Casinos struggling with global communications challenge related to customers' overall experience

10 July 2012

BOISE, Idaho -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Robinson & Associates, Inc., today announced statistics that describe a world on fire with electronic communications and show why casinos may not know the extent to which their reputation is at stake as customers use the Internet to talk about poor experiences they have at gaming properties.

“Casinos need to pay attention because their reputation, their relationships with customers and their bottom line are at stake,” says Martin R. Baird, chief executive officer of Robinson & Associates, a guest service consulting firm to the global gaming industry. “If general managers worry about what guests are tweeting about their property, well, they should hold onto their hat. There’s a lot more going on out there than they realize.”

Niall Ferguson wrote in Newsweek about how interconnected and reactionary the world has become, according to Baird. “Ferguson blamed the Internet, pointed to recent economic and political instability and wondered where else people will exhibit what he called ‘contrarian behavior’ as they communicate instantly and frequently with others,” Baird says. “I wonder what the impact will be on gaming as all this chatter spreads like wildfire.”

Baird offered the following information from Ferguson’s article:

– The first e-mail was sent in 1965. In 2006, people sent 50 billion e-mails. About 300 billion e-mails were transmitted in 2010.

– The Internet was born in 1982. In 1993, 1 percent of two-way telecommunications went through the Internet. That mushroomed to 51 percent in 2000 and 97 percent today.

– Ferguson quoted Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner when he wrote in his article that “data equivalent to the total volume of information created from the beginning of human civilization until 2003 can now be generated in the space of just two days.”

“People are caught up in a communications frenzy and they’re talking about anything and everything,” Baird says. “They often have a reaction to what they hear. I guarantee some of this communication has to do with casinos.”

Baird offered the following hypothetical situation that he says is all too real:

Joe stays at XYZ Casino’s resort and (a) he has a good time (b) he has a bad time (c) he enjoys the outstanding guest service (d) he is not impressed by the lousy service (e) he loves the buffet or (d) the buffet is terrible. As soon as Joe gets home, he e-mails, tweets or posts a Facebook status update to friends about his experience at XYZ. Maybe he does all three. One has to wonder if the experience was good or bad because his friends are likely to forward his e-mail or retweet his tweet to others. Those “others” do the same thing.

“Oops, I forgot something,” Baird says. “Joe doesn’t have to wait until he gets home. He has a smartphone. He can tell the world about his experience at the resort AS IT IS HAPPENING.”

Baird continues the hypothetical:

While he sips his poorly prepared cocktail and shakes his head at the lounge’s dirty floor, Joe opens his phone’s Yelp app and writes a review that is less than glowing. One of his friends, who just happens to be on the way to meet him at XYZ to play in the casino, sees the Yelp post and sends Joe a text message suggesting they meet up at ABC Casino instead. Joe leaves and his friend makes a course correction. Another guest at XYZ also sees Joe’s Yelp comments and has second thoughts about where she spends her entertainment dollars.

“I bring all this to the attention of casinos because knowing whether guests are having a good or bad experience is more critical than ever,” Baird notes. “The Internet has raised the bar into the stratosphere simply because guests have multiple avenues for letting thousands – even millions – of people know whether they like a casino and why.”

Casinos simply must apply the same technology guests are using and gather real-time customer feedback to stay ahead of the social media commentary curve, according to Baird. Casinos must know what guests are thinking and feeling as they are thinking and feeling it, not days or weeks later after they tabulate comment cards and surveys, he adds.

“Billions of electronic messages are zipping around the world,” Baird says. “People are talking about casinos. Management’s challenge is to make their casino’s gaming experience so incredibly wonderful that people can’t resist going online and saying good things about it. Do that and you will reap the rewards. You will also be prepared for communication breakthroughs of the future that will raise the customer feedback bar even higher.”

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