Article by Dennis Conrad, Raving Consulting, Reno Nevada
Here’s a great article from our friends at Raving Consulting in the USA. It was written nearly 20 years ago, but is as relevant today as it was then, and it also resonates with Australian clubs, pubs and casinos as much as it does with American, Asian or European casinos. We’ve taken a few liberties and added some local flavour, but the essence is still very much the original article. We encourage you to share it with your colleagues and staff. It puts customer service in crystal clear perspective.
I AM YOUR CUSTOMER
I am your customer. I am an avid gambler. Or, I don’t gamble much, but I like your restaurants, your attractions and your shows. I might not even gamble at all – I must admit I am a little intrigued by it, though – but I do stay in your hotel occasionally on business or pleasure when I am in your town. Or I live in the area and yours is one of a number of venues I can visit, which I like to do for a bit of a variety now and again. But it seems to me that your employees think everyone in your casino (club or pub) is already an educated gambler, when in truth there is much I do not understand.
I am your customer. I am white, middle class and over 50 years of age. I am also Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Greek, Armenian, Italian and a host of other diverse nationalities. I am very young – in fact sometimes I am under 21 years old. I also am an infant and I am a very elderly person with poor eyesight. Yet from your advertising, or the makeup of your employees, or how I sometimes get treated, I get the feeling that you think we customers are all alike.
I am your customer. I play your slot machines. Give me a decent machine, a comfortable chair, change when I need it, an occasional drink and a little appreciation. Why is that so hard to do?
I am your customer. I play your table games. All I really want is enough of the type of game that I like to play, some reasonable minimums, and a fairly pleasant dealer, a game that moves at the right speed and an occasional drink when I need it. What I often get though, is a $10 minimum table ( I can’t stay long), a dealer who couldn’t care less if I was there (or worse, really wants me to LOSE) and a watered down drink that took 20 minutes to get and came from a cocktail server who only reacted (much like a robot) when I gave her a dollar.
I am your customer, maybe even your member. Even your long term member. So why do you sometimes make me feel like I am being interrogated and have to defend who I am and why I am there, rather than welcomed and thanked for visiting your club?
I am your customer. I navigate around your casino or club property. Have you ever tried to do that? Have you seen the signs that point into never-never land? Have you been in the places where your maze provides no clue as to where anything is? Have you ever asked yourself if you were me and had to go to the restroom, what would it be like finding your way there? Have you been me and tried to find your cashier cage or change booth recently?
I am your customer. I call you to make a reservation for your hotel or restaurant. I’ll pay a reasonable room rate if I like your rooms and your casino and your experience. And I’ll leave a tip and tell my friends if your food is good value and the service friendly. When I call you all I want is someone to answer the phone, someone who is pleasant and knowledgeable and won’t make me hold too long. Sometimes I have special requests – I don’t think that they’re a big deal and I don’t understand why you can’t tell me that you can do that for me. Is it that hard to guarantee a “no smoking” room or cater for a vegetarian or gluten intolerant diner?
I am your customer. Sometimes I come to see you for a special occasion. Sometimes you have even invited me as your guest. These visits are my most memorable. What I often remember from them, though, is the receptionist who knew nothing about the VIP event or the doorman who sent me to the wrong reunion or the security officer who made me feel that he was doing me a big favour by telling me how to locate the wedding reception.
I am your customer. I receive your mail, EDM’s and SMS messages. I suppose I should feel good when I do, but that is hard if my name is misspelled or your “special” invitation costs $79 or you want me to visit when obviously I can’t. Didn’t I tell your gaming host that I only can come on weekends?
I am your customer. I eat in your restaurants. Have you done that lately? How do you manage to have all those empty tables and all those long lines? I’ll also tell you a little secret – if you don’t make me wait for my bill, I’ll spend 10 more minutes at your slot machines. And if your waiter or waitress honestly and knowledgeably recommends one of your other restaurants, or bars or lounges, I’ll probably eat, drink or visit there too.
I am your customer. I sleep in your hotel rooms. I don’t need too much, in fact I’m hardly in the room at all. But I might need a towel, or an iron or a wake up call or morning room service. What I don’t need is a call asking me to come down and leave a $25 deposit so that I can use the internet, or a knock on the door from security because they don’t know I’m not scheduled to leave until tomorrow, or a toilet that runs and a maintenance man that walks.
I am your customer. There is obviously something about you and your experience that I like or at least THINK I might like. After all, I came to see you, didn’t I?
I am your customer. It may sound funny, but I will give you my money for a long time, at a lot of your different cash registers, if you’ll just make me feel a little good about it. In fact, sometimes all I need is you not to make me feel bad.
I am your customer. Or I can be. Just know what I need. It isn’t that much. All you have to do is ask me. Then listen.
I am your customer. But for how long depends on you.
Yes, I am your customer. Or I can be, truly be, your GUEST.
I think I’d like that.