What should casinos learn now from airlines?
Today we’re talking about casinos. Casinos and airlines are similar in their operational complexity and sense of wonder.
Few people really know how casinos work. Sure, most people know the house always wins, just like most people know planes take off on time (most of the time…), without considering the complexities behind the scenes. How do you keep an airline running smoothly? How do you manage the flow of people – and their heightened emotions – in a casino setting?
Both airlines and casinos have distinct check-in touchpoints. Three months ago, I had the chance (no pun intended!) to take my mother to Las Vegas. I had visited previously on business, but I had never experienced Vegas as a tourist.
To my disappointment, I found that most casinos had not figured out self-service as a check-in touchpoint. Now, by self-service, I do not mean Hyatt digital keys. I mean functioning kiosks that can be used quickly to avoid long lines.
When I saw no self-service options of this type, I was so disgruntled I shared my frustration on social media! Shortly after returning to New York, we were faced with COVID-19. And, for a time, I put aside my bad guest experience. Now that we are talking about reopening, I see the lessons we can learn about how to make a good first impression on a customer journey.
Consider the Check-In Touchpoint
No matter the industry, check-in is an important customer-facing experience touchpoint. For airlines, it can mean the difference between catching a flight or missing it. For hospitals, it can make or break patient outcomes.
And for casinos and their hotels, check-in can determine how much money a guest is willing to spend on the casino floor. The faster a guest checks in, the sooner that guest is spending money gambling.
In the post COVID-19 world, check-in is becoming more important than ever. Self-service will be a casino game changer. Those with strategic leadership thinking will optimize this touchpoint and see the returns they so desperately need.
Take a Strategic Approach
The CEO who acts with the right level of urgency now has the chance to grab a much larger portion of the post-COVID market when everything opens. After all, the beauty of check-in is that, once you build it, it can be applied across multiple scenarios.
For a casino, strategically designed check-in solutions can solve not just for hotel check-in, but also for entering a show, a sports game, a concert or any other entertainment offering. All of this becomes even more important (and more challenging) post-COVID.
A Tale of Two Lobbies
Let’s compare two experiences. After a long flight, Guest A arrives in a crowded lobby, similar to the one in the image above. It is 11:30 p.m. local time. Guest A spends more than an hour waiting in line, worrying about social distancing.
Eventually, Guest A interacts with a front desk agent (still worried about social distancing). Finally, Guest A receives a reusable plastic key (this causes more anxiety). By the end of this transaction, Guest A is annoyed at best, and in a real state of panic at worst.
Now, imagine Guest B arrives at an open space lobby with kiosks.
By design, this space looks clean and spacious. Guest B approaches a kiosk that dispenses a room key after a few simple clicks. If the facility wants to optimize available biometrics technology, it enables the kiosk with a facial recognition program and makes Guest B’s experience contactless.
How do you think Guest B is feeling? After this easy check-in, Guest B is thinking only about the NEXT interaction with the casino. Why? Because the check-in was so seamless and easy, Guest B is not even thinking about it!
Who is in a better mood? Who is ready to spend money on the casino floor?
Even more importantly, who is more likely to return to the casino after this visit?
Overcoming Check-In Challenges
Some of you might say, “Great, but to do this, we need to integrate the legacy reservation system with the kiosks.”
And others might say, “Ok, but the payment system needs to be upgraded to include contactless pay.”
Last but not least, the unions (yes, casinos have pretty powerful unions) will counter,“you are eliminating jobs.”
Now, this is where the lessons from the airlines come into play. Airlines have the exact same challenges. The same archaic systems run their passenger reservations. But at the end of the day, if you do not solve this, you will always be a prisoner of the technology of the past. Today, investing in technology is investing in hospitality.
Invest in Hospitality
If you are in the business of travel and entertainment, you need to schedule a meeting with that one dinosaur technology provider by the end of Q2. Figure out how to integrate with the new world. I know it is doable. We did it in JetBlue. Of course, it was not easy.
Yet, that is the reason why we were able to board people using only their faces in 2017, while our competitors were asking travelers to register at a kiosk with their ten-digit ticket number. Try to guess the adoption rates of those competing programs.
