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December 13, 2012

Casino Consultant Reveals New Age That
Will Be Disruptive for Casinos in 2013

There is a new age dawning – the “age of the customer” – that will disrupt the casino industry in 2013, casino consultant Martin R. Baird has announced.  He also announced that an outstanding guest gaming experience will be the only sustainable competitive advantage for gaming properties.

“In 2013, casinos will face intense challenges from competitors and Internet gaming that is only a click away on a smartphone,” says Baird, chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, a guest service consulting firm to the global gaming industry.  “Now comes the ‘age of the customer’ that will result in major disruption for casinos at the same time they are trying to compete.”

Forrester, a global research and advisory firm headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., outlined the coming challenges for the business world in a report titled “Competitive Strategy in the Age of the Customer.”  The source of these challenges is the empowered customer, according to the report.  “The Forrester report makes it clear that in order to succeed in 2013 and beyond, businesses must be hyper focused on customers, even obsessed with them,” Baird says.  “The report states that customers expect more from the companies they patronize because consumers have a wealth of information at their fingertips.”

Twitter, Facebook and Yelp are examples of why casino customers are empowered with information, according to Baird.  “Customers can read about a casino at any of these social media sites before they visit the property and they also feel emboldened to share their opinions about the casino on Twitter, Facebook and Yelp for the entire world to see,” Baird says.  “Their comments remain online forever.  Thus, customers not only have an opinion about a casino before they arrive, they are changing the way casinos receive customer feedback.  These are powerful capabilities that truly signal the dawn of a new age.”

Forrester identified three well-known companies that are contenders to participate in the age of the customer, Baird notes.  “Zappos, Southwest Airlines and Apple all succeed in highly competitive markets that have been commoditized by technology,” Baird says.  “The shoe, airline and computer markets have always been competitive and now they must deal with the empowered customer.  For example, consumers don’t need a travel agent to find them the best deal on airline tickets.  They can find that information for themselves online.  Gaming is just as competitive as these markets and now the time has come for casinos to face the age of the customer.”

There will only be one sustainable competitive advantage in the age of the customer and that is amazing service, Baird says.  “For casinos, that means focusing, even obsessing, on improving their guest service which, in turn, significantly contributes to an outstanding gaming experience,” Baird says.  “Quality service and a stellar experience will keep guests coming back to play.  Zappos representatives are known for letting customers take as much time on the phone as they want to make a purchase.  That’s good service.  That’s an outstanding customer experience.”

Not that long ago, all casinos had to do to succeed was build a beautiful facility and open the doors, Baird says.  “People were excited to have casinos only a state or two away,” Baird says.  “Now they often have them across town or just down the road.  Or they’re as close as the smartphone in the customer’s pocket.  So which casinos will be the destination of choice? Informed and empowered customers will always vote for service and experience and they will vote with their wallets.”

About Robinson & Associates

Martin R. Baird is a casino consultant and chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, Inc.  For 20 years, Robinson & Associates has been dedicated to helping casinos improve their guest service so they can compete and generate future growth and profitability.  A Boise, Idaho-based consulting firm to the global gaming industry,  Robinson & Associates is the world leader in casino guest experience measurement, management and improvement.  Recently, it announced Simply Share, a real-time customer feedback platform that makes it fast and easy for casino customers to share their experience directly with casinos instead of posting comments online at social media sites.

For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.casinocustomerservice.com  or contact Lydia Baird, director of business development, at 208-991-2037 or lbaird(at)raresults(dot)com.  Read about casino customer service improvement at Martin Baird’s blog at www.mbaird.blog.com. Robinson & Associates is a member of the Casino Management Association and an associate member of the National Indian Gaming Association.


Lydia Baird

Tom Ellis