Social channels are becoming a huge customer engagement vehicle for Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

As such, Michael Marino, senior vice president of loyalty and digital at Caesars, told Loyalty360 that there has been a major shift in focus to content.

How are you using new media / social media differently today than a year ago, and how do you see it changing over the next year? 

Marino: More customers are interacting with our social media channels than they were in past years. Increasingly, guests are relying on social media as a conduit for quick responses to customer service issues or inquiries. It is also an essential piece of brand building and a chance to have our customers advocate for us. The endorsement of a friend or family member is a powerful tool to gain new followers and fans. 

Right now, I think you are seeing a lot of companies using social media the same as a digital display banner. I think you will see more social campaigns that focus on brand and community building through compelling content. We have shifted our focus to content heavily over the last year and will continue to expand these efforts. Today, we generate a significant amount of media value from our social channels.

How do you measure customer experience/customer loyalty? 

Marino: We value customer loyalty through our loyalty program, Total Rewards. As customers interact more with our program, they earn Tier Credits, which ladder up to our four loyalty tiers. The higher a customer climbs, the more benefits the customer receives from our program. Separate from that, we have a number of recency and value metrics that help us understand when customers are developing an affinity for us, or are showing early signs of defection. 

We measure customer experience through a variety of methods. Prior to arrival, we look at cart abandonment and conversion rates. During their stay, we have begun using a chatbot to assess in-trip satisfaction. Post-trip, we provide guests with a comprehensive survey to share how we performed. These service scores are included in the measurable objectives for every property level employee. We also partake in social listening and monitor third-party travel sites such as TripAdvisor. Lastly, we make sure to read all verbatims and emails that come from our guests.

How are you leveraging mobile to create better customer experiences and drive loyalty with your audience?

Marino: We have invested heavily in our mobile experience over the past two years and have seen very strong engagement. Our contact strategy, specifically email and web, is mobile optimized to make sure our customers have the experience they are looking for no matter what device they are using. We’ve seen double-digit increases in our mobile web conversion rates each of the past two years. 

Separately, we’ve developed our industry-leading mobile app, play by Total Rewards, which has close to 1 million users. Our customers love the ability to check their credit balances and sort through all of their offers anytime, anywhere. Last, we launched a chatbot in a few of our properties as a way to provide an enhanced experience to guests staying with us. Customers have raved about the technology–who wouldn’t want to text to make dinner reservations and receive extra towels?

What is involved with the challenge of personalization? 

Marino: The hardest part about personalization is the heightened expectation it’s created with our customers. When we get it right, the customer is thrilled. However, the next time we send the customer a mass communication they don’t want, they are frustrated. It’s a delicate balance between building awareness and giving customers exactly what they think they want. To truly nail personalization, a brand must act with speed to react to customers changing preferences and changing stages in their customer journey. It’s important to really understand a guest to make the impression we strive to make when we personalize a communication, experience, or interaction. Sometimes data flows and system, or regulatory, limitations make this difficult.

What are the biggest benefits you receive and challenges you face with surveying and/or listening to customers? Is how you listen to your customers changing? If so, how?

Marino: We receive information from customers who care deeply about our product and how they interact with it. We take their feedback as gospel and have a number of KPIs that are dependent on what our customers have to say. A challenge that we face is that customers don’t always know what they want, or say what they feel. The majority of the feedback we receive is from a polarized group; customers who either had an exceptional or underwhelming experience.

Experiences can get lost in translation. It’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to some of the things we hear, therefore, it’s important that we take a measured approach to how we handle the information we receive which factors in the tremendous amount of behavioral data that we collect on our customers.

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