Harrah’s casino is doing something right for customers

Harrah’s Entertainment is a good example of a company that needed to do something fundamentally different in order to survive in the cut throat environment of casinos. Like many companies have done before it, Harrah’s decided to model its customer service after successful companies in other industries such as Nordtroms and Starbucks; this helped revolutionized the way it did business in each and every one of its locations. While other casinos paid most of their attention to the high roller customers, Harrah’s shifted its focus from mainly high roller customers to every customer with distinct level differentiations.

The key changes included
• treating customers not as transactional entities, but as relationship entities
• developing a core competency in deep data mining and decision-science marketing

Harrah’s understood the importance of creating and maintaining loyal customers in order to secure repeat visits and possibly more stable streams of revenue. In the casino business, this can be achieved by treating your best customers with the utmost customer service. For Harrah’s, the best customers were the loyal customers, not always the biggest spenders. In addition, Harrah’s developed technology that could extract invaluable consumer behavior from all sorts of already collected data. The company was able to be one step ahead of the customer by anticipating their demands. The idea was to fulfill extrinsic customer satisfaction rather than intrinsic customer satisfaction.

The business environment has so many competitors that one would often wonder why a particular customer would stay loyal to any company/brand. The answer lies with what the customers’ needs (besides the actual product or service itself) are. Companies need to take a step back and focus on its core competencies and strategy. It is not enough for a company to make short-term revenue targets if long-term goals are put into jeopardy. Harrah’s has proven this point many times. In addition, the right tools and people for the most part need to be in place to do some of the answering. A crystal ball does not exist that can help predict the future, but historical data and personal feedback can help be a good start. In conclusion, all that successful companies have in common is that they never lost sight of providing distinguishable customer service.

Sophia Perl

Sophia Perl is a product manager for a database tool at IBM. She has over 10 years of software development and management experience. Sophia holds a BS in Computer Science from University of Southern California and an MBA from University of California at Davis. She is the creator of iPhone apps PicPredict and Eventabulous.

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