The current contactless payment challenge is not much different. Apple Pay started in October 2014. JetBlue became the first airline to adopt it in February 2015. And this is just one example.
The strategic casino out there has to figure out the contactless payment service that works for their organization. The point is, if an airline with small margins can do it in 2015, a casino can do the same in 2020. And they must.
Back when we were working both on the self-service lobbies and facial recognition programs, we were asked all the time if we were planning to eliminate jobs. The answer was always the same. We were SHIFTING jobs. We were UPGRADING jobs. Think of today’s front desk casino employee.
Front desk employees are struggling with old systems behind very high podiums. They activate plastic keys that constantly get deactivated. They serve guests who are annoyed, tired, and anxious. In the future optimized lobby, that same employee is a welcome concierge who provides updates about casino cleaning and safety. This employee ensures that, from the first moment a guest enters the casino property, she feels comfortable, welcome, and take care of.
Making lists in posts in not my style. But for the topic of self-service, I am making an exception. For casino industry colleagues reading this, here are some top observations from my stay in Las Vegas.
1. The ROI of self-service follows the same logic as slot machines.
The more guests use them, the better the return. Shutting down kiosks between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. should not happen. Whatever the system issue is, invest once to fix it, then see the long-term payout.
2. Having kiosks in front of the registration desk while keeping the desk fully staffed does not drive adoption.
Take the risk. Staff your check-in with fewer people.
3. Do not install kiosks in the middle of the lobby.
Instead, make it intuitive for the guest. And create seamless experience design.
Think Ahead – and Be Flexible
No one knows exactly what a casino or an airline experience would look like post-COVID. However, we do know that people will seek safety, security and comfort.
We also know that long lines are coming our way, unless we do something about it now. The technology is available. It has been for years. The only thing left is for you to design it with intent. The intent to make your customer happy, and to secure a healthy future for your organization.
Enjoy the experience! And it you would like a guide on your journey, we are here to help.
What is Customer Experience? What are the Faces of CX?
Each area of CX represents a path for CX professionals to impact business health and build successful careers. One of my favorite CX analogies is that it is like the blood in our bodies. When CX is done well, it touches every aspect of an organization. That’s what makes customer experience so much fun! You will never be bored working in CX.
The One CX Goal You Need to Set for 2019
For 2019, I urge you to make only one CX goal – bring about business success with your customer experience work. Don’t just do work in the general sense. Rather, set a CX goal that has a real impact on your customers and their experiences with your brand.
Poor Integration is Bad for Customers and Worse for Brands
Although we all have bad customer experiences, there is still a big debate about “the CX field” and whether it will survive the test of time. There is no doubt…
Would You Pitch In To Save Toys “R” Us For Your Children To Experience? #ToysRUsGoFundMe
Last week we laid out the big moves that the leadership of Toys ‘R’ Us failed to take to evolve with customer needs. This week, billionaire Isaac Larian set up a GoFundMe…
United CEO does not care about #customers happiness. Really?
Lately, I have been thinking about United Airlines. In the beginning I was thinking about them, because I was asked if it is possible to build a customer-centric culture in…
How to Be an Entrepreneur: 5 Things I Learned in 5 Months as an Entrepreneur
The life of an entrepreneur is different every day, but the one thing that remains the same is that we are always learning. These are my lessons in how to…
Customer Experience Audit: eBay’s Vibrant Marketplace of the Future
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. See all audit stories. Two years ago RJ Pittman and eBay made a big bet and made…
Why Customers Are Not Responding to Your Customer Experience Survey
When you solicit customer feedback sometimes matters more than how you ask the questions. In the case of a survey about new biometrics boarding initiatives my team and I created for JetBlue, we had a list of feedback that was most important for us.
CX Bold Moves: JetBlue Paperless And Deviceless Boarding
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of CX Bold Moves. See all the CX Bold Moves stories. This year JetBlue entered the ranks of the innovators who…
Get Customer Experience Basics Right and You Don’t Need to Invest in Wow Moments
Wow Moments are a Customer Experience hot topic. Customer experience professionals ideate how to build, prioritize, finance, and measure these Wow Moments. Chip and Dan Heath wrote a whole book on the topic: The Power of Moments. No Wow Moment saves you from negative word of mouth if your brand fails to get the customer experience basics right or to deliver the expected brand experience consistently.
