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Simplifying the customer experience can lead to long-term customer loyalty and brand advocacy. And that is certainly the case for Caesars Entertainment Corporation.
Loyalty360 caught up with Michael Marino, Senior Vice President of Loyalty and Digital at Caesars Entertainment Corporation, to discuss the company’s efforts around its loyalty program and CX initiatives.
Can you talk about Caesars’ efforts around CX, customer loyalty, and customer engagement and how they have changed and/or progressed in the past year or two?
A key company objective is to make it easier for customers to do business with us. In Total Rewards, Caesars Entertainment’s loyalty program, we’ve simplified our partner relationships from many broad relationships to fewer, more meaningful partners. We’ve also tried to provide guests with options to earn credits and build status with Total Rewards on days when they aren’t able to visit our properties. We like the phrase: “Anywhere, Anytime.”
On Caesars.com, we’ve focused on optimizing conversion. We know the digital customer likes an experience that is easy holistically–from purchase to check-in. Initiatives such as mobile responsive websites and a heavily-tested purchase path have elevated our former “brochure” websites.
Another new development is that we’ve embraced strategic content marketing initiatives as a means of influencing potential leads, and to create advocacy and word of mouth.
How important is listening to your customers, and how do you leverage those insights for any of your CX/customer loyalty/customer engagement initiatives?
Listening to our customers is extremely important.
We proactively seek customer opinions through our in-house Consumer Insights team, which we use to help us launch promotions and grow the scale of our Total Rewards loyalty program through partner relationships. We also have created Caesars Circle, a group of engaged, outspoken and honest guests, which we use in a more informal way to assess how customers will react to Total Rewards enhancements and changes.
Additionally, we listen to the feedback our customers provide us on social channels. We recently created a Reputation Management team and have aligned it with our contact center to ensure the online customer believes Caesars is responsive to questions and concerns.
How do you define customer loyalty and how has that definition changed or evolved in recent years?
The simple definition of customer loyalty is that a guest will choose your product or service above others at the same price, and often at a premium. To build customer loyalty, the company must exceed customer expectations every time and anticipate customer needs. A brand must surprise and delight our customers and make everything easy. If the experience doesn’t match the expectation, customers leave unsatisfied.
The big difference between today and the past is that an unsatisfied customer now has a forum to tell their story and influence thousands of other potential customers. Today’s digital landscape allows the customer to express sentiment across multiple channels. Online reputation can make or break a company. We have always been focused on making our product the absolute best on the ground, but now we listen and respond to customers on social channels to learn where we can improve and to perform service recoveries when needed. We’ve found that an efficient response to a guest issue often can lead to an even more positive view of the company than a guest who didn’t have any issues on their trip.
What trends do you see or foresee regarding digital customer engagement themes?
With the evolution of social media, digital communication, and the speed of news to consumers, customer loyalty has become a much more frequent and interactive relationship. There is a need to develop creative content to keep our customers engaged with and excited about Total Rewards from purchase to checkout.
The biggest change is the amount of marketing interaction we now do while the guest is in market. Our marketing objective historically was “drive the trip” and once the customer arrived, it was the job of the property to provide “service with a smile”. That handoff is no longer happening. We’re creating experiences with our Guest while they are in Market through our PlaybyTR App and through guest mobile devices. We’re learning how and when to talk to our Guests while they are with us, especially our Loyalty customers from Check–in to Check-out.
What do you think is the most effective customer engagement tool and why?
Our business doesn’t have a silver bullet. We have customers who still prefer engaging with us via the mailbox, and I don’t mean the one on your computer, tablet, or phone. For many of our customers, their preferred engagement is to pick up the phone and call one of our VIP hosts. We’ve found that to engage our guests, we need to have a comprehensive omnichannel approach which enables us to personalize our engagement approach.
However, if I had to choose one today which we are seeing the most growth, I would say Mobile Marketing. If you can make your mobile experience fast, compelling, easy and as foolproof as possible, customer engagement will increase and the website will ultimately convert at a higher rate. People are increasingly searching for what to do on mobile. One of our main goals is to make it easy for them to commit once they find what they are looking for.
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