Five Observations from Five States in Five Months

By Janet Hawk, Raving Partner, Player Development and Marketing

On the road again! I just can’t wait to get on the road again! The life I love is teaching service (and PD tips) to my friends, and I can’t wait to get on the road again!

I do love what I do! Everything I’ve learned in my 33 years of being in the gaming business was done the hard way … on the job and through lots of mistakes. So, if I can help someone do their job better, make their life easier or hit their goals, then I am a happy woman.

The bonus of being a road warrior training in PD, is meeting so many people with the same passion, being the change I want to see in the world, and spreading a little more kindness and love in a world that so desperately needs it. Sometimes I help PD team members just by putting into words what they already know, or finding a new perspective that helps them understand. And other times, I am teaching a brand new culture or new techniques. It’s truly never boring!

The most common observation I’ve noticed is that we aren’t really all that different and neither are the issues. Over the past five months, I’ve been all over the country. Here are five observations from the road:

1. A language barrier is no excuse to not provide good guest service.

I was working with a tribal casino a few months ago where English is a second language for a large percentage of the team members. We implemented a new guest service program and one of the superstars was a busboy who could speak very little English. He was one of the most popular team members at the property. People requested his section at the restaurant, many not realizing he wasn’t even a server! He knew how to make people feel welcome and to let them know they mattered without speaking a word! Simple eye contact and a smile will go a long way.

2. Make your guests AND fellow teammates feel like they are important!

I’ve said it 100 times, people have three basic needs: to be seen, to be heard, and to matter. When you accomplish this, you will find increased loyalty (more revenue from guests and less turnover from team members, both effect the bottom line!), and an overall improved work environment. If you treat the back of the house (teammates) differently than those in the front of the house (guests), there is something fundamentally wrong with you.

3. Excuses are plentiful and a HUGE waste of time!

If I had a nickel for every “yeah, but ... ,” “whatabouts,” finger pointing, and “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” I would be extremely wealthy! You are either a participant in the problem or a part of the solution. Granted, we have rules and regulations to follow, but more often than not, these excuses are used to avoid work. When obstacles occur, look for ways to overcome. Stop making excuses to fail, and look for reasons to succeed. You can have results or you can have excuses … you can’t have both!

4. The golden rule isn’t always appropriate.

We’ve always been told to treat people the way we would like to be treated (the golden rule). But, we are all so different, and how YOU like to be treated may not be how someone else likes to be treated. Especially when we deal with people who are losing! I prefer the PLATINUM RULE: treat people the way THEY want to be treated. It’s not about you … we have to pay attention.

5. Clear and consistent communication is a MUST!

Lack of communication causes more problems than any other issue. Whether it’s not clearly explaining things to our guests or a lack of dialogue and sharing of information between departments (that darn silo effect!), communication breakdowns are the biggest form of frustration and misunderstanding anywhere! The key to effective communication is to LISTEN. Not just respond, but to actually hear what you're being told. This was highly apparent when I worked with a group that included Operations and PD team members. Neither really knew what the other’s jobs were, especially when it came to what hosts do. Once the lines of communication were opened, the walls came down! It was really cool to see!

We are far more alike than we are different, and in all actuality, things aren’t really that bad. We get so busy digging our ditches, we forget to look up and see the progress. We seem to focus on the few negatives that happen instead of the good that surrounds us. Change your focus!

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About the author

Janet Hawk

Janet provides Raving clients with continued support and training in the practical skills of marketing, promotions, special events, table games and player development. If you want to learn more about our “Boots on the Ground” marketing and player development super-trainer, contact Amy today!

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