Senior Director, Caesars Entertainment (Emerging Technology and Innovation)
Next-Generation Customer Experience
Caesars is the world's most geographically diversified casino-entertainment company. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, in 1937, Caesars has grown through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions, and now operates casinos on three continents. The company's resorts operate primarily under the Harrah's® ,Caesars® and Horseshoe® brand names. Caesars also owns the London Clubs International family of casinos. Caesars currently owns and operates 34 casinos and resorts in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada and New Jersey. Domestically, Caesars properties feature approximately 48,000 slot machines and VLTs and approximately 3,000 table games, and over 39,000 hotel rooms. The company is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Every year, millions of guests visit Caesars properties to eat, play, drink, and relax. At Caesars, we strive to provide superior guest service to all patrons at our properties, especially our VIPs. All property teams have different goals to ensure guests are greeted as soon as they arrive at any of our properties and throughout their stay. To do this, our team members use a combination of tools: RTCM (Real Time Customer Marketing ) & CMS (Casino Management System). However, the current delivery flow of information was inefficient. The process would go as follows:
- Several times during the day, an available on-duty slot supervisor/ team member would query the CMS for “Active Player Inquiry”, filtering by each tier
- A quick picture of the list would be taken, and the team member would try to meet/ greet the patron(s) on the list
- Very often, meeting a patron can lead to other things like helping them with beverage orders or such. This meant that the it was very likely that the list of active guests would no longer be current.
- This would then require the team member to walk back to their work stations and start over
This process was tedious and only allowed for 5-6 guests being greeted per team member’s shift. Because team members had to respond their action manually by email, managers would have to sift through copious amounts of emails to measure an employee’s productivity and to create new greeting goals.
Scope for Improvement, aka Business Process Improvement:
- Currently employees respond to emails (I.e. human initiated, pull vs push) to indicate if they are available, busy or have already greeted a patron.
- Managers also go through stacks of emails to figure out employee productivity ( reset team goals etc. )
- Emails are not tasks. We need a way to deliver these emails as tasks for people to act on.
The Innovation team in conjunction with the Business Users envisioned and implemented a Solution:
- To deliver Guest Alerts in Real Time
- Deliver Alerts to a Wearable Device (Smart Watch)
- Wearable Device provides a HANDS FREE channel paradigm (no longer being distracted by looking at their phone/tablet/other devices)
- Flip the paradigm from passive emails to active actionable alerts (aka push vs pull)
And did we mention that this was done by a part time team on limited budget, leveraging existing process as much as possible!!
A scalable, one of its kind hands free, interactive alerting in-house app that can be used by our employees to better proactively serve the customers, moving us one step closer to the holy grail of marketing – the right communication at the right time at the right place in the right context!! A disruptor not just in the casino industry but rather across the borader hospitality industry!!
The beauty of this solution lies in our employees being hands-free, not having to carry any additional device(s), letting them do other tasks and still be able to greet guests as they arrive. If the employee getting the alert is busy and unable to respond, the alert will flow through to the next available employee and if it finds no one for the patron's first card in, it will follow up with a new event for a subsequent card in at the property.
Solution Features (subset):
- Automated Querying & Alerting
- Custom filtering of tiers by property
- Send messages to a group of employees
- Greet Thresholds (i.e. per day, per 12 hours)
- Hands free for other tasks
IMPROVING CUSTOMER SERVICE SCORES EXPONENTIALLY IN THE PROCESS!!
Just in the couple of hours after launch, about 50+ guests were greetedat the LINQ (compare this to the current metrics of 5-6 per day!!!; over a 15X improvement). According to one of the Slot Director at the LINQ, these alerts made for very interesting conversations with our patrons, who were clearly excited about someone greeting them as soon as they arrived and making them feel welcome at our property. Some patrons even wanted to know when this solution will be available to other properties!!
Snippet of the metrics:
Total number of real time, contextual, greet alerts generated between Nov 1st 2018 – Jan 15th 2019: Over 238K!!
Average daily number of alerts for DIA & SEV: ~320 (DIA – Diamond Tier, SEA – Seven Star Tier) - (compare this with the before metrics of 5-10/day!!)
New Customer Insights obtained from the process:
- Slot bank heat mapping
- Correlation between customers and (slot) machine usage
- Intuitive employee scheduling algorithm; algorithm is self-learning and able to change on the fly
- Improved employee path analytics - batching cusotmer greet events
- Easily able to extrapolate the current process across seemingly unrelated activities - housekeeping, maintainence and repair etc.
- Foundation to extend and incorporate other emerging technologies like AR/VR to further improve Customer Interactions
The unique proposition and one that the vendors (and there were quite a few) that the team worked with were really impressed around was the ability to integrate multiple disparate technologies to deliver value to our customers in a short time; solving an existing, long-running business pain point.
Subset of the technologies include:
- Wearables – Samsung Gear S3 (Apple Watch)
- Tizen App Store Integration
- Event Driven, API Gateway, Containers
- Agile/DevOps Practices
Drawing aspects from the Gartner Top 10 Technology Trends of 2019, the solution flipped the script around how the customer-agent interaction exists not just in the casino industry but rather the overall hospitality space, by implementing a push vs pull, active vs passive, real time vs batch, contextual vs content driven, transformational vs transactional interaction, one that has helped not just improve our internal Customer Service scores but also left our customers excited, delighted and wanting more such innovations from us!!
Our business users are so impressed with the solution that they have come up with over 2 dozen ideas of where we can leverage this hands-free, multi protocol (Cellular, WIFI, Bluetooth, NFC) solution from housekeeping to asset tracking to device maintenance – processes that help not just reduce operational cost, but also increase revenue and most importantly for us elevate customer experience...
Subset of quotes from Employees and Guests:
- When are you rolling this out to other properties: SEV patron
- I have greeted about 40-50 guests this morning - its almost overwhelming: Casino Manager
- The guest experience is so positive!!: Slot Director
This project is just one of the many initiatives successfully implemented by the Emerging Technology Team leveraging leading/bleeding edge technologies to solve critical business pain points in 3 months or less!!!
About Your Organization
Caesars Entertainment is the world’s most geographically diversified casino-entertainment company. With a foundation built on providing great service, excellent products and unsurpassed service to our guests, Caesars Entertainment has become a global leader in gaming and hospitality, operating resorts and casinos on three continents.