Customer Experience Audit: Domino’s Making the Right CX Choices
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audit. See all CX audit stories. Domino’s Pizza made two CX bold moves . They changed a nearly half-century…
4 Career Tips to obtain a Customer Experience Role
In honor of the 4th of July, we are rounding up 4 career tips for CX professionals. Set aside some time during the break from work to take stock in your CX career and evaluate the steps you need to get to the next level.
Customer Experience Audit: FedEx Omnichannel Disaster
In our Strategy, Org Design & Culture series we cover customer-focused companies that are willing to adapt, take risks and discover new ways of staying relevant. Sometimes, we encounter brands…
CX Skills Builders: You May Have a CX Job and Not Know It
Last week we talked about the identity crisis of CX professionals and we urged you to fix any small problem or seam on the customer journey in order to build internal brand equity and buy in.
Customer Experience View of your Call Center Technology
By 2022 the global cloud based contact center market is growing from USD 6.8Bn in 2017 to 20.93Bn in 2022. This makes for CAGR of 25.2%. If you do not…
Customer Experience Audit: Starbucks Bets On The Physical Experience
Starbucks is opting in for the physical experience in order to become a lifestyle brand while other brands are investing in omni-channel experience.
Are You Ready to Go Exclusive with Jane, Your Digital Concierge?
In 2015 JetBlue introduced bag fees. Seven years after the competition. The media exploded. Many publications were negative. They blamed the airline for “selling out.” One headline read “A New…
How to talk to your CFO about customer experience and revenue growth
Last month we introduced the topic of Customer Experience ROI and the complexity of building a good business case for it. The Customer Experience business case is strong, but not easy to prove. Today we will focus on two big wins of a successful customer experience investment – revenue and customer growth of your business.
What is the survey question that will prioritize your #CX roadmap?
As customer experience professionals, we need to factor in this disconnect when we design surveys. And when we react to survey results. Customers have an image of who they want to be. However, their behaviors do not always reflect that image.
Autonomous Customers, Traveler Privacy and More Questions for CX Professionals in a Changing World
“As we move toward a more automated culture, most travelers will adapt to a Jetsonian, automated lifestyle. Every industry we know will be disrupted. For those of us in aviation,…
How @T4 makes real customer experience impact on travelers experience
Today we share our impressions from visiting our welcoming host Chad at JFK Terminal 4 in NYC. We also celebrate Chad as an effective Customer Experience professional/practitioner. His work is…
WeWork Does CX Right with a Wow Moment
Used at the right time and place along the customer’s journey, the Wow Moment is an excellent retention technique. When a brand creates personal, relevant experience at exactly the right time, it can build a lifelong, loyal customer relationship.
Why You Need Culture Not Call Center Training for Customer-Centric CX
If the organization does not understand what customer experience is, you will not get the funding or organizational support you need to build customer-centric experiences.
Customer Experience, Self Service, and the Gift of Time
Time is the most precious gift in life. If you think about it, time is the one thing we all want more of. As we get older and busier, time gets even more valuable to us.
Customer Experience Lessons for Freelancers: To Grow Your Client Base, Add Your Personal Touch
For small businesses and freelancers alike, it’s important to recognize that your business is as strong as the relationships you build with your customers. We can learn a lot about…
Customer Experience Design – Make the Customer Know Who You Are
Now that we have helped you become experts in the design of space and function and the design of feelings, it is time to turn our attention to aesthetics, and to connect customer experience…
Is Covid19 What We Needed to Build Seamless End-to-End Travel Experience?
On January 10th, we published an article called The Future of Travel We Deserve. In it, we laid out the foundation necessary to implement innovation at scale. Four months later,…
Our Holiday Wishes for Great CX
Every successful customer experience initiative starts with a skilled CX team. Brush up on your CX skills to strengthen the business case for CX; to develop relationships within your organization; and to deliver standout customer experiences in the new year.
