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Gaming Properties Can Overcome Casino Competition,
Robinson & Associates Announces As It Discloses
4 Lessons from Apple's Focus On Customers
Casinos face intense competition in 2013, but they can overcome competitive challenges if they look outside the gaming industry and implement four lessons they can learn from Apple, Inc.’s history of focusing intently on customers, Robinson & Associates, Inc., disclosed today.
“How Apple relates to its customers goes to the heart of how casinos can position themselves for success in an environment of brutal competition,” says Martin R. Baird, chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, a guest service consulting firm to the global gaming industry.
Jay Greene, former Seattle bureau chief for Businessweek and author of “Design Is How It Works,” wrote in the Wall Street Journal about Apple’s relationship with its customers and Baird says he completely agrees with Greene. “Following are some important points Greene makes,” Baird says. “I explain why they are important for casinos.”
Focus On Quality and Generate Goodwill. Greene says Apple’s focus on designing cool products has garnered the company significant goodwill with consumers.
“Casinos need to come up with their own design for a customer service corporate culture,” Baird says. “Focus on providing quality guest service and your customers are more likely to repay you with goodwill that comes in the form of continued play at your property. They may just give you a break and return to play even though economic times are tough. Sure, they may not spend as much, but at least they come back. You can achieve this by building a reputation for a wonderful gaming experience that’s underpinned with stellar service.”
No Goodwill, No Customer Loyalty, No Sales. Greene turns to Microsoft as a contrast to Apple. “After years of making software for cumbersome, poorly designed (cell) phones, Microsoft hasn’t engendered much goodwill with the public,” Greene writes.
“Let’s say your casino has never worried much about its guests’ gaming experience,” Baird says. “If revenues are good, who cares? Oops, then comes along 2008 and the Great Recession. Even though money is tight, some people are still willing to play at a casino and they’re trying to figure out which one to visit. They may remember your casino as being somewhat fun. Then they remember Casino XYZ where they had a super fantastic time even though they didn’t win much or didn’t win at all. Where do you think they will go?”
The Customer Experience Is Like Gold. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs believed that “it’s a mistake to think that design is merely about aesthetics,” Green writes. Greene offers the following quote from Jobs: “That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
“From my point of view, Greene and Jobs were talking about the customer experience,” Baird says. “Think of design this way – a casino employee brings a guest his drink in a timely manner and the drink is very good. The customer likes what he sees (the drink arriving) and tastes (it’s an excellent whiskey sour). In other words, that’s a good design of great service.
“But what’s even more important is how the design works. How did that excellent service make the customer feel? How does ALL the service at the casino make the customer feel? Is the service impressive enough that the customer remembers it the next time he decides to visit a casino? The whole point of fantastic guest service is to create a great gaming experience that brings guests back again and again. You want them to fanatically love playing at your casino.”
Goodwill Has A Long Shelf Life. Greene points to Apple as the recipient of long-shelf-life goodwill.
“One of these years, the economy’s slow recovery will gain steam,” Baird says. “Times will get better. Casino revenues will improve. But we all know that another recession is lurking somewhere down the road. What kind of relationship will your casino have with its customers when that inevitable day arrives? If you’re building service-based goodwill, the relationship should be a sound one and your casino just might survive yet again. The current economic downturn has shown beyond a doubt that gaming is no longer recession proof.”
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.
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