Does Guest Service Drive Visits?

Hotel Receptionist

How much does customer service drive guests to visit your casino? You might be surprised.

I’ve written before about the value of conducting an annual players club survey of your customers. This measures how your players perceive your club’s structure and benefits, how valuable the club is to your players, and how it can show you what needs fixing and what you need to maintain. (Read my article: Does your Players Club Need an Annual Checkup?)

One question in the survey asks how important certain things are when the person is choosing a casino to visit. A list of standard casino features is included in the question and customers are asked to rank the importance of each on a scale of “1” to “5,” with “1” being “not at all important” and “5” being “very important.”

I’m used to seeing certain patterns: Slots, Promotions, Players Club Benefits and Direct Mail are almost always the top four visit drivers as ranked by importance. Customer Service occasionally ranks in the top four, but I’ve never seen it in first place. For some casinos, Promotions may be first place. For other casinos, it’s Players Club Benefits as the most important visit driver. Slots is the choice most often in the top spot.

A players club survey I just finished had a surprising result for this question: Customer Service was ranked ahead of Slots, Promotions, Players Club Benefits and Direct Mail as the number one factor that drives a casino visit in this particular market.

Customer Service as the number one driver in a casino market?! I’ve never seen this before so it made me think about this result.

We all know that customer service is important, but since it has never shown up in first place before on other players club surveys that I’ve conducted, it seems that either:

  1. Customers assume that good Customer Service is a foundational part of the visit experience, just like they expect the lights to be on in the casino. So, they don’t include it as a top visit driver.
  2. Or, customers in some markets, may really value Customer Service as being more important than Slots, Promotions, Players Club Benefits and Direct Mail in choosing a casino to visit.

If Customer Service is a top visit driver for your players, it’s really good news for several reasons. Unlike Promotions, Players Club Benefits or Direct Mail, there’s no cost escalation as you and your competitors try to “keep up” with each other. That’s why it’s a financially sound advantage to focus on offering outstanding customer service if it’s a top visit driver. A great customer service program is also difficult to copy and it builds loyalty with your customers. When you have great customer service, it also creates a better work environment because employees are happier and more motivated.

The chart below is from this recent client survey that asked customers to rank items in importance as a reason to visit a casino. They chose Customer Service as most important. What do you think your customers rank as most important? A simple survey could tell you what customers in your market think is important, so you know what to focus on and where to allocate resources.

Customer survey question: How important are the following to you in choosing a casino to visit? Rankings are based on a five-point scale with “1” being “not at all important” and “5” being “very important.”

Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D.