Developing relationships in an automated world
We all have basic needs when relating to others whether it is in our personal relationships or with those we interact with at work. Everyone wants to be seen, wants to be heard and wants to feel they matter. During a 1990 survey, 90% of the respondents stated that their biggest need in life was to be heard!
“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable” ~ David Augsburger
Casino marketing and player development teams have a lot of tools accessible to them these days to help “hear” and connect with their players better. Yup, automated emails sent out at sign up, for birthdays, anniversaries and just because can save your teams hundreds of hours. And with the technology to use variable data in these “personalized” emails …. well, it’s like you wrote the email yourself!Two problems with the above – automated and personalized emails will serve you beautifully to connect with your guests … however, only if they are written correctly and if you have all the information you need in your system (and out of your brain).
Below are a couple of tips that I have come across recently that still get overlooked that has to do specifically with welcome letters/emails and the data that we pull from. By giving a bit more attention to these details, the relationship being built with your guests will create more loyalty and hopefully increase revenue!
Introduction/welcome letters or emails
For hosts, it’s easy to get busy and leave the details up to marketing. While we want to do everything we can to “work smarter, not harder,” we can’t neglect the details of every interaction we have with our guests. That means auditing that those communications are sent out and making sure that those communications mimic what you would have done “by hand” back in the olden days.
I’ve seen automated introduction or welcome letters/emails that included an offer, but didn’t use the guest’s name in the greeting (as mentioned above) and failed to give an introduction. Everything you send to your guests should be directed to them personally. From the monthly mailers to letters or emails of introduction, each should have a proper greeting/salutation directed to the guest. Even when using a manual template or automated process, this is a variable that needs to be and can be included. (And if you say your email can’t include variable, please email us, we have the technology!)
Audit your welcome emails. Make sure they include the following:
- Personal greeting – use their name, it matters!
- Introduction – Who are you? Why are you reaching out?
- Approach – What can you do to help the guest have a better experience at your casino? There doesn’t even necessarily need to be an offer included. This is the beginning of building a relationship.
- If there is an offer, does it make sense? Did they come from 3,000 miles away and the offer expires in a week? Did they indicate they love jazz music on your intake form and you offered them tickets to Uncle Kracker?
- Follow up – always follow up written communications with a call. That personal communication is key! Suggest a day and time, but always leave it up to the guest.
- Complimentary close – a short, polite closing to end the communication.
- Signature line – Include all your contact information (name, title, office phone number, cell number, fax number, email, property address, email, website). Include your days off and times you work. If it’s a letter and you can hand sign it, that is a great personal touch!
Your data – will your letter or email even get there?
Every single time a guest has an interaction with an employee with access to the casino management system, they should be asked if their contact information in the system is correct! From the players club to cashier to slots and tables to the PD department, there are hundreds of opportunities to update and confirm guest contact information! Do you have these questions as part of your service standards? Think about it, it’s a new world, and asking for updated information should be part of their follow up.If you can’t contact your guests, you can’t develop relationships, follow up with or even reward them properly. This information is the lifeblood of your casino and marketing efforts. It should be guarded, confidential and correct.
Your database information changes and needs to be updated constantly. People move, die, change email addresses, change phone numbers, change names, etc. all the time and updating their information in your system isn’t usually on their radar! Granted, NCOA scrubs and updates used by your mail houses will and should be done, but nothing is more effective than actual face to face communication!
It isn’t just the responsibility of PD or Players Club or Direct Mail it is the responsibility of every employee to reach out and connect with every interaction they have with the guest. And yes, you will get pushback from a few guests because “everyone keeps asking me this!” but explain why and that usually will help the situation.
Let’s get personal
Getting personal with your guests is the key to return business. Think about how you interact with your guests and see where you can be proactive, take extra steps or few moments of time to get to know them, you show them they matter AND be sure to LISTEN! Audit every communication that gets sent out – get new eyes on it to make sure you’re not missing the obvious.