Mystery visits to three UK casinos provide recommendations to transform customer experience.

Mystery visits to three UK casinos provide recommendations to transform customer experience.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mystery Woman - Interview with Lorraine Rivers, Director, Acumen

What are mystery visits, what kind of companies use them and what outcomes do they expect?

Mystery visits are performed by ordinary people, trained members of the general public, employed by an independent company.

Most ‘customer facing’ businesses use them, (such as pubs, restaurants, shops, hotels) particularly those in the leisure industry where customer service standards are key to the business.

The feedback is objective and allows the company to view a customer’s perception of an experience at their venue.

 

How can a mystery visit exercise transform an organisation? Can you give us an example or two?

Mystery visits allow an organisation to monitor and improve their levels of customer service. It means they can ensure consistency in their standards and gain feedback on new initiatives they may have introduced. It is a valuable tool for any business, particularly those looking to grow in size. It can also ensure that existing standards do not slide during an expansion process.

An impressive example is a company we worked with who purchased an existing but flagging business with over 200 venues. They launched an initiative to improve customer service across their estate over a 12 month period, which included training for all staff and monitoring with incentives via mystery visiting and other customer feedback.  The value of the whole business increased to a huge extent and after 2 years it was sold not only at a large profit but also to industry acclaim over it’s service standards.

 

How do various organisations use mystery visits? What objectives could they have (can you again give us some examples)?

Upselling if often a key part of the MV programme and research has proved that if sales to just 25% of existing customers are increased by one additional item, this results in a significant increase in profit without  expanding the customer base.

Also most companies use MV as part of their training programme, to emphasise the company standards and then monitor consistency and the effectiveness of the training. They can then address any issues immediately they become apparent.

Often they are used to incentivise staff, by way of a bonus scheme. Some organisations run competitions for most improved average score, highest scoring venue, and highest increase in upselling etc. Some will reward the team for gaining scores of over 90%.

Many companies rely on using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to improve and measure their business and this is included within our programme.

Each period we provide management reports and analysis of the results, to allow long term monitoring of the business over a period of time. 

 

Why would casinos engage in mystery visits as well?

Casinos have the chance to tap into a much wider target audience. For many, casinos were once regarded as playgrounds for either the social elite or hardened gamblers but the concept has changed drastically in recent years. There is huge number of people, from all walks of life and steadily increasing, who will now consider a visit to a casino as a social event open to all.

In today’s competitive market, casinos that continue to develop their offer for an ever discerning customer and ‘go the extra mile’ in delivering excellent levels of customer services are the businesses that will thrive.

Also of course to monitor what they are delivering to existing clientele and to attract ‘new’ business by developing social areas of their business that could encourage “virgin gamers” to visit. This could be combined with promotions run at non peak times.

 

Tell us more about the mystery visits project you are developing in partnership with ICE Totally Gaming?

We are delighted to have the opportunity of working with ICE on this project which we hope will highlight specific areas of the casino business that could be developed further.

We will be carrying out a number of genuine mystery visits to several well known casinos in the UK. These will remain anonymous but cover a range of experiences and offer a good reflection of the typical UK casino. 

The results of this data and feedback will be presented at the International Casino Conference to demonstrate the advantages a mystery visiting programme can bring to the casino and gaming industry and to provide recommendations for a transformation of customer experience at casinos.

 

What kind of casinos are involved and why?

Recognised and established UK casinos who take customer service standards seriously and understand what benefits a mystery visiting programme can add to their business. They range in the kind of offering they provide, the number of casinos that will be subject to mystery visits and the location. Through this diversity, we’re hoping to come up with some general recommendations for how to attract a more casual type of visitor.

 

What will be the main focus of the mystery visits you’re planning?

We will focus on the entertainment and social aspect of a casino experience as we want to provide recommendations for attracting more visitors rather than keeping the existing ones who come mostly to gamble.

We will also look at how casinos make new visitors feel comfortable to get introduced to gambling.

Additionally, our aim is demonstrate how mystery visiting can be used as a tool within the casino and gaming industry to promote and expand sales and increase repeat business by encouraging people to return for consistently high levels of customer service.  It will show how to monitor existing levels of service and products delivered and the advantage of gaining valuable feedback on areas that could be improved.  

 

When will the results be available?

For the project the results will be delivered at the International Casino Conference at The Excel in London on Monday 2nd February 2015. The casinos we are working with will receive their reports within 48 hours of the visit being carried out.

 

What is your plan for ICE (will you be present at the show and what will you promote there)?

Acumen will have a stand at ICE and staff will be available to discuss how we can tailor a programme to suit their business. We will also be offering a “Free Trial” of mystery visiting for the duration of the ICE exhibition only. This will offer the opportunity for companies to appreciate the benefits specifically for their business. This would be based on 4 visits, over a two month period, using a generic feedback form and with reimbursable costs to be met by the participating company. Full details will be available at the show.

Update: The first results from ICC Mystery Visits project have been announced. Read the follow up article here.

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