Diamonds in the Data Mine

October 29, 2009

This is an interesting companion piece to the article regarding Gary Loveman’s hiring at Harrah’s. I really like how Loveman thought outside the box and reinvented the casino loyalty rewards program at Harrah’s to focus in on bringing in new customers and maintaining its regular customers. Of course the idea of treating customers differently is not new—airlines and hotels do this all the time—but it was nonetheless a really smart idea to try applying this to casinos. One of the really great things here is how Loveman recognized the veritable pot of gold he had in the data collected from the old loyalty program and then decided to take that data and use it to design a program based on the airline/hotel loyalty rewards programs. It is an idea so simple that I am shocked no one else had thought of it, but sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones.

An interesting point not mentioned in the article is that, when you build customer loyalty like Harrah’s has done, the customers themselves help build your business through word of mouth. Here, Harrah’s has focused on customer service—even going so far as to tie employee bonuses to their property’s service rating—and, as a result has helped ensure their customers have a better experience. They have also started rewarding repeat visitors with chips and service incentives that match up with what they enjoy doing at the casino. As a result, you have happy, loyal customers. And, you know those customers are going to spread the word about the great treatment they got at Harrah’s to their friends, family, and coworkers, which means those folks are more likely to start frequenting Harrah’s as well and they in turn will spread the word to their friends and family. That, of course, is exactly what you want to happen when you are looking to build your customer base and your bottom line.

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