Customer Experience Audit: Mobile Provider Eliminates Remote Workforce
How to balance the efficiency call center metric FCR (first call resolution) with wait and talk time? JetBlue promotes human interactions as a brand promise.
Lessons Learned at the Forrester Conference: “Data is the New Sexy”
Once a year I look for an event or a conference to attend where I can learn something new and get better at what I do. This year I attended…
Let’s Get You Certified as a Customer Experience Professional!
Like all mature professions, customer experience has a certification that is internationally recognized. Adding it to your resume will signal to the business community that you are serious about customer experience and your aspiration to be part of its leadership ranks…
Culture and Access to Information
By and large, people perceive culture as an HR discipline. The most common perception is that culture covers the soft side of performance. Culture is about how you do things, not so much about what you do. This approach to culture could not be more wrong. In fact, organizational culture is about so much more than a few words in a performance review sheet. It is about leaders expressing values, and the action guidance their cultural behaviors provide.
Why you need a defined culture to do CX right?
When designed and built correctly, customer experience expresses an organization’s brand. Your brand and marketing promises serve as a guiding light to your experience team. Similarly, organizational culture serves as a goalpost for the service side of customer experience.
Customer Experience Tips and Best Practices In 2017?
In Post 2 of Liliana Petrova’s series on customer experience tips, lessons learned, and best practices for the new year on JetBlue, she explores the importance of “keeping the human…
Customer Experience Audit: New York Times Beats Google
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. In this series we walk you through customer experience examples across industries. We feature brands that made…
Do You Know Why The Iconic Brand Toys ‘R’ Us Closed Doors Despite All Our Memories? #RetailBlues
The year is 2016. You are the CEO of Toys ‘R’ Us. Your brand still controls 13.6% of the toy market although the company is highly leveraged, a strategy of…
From Pain Points to Magical Moments: Transform the Customer Experience
Argyle Journal interviewed Liliana Petrova about emerging self service technology and meeting and exceeding customer expectations in airports. In the below recording Liliana explains how JetBlue addresses the pain points…
Coronavirus Isn’t The Only Thing Killing the Aviation Industry
Eighteen years ago, September 11th caused a three-day halt of the US commercial airlines and resulted in a 31.6% reduction in travel in September 2001 compared to the previous year….
How To Define Your Purpose And Have Unique Culture
If you Google the word “purpose” you get the definition “the reason for which something exists.” This is a challenge if you think about it in the context of an…
Customer Experience Audit: Cadillac Scores Millennial Customers with Future-Forward Thinking
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Customer Experience Audits. See all the audit stories. The automotive industry is right next to the airline industry in terms…
How a Personal Interaction builds Customer Loyalty
A customer-centric methodology is key to the successful outcome of my interaction with Hello Spud. It is the reason this story appears here, and not among the CX Big Fails! The company did not send an automated response. It did not deliver a message stating “sorry we couldn’t help you, would you like something else.” Instead, the company co-founder reached out to me personally across multiple channels (a handwritten note, followed by personal emails).
Customer Experience Audit: Uber Bets On Self-Driving Cars With Big Volvo Purchase
The question that remains unanswered is who will be part of the future of transportation. Uber is going for the vertical integration – the whole pie. The future industry of urban transportation will be made of players in three different categories: cars, self-driving software, and ride-sharing network. In contrast, Lyft approaches the future through partnerships.
Coronavirus Travel: What Does Hospitality Mean Now?
Earlier this week, I traveled to New Orleans from JFK Terminal 5 in New York. I had planned an airport conference a few months ago. Although many colleagues chose not…
CX Design Makes Form and Function Beautiful – and Cosmopolitan Magazine Notices
At its core, design is about value creation. In the world of Customer Experience, value-driven design requires CX professionals to use empathy to imagine a future customer experience that is…
How to Prepare for AI: Dispatches from CR Summit, Charleston
On the eve of the #CRSummit in Charleston, customer experience leaders from various industries held the first AI Committee meeting. AI is a challenging topic to cover because it has…