Tracking and analyzing customer interactions, and then using that data to invent more opportunities for customers to interact with you—and provide still more data—is the name of the customer service game. Tim Stanley, CIO and senior vice president of innovation and gaming at Harrah's, says he has to understand what customers do when they visit a Harrah's casino or hotel or entertainment complex so that he and his colleagues can devise new ways to entice them back.
Harrah's often combines its proprietary data with information from other marketing sources. For example, Bermuda and Macau are hot vacation destinations now and Harrah's is building hotels and other facilities in both spots, he says. Stanley spoke at the Society for Information Management annual conference in Memphis in October.
The company is also working on what Stanley dubs "interactive CRM," for customer relationship management in real time. For example, slot machines at some Harrah's properties now have menus of activities on a touch screen that let Total Rewards players electronically order drinks, play music and watch TV while they gamble. And of course Harrah's is banking those activities and correlating them with specific customers, to tailor future marketing efforts.
Gambling and entertainment, Stanley notes, aