Would You Like Fries with Your Roulette Payout?
After several hours of unsuccessfully trying to tilt luck in his favor, chasing his favorite numbers, a roulette player finally hits his big payout for the night. The Dealer announces the winning number, “17 black and odd," to the delight of the table - while the big winner is high-fiving everyone around.
Curious onlookers are making their way to the lucky table, and the Supervisor approaches the table to assist the Dealer in calculating the payout.
The player has been playing color at a $5 value and playing ~100 chips per spin. Now was the moment to reap the reward as the lucky ‘17’ finally hit.
The Dealer focuses on calculating the somewhat complex combinations of different amounts of straight-up, split, and corner chips on the winning number and exchanges a few different numbers with the Supervisor until they both come to a consensus and announce the payout as the total number of pieces: “727 pieces!”
Then, the Dealer also asks the winner, “What would you like?”
The question “What would you like?” referred to what kind of value/color combination the customer would like to receive, and, in appearance, it could be seen as part of customer service. The Dealer, however, may also be attempting to buy time to figure out this part of the equation himself or simply for self-assurance.
Next at the table: the celebration suddenly dissipates. With the question "What would you like?" the Dealer shifted the focus from the celebratory mood by asking the customer a mathematical question. The Player is estimating his total $$ winnings and tries an answer:
“I’ll take 8 purples” ($500 chips).
The Dealer and the Supervisor both smile for the first time that evening, sharing the camaraderie of both knowing what 8 x $500 is, and telling the customer that it’s a bit too much:
“8 purples is $4,000, Sir, and your winning amounts to less than that."
The Player then settles for the next number below 8 and says:
“I’ll have 7 purples, then?”
Next, the Dealer proceeds to pay 7x$500 value purple chips plus 27 non-value color chips.The Player then spreads the 27 color chips on the layout for the next spin, loses, and walks away.
“Would You Like Fries with That?”
…McDonald’s famous cross-sell tactic
It is well known how the innovative McDonald’s trained their staff to ask if a customer wanted to order fries if they didn’t already order them with their burger. This way, McDonald's cleverly provides an opportunity for the customer to say yes, allowing McDonald’s to increase their revenues and profit margins by completing a burger with fries. Simple and effective.
Vs. “What Would You Like?”
…Dealers asking the players to configure the payouts for them
While McDonald's is successful with their catchphrase because they know most people like French fries as a side with their burgers (thus providing an element of customer service while increasing profits), we achieve the opposite effect when we ask the "What would you like?" question at the casino tables. Customer service may be affected, while profits can also be eroded directly or indirectly:
- Directly: when (as in our story above) the player is not provided with their usual amount of chips to bet (our player was betting ~100 chips/spin, and the Dealer only provided him with 27 color chips) and hoarding the high denom value chips walked away from the table.
- Indirectly: even if our winner was not to walk away and wanted to continue playing, he would have had to throw back some of the $500 chips just received for a check-change, thus causing unnecessary transactions and further slowing down the game.
While it is tempting to assume that the Dealer is providing customer service when asking this question, we have to contemplate whether the scenario described above may or may not be happening on our gaming floor. In essence, the question “What would you like?” transfers the burden of ‘paying to the action’ from the trained professional to the untrained customer, with no benefit to either the customer or the casino.
- The player is asked a mathematical question while happy and in a celebratory mood
- The player in the story above guessed an answer and got it wrong, at which point the Dealer and the Supervisor found an opportunity to assert that they are the mathematicians at the table
- The player was provided with a lesser quantity of ‘playable’ chips, below his previous average wager
- The player's likelihood of ending the playing session increases as the Dealer did not provide surplus chips.
Of course, a player's request for certain value chips has to be accommodated; however, Dealers must find opportunities to configure payouts that generate chip surplus as per each player’s betting patterns. However, as a Dealer and Supervisor, we must strive to find the opportunities that arise to deliver payouts that generate chip surplus.
Generally, Dealers demonstrating self-awareness are looking for these opportunities, observing customers’ betting patterns to make an adequate payout structure. Often, though, by asking the "what would you like?" question, they automatically constrain themselves.
Good customer service is having the Dealers aware of the playback potential after celebrating a large win, by giving the opportunity to play back an above-average bet on the next wager. Our patrons are visiting us for the entertainment and the gaming action, and not for the burden of telling us how to prepare their payouts.
We provided just one example of how customer service can be hampered by either prematurely ending a playing session or if there is no end to the playing session, the inefficiencies in dealing the game.
Small changes with big impact in our table games operations can be found everywhere, and we will address in future articles, a few examples on quantifying how little sometimes it takes to achieve win-win situations where we can provide better customer service and - in the process - achieve better financial results.
At Tangam, we are at the core of prescriptive analytics to transform how operators get the most out of their gaming floor, blending a wealth of knowledge in software development, data science, machine learning, visualization, and casino operations best practices.
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With nearly 20 years of casino experience, Victor has worked at various Canadian casinos where he trained staff and managed both table games and slots operations. At Tangam, he helps clients all over the world implement data-driven management of table games spreads and pricing on the gaming floor to achieve their revenue management objectives.