest to rate different areas of your property, don’t get carried away. At each step in filling out a card, people will fail to go to the next step. Here are a few spots in the process where customers will just give up:

  • Finding the card. If it’s not somewhere that guests can easily spot it, then forget about getting any back.
  • Length of card. The longer the card and more involved it is, the less likely you’ll get your guests to complete them.
  • Suggesting the customer enter their name, phone number, email, or address. A lot of people want to remain anonymous. They prefer to drop in their comment card and be on their way.

4. Anonymous Comments Don’t Let You Contact the Customer to Fix the Issue

If the customer is anonymous, you have no way to respond and assure them that you will fix the situation, therefore no way to fix the relationship with that customer.

If you ask for contact information so that you can follow up with the guest, make sure that you prominently label it as “OPTIONAL.”

Okay, so guest comment cards are not perfect, but they do have valuable benefits if you understand the limitations. If you’re using comment cards, you should also consider adding research that gives you a more reliable picture of how your guests rank your property. This can be done through guest satisfaction surveys or short feedback surveys.

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.