Interview with Lorraine Rivers, Director, Acumen
How is the mystery visiting project progressing for the UK casinos?
We are approximately half way through the visits now and the feedback that has been produced is very interesting. A few of our visitors have already expressed their surprise at how different their experience was compared to their pre conceived perceptions.
What feedback have you had from the casinos that are involved?
The feedback from the casinos has generally been very positive. As an example, we encourage our visitors to name or describe anyone who particularly stands out during a visit as our clients always find that it is a great boost to staff morale when a member of the team is identified in a positive way. I believe that the recognition is greater when the feedback is totally independent. It is high praise indeed for a team member to be singled out and we have seen quite a few team members named or described on the visits.
When are the visits being carried out and what type of people are you asking to go?
The visits are mainly carried out during peak trading times, but we are also sending visitors in at times when the trade level is lower, as this can often be when customer service standards slip. The visitors come from all walks of life and are a mixture of novices, occasional visitors and those who have experience of various international casinos.
Which aspects of the casino visit have they most enjoyed?
The areas of enjoyment most frequently mentioned are split so far between three areas. The quality of the food has been commented on, with this often surpassing the visitor’s expectations for this type of venue. Visitors have also commented on how safe they feel within the social environment and how this makes for a very relaxed atmosphere. The most important aspect has been the “fun” element combined with professionalism. Visitors have commented on how surprised they are at the safe, social and fun environment in a venue that they have previously associated only with ‘gambling’.
Which areas have been identified for improvement so far?
The main areas where visitors feel more could be done to improve their visit revolve around providing them with information. Some people have elected to join a casino membership/loyalty scheme, but have commented that after going through the joining process, they were left quite unaware of the benefits or how the programme should work. It appears as though the emphasis is on form filling and providing ID, rather than an introduction to the benefits of “your casino”.
Another thing that is frequently mentioned is that new customers often feel it would have been nice if they had been taken inside the casino and either given a full tour or at least been shown the main areas. Visitors appear to consider the availability of hosts to play a large part of how comfortable they feel, particularly at the beginning of their visit. Those who are welcomed warmly and asked if they need any help, or are shown the main areas or into the casino, feel more relaxed and comfortable.
How many people who have visited would return or recommend it to their friends?
So far, over 90% of visitors have said they would return to the venue, even those who have expressed that they felt uncertain during the first part of their visit.
What occasions have they highlighted as being reasons to return?
Various reasons have been given but include a variety of occasions such as ‘girls/boys’ night out, company get together or a family experience.
What areas mainly contribute towards their experience?
The feeling of a safe and comfortable environment has come out as the main area that contributes to their experience and also the attitude and friendliness of the staff.