Service is No. 1
to bingo players

Oct 18, 2004 11:29 PM

Customer service is the key to running a successful bingo hall, attendees at a seminar at the recently held G2E expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center were told. The seminar, entitled Top Priorities: The Importance of Customer Service, was moderated by Mike Rypkema of Mystic Lake Casino in Minnesota, and featured Mark Powless, the bingo manager of the Oneida Bingo (Hall) and Casino in Green Bay, and Jack Andrews, bingo manager at Harrah’s Phoenix Ak-Chin Casino, among the panel participants.

Powless said that to provide great customer service, "you need to know your players." He said he tries to be out on the floor at least once during every hour he works and that he is especially challenged by "customers who are constant complainers."

He added that his bingo hall uses comment cards, surveys and focus groups to gauge customer reaction. Those surveys can double as a marketing tool after they are placed in a barrel and one that is pulled out for a winning a prize.

Andrews said two out of three guests who discontinue playing at a particular bingo hall cite bad service. He said it’s important to see the hall through the eyes of the customer and not the hall staff. Toward that end, Powless said he makes a point to take his staff to another bingo hall at regular intervals to give them a chance to see what the competition is doing — both right and wrong.

Andrews said that bingo hall operators "have to recognize that everything in the hall speaks." By that he meant that overflowing garbage bags in the parking lot, papers on the floor and coffee cups on the table all leave a negative impression on the customer.

"The worst impression is that the hall wants to take the money and run," he said. He feels the bingo hall should have the goal of making the customer want to say "wow." He said employees can "wow" the guests by creating aRypkema said new hires are trained in minimum guest standards and then evaluated and graded by a supervisor. Those employees who score less than 80 percent on the s core sheet are called in for more counseling and then get another chance. A second failing grade results in more intense counseling. Rypkema said the process helps "weed out negative people."

Andrews said, "We need to know the guest’s name, we need to use the guest’s name." He added that employees shouldn’t be given a manual on guest services, but instead should be shown the job.

"The key is to make guest service a habit, not a job," he said.