Slots of value analysis in a time for reflection

Slots of value analysis in a time for reflection

Slots of value analysis in a time for reflection

Reflections on how to use slots analysis to provide value to your slots floor, your slots customers and your slots team

(Published in Infinity Gaming Magazine May 2020)

With Casinos all over the world in lock down, now is a good time to reflect on what might add real value to your operations moving forward, and in the age of big data the seemingly endless bytes, rivers and oceans of data can make it easy to lose track of our values and become overwhelmed by so much raw information and the challenge of turning it into something actionable that will maximize productivity and ultimately increase the bottom line. The definition of analysis is simple enough to understand and might read something like, “a detailed examination of anything in order to understand its nature or to determine its essential features.” The word “essential” is key as too much data is not necessarily a good thing, yet operators continue to fail to act effectively as they get swept away by the demons of procrastination and their pursuit of unattainable perfection. The results of slot analysis should always be aimed toward attracting, retaining and maximizing the value that your slot operation generates for your customer. The following is an “essential” and simple guide for successfully turning data into value that will meet and exceed both customer and financial expectations

Slots staff performance – Without buy-in from you staff you will have a lot of headaches while trying to add a value to your customer experience. A motivated, appreciated and engaged staff that take a real sense of pride in what they do and will always echo the message of your brand in their performance and interactions with your customers. To create consistent value for your customers your staff need to see the value in what you do. Induction training and a once a year evaluation is simply not enough to succeed in today’s competitive landscape. Casino management systems offer a great deal of data that’s relative to staff performance such as service call response times and using this data effectively will help strengthen your team. Other sources of useful data can come from Mystery shoppers, customer surveys and from social media sites. This kind of data is used as in a proactive way of improving performance and making it an integral part of your business improvement strategy. Regular staff evaluations and ongoing training and testing are other effective ways of measuring your team’s performance and consistency and will help to ensure they deliver the service that your customers expect.

Slots floor Operational analysis – Any slot manager worth their title will tell you how much they hate machine downtown and how they don’t look forward to hearing the wrath of discontent customers and Casino GM’s that downtime causes. Slots managers will do whatever it takes to banish downtime from the casino floor and purge it from the building because a broken-down slot machine gives zero value to the customer. I’ll repeat it again, a broken-down slot machines gives zero value to the customer! Just as important as a well-trained staff is having the necessary controls, preventive maintenance programs and procedures in place to minimize the effects of downtime on a consistent basis. The best casino management systems will capture the relative data and send custom alerts to your workstation, directly to your handheld device via wi-fi or straight to your email inbox. CMS systems also provide additional data such as slot attendant response times and user statistics. An affective slots floor analysis can and will provide you with a more productive slots staff, less machine downtime, happy customers and, last but not least, a happy boss.   

Slots revenue analysis – This area has to be one of my favorite areas of slot management and from someone who started out by taking handwritten meter readings, and manually entering them into a spreadsheet, there are no words to express my appreciation for the advancement of Casino management system and other analytical tools such as Qlik, Python, RStudio and Tableau. The first step towards successful revenue analytics is to determine what you want to achieve from your data analysis and if it will add value to my customer experience. The second step is to identify the essential KPI’s that will help you achieve your analytical goals and finally, you will need the necessary tools and skillset to achieve your goals in as short a time as possible. Most systems produce standard slots revenue reports that, unfortunately, will seldom meet all your requirements. Some systems have a “build your own report” module included with their basic package but some of these tools lack the flexibility to justify their use. Systems providers will also offer a BI package which can prove to be an expensive option, but there are other less expensive alternatives available. Basic slots systems data such as total wagered and total won are broken down by using specific KPI’s such as daily coin in per unit, daily actual win per unit and daily theoretical win per unit. These KPI ‘s can then be used to further breakdown the data by filtering it into groups based on a set criterion such as game type, denomination, and average bet. The filtering possibilities are huge, and they got a whole lot better with the introduction of AI which will tell the operator what their next value proposition should be before they even think of asking.

Slots player analysis – without your customers, you would have nothing, no income, no product, and no future so it’s safe to say that analyzing customer details is an essential part of capturing, retaining and optimizing you slots play. Expecting to succeed in a competitive market without understanding your players would be like entering a bicycle into a formula one car race and expecting the bicycle to win. You just wouldn’t do it! As with slots data, CMS technology has enabled operators to take player data to a whole new level of personalization. It’s no longer about simply capturing play, visitation frequency and a street address, it’s about linking the player’s account to capture entire new sets of data for everything from hotel reservation information to taste in dining, shopping habits, golf tee-off times, favorite casino promotions,  favorite slot games and much, much more. Analysts use this data to help create target specific marketing campaigns while slots managers use it to add an extra dimension to their slot analysis and extra value to their slots floor by giving players what they want, when they want it and before they even walk through the door.

Competitor analysis – Your competition is watching you! They are watching you and doing a microscopic SWOT analysis of your operation with a gigantic analytical emphasis on your weaknesses. They monitor your social media posts and customer comments, they send in spies to evaluate your customer service standards and eagerly report your latest slot floor changes and the effectiveness of your promotions. Their goal is simple and that is to turn even the most irrelevant detail into quantifiable warfare. But what they don’t know is that you’re one step ahead and already have a plan in place to outsell and outsmart them on every level from free play to free stays and from lightning fast customer service to life changing jackpots, because you know the value that your customers demand. You have the best of everything, and you walk with a sense of being invincible, but then you suddenly realize that you can’t recall the last time you analyzed the market including your competitors who just walked passed you. Successful change is about being able to adapt quickly and in order to achieve this the best operators make analyzing the competition a part of their modus operandi.

Conclusion – The power of analytics and A.I. continues to grow and to survive and remain relevant, casino operators have to grow with it. All operators have the same amount of time to compete with each other on any given day and those who choose to use their time procrastinating and asking the wrong kind of questions will be the ones that get eaten up by the faster, and not necessarily the bigger fish. Asking the right kind of specific questions and using all areas of your slots operation to harness the power of analytics in a structured and easily understandable format will ultimately help you understand your customers, and when your customers feel understood and feel an emotional connection to your property then you’ll have achieved the value that will lead to slots of success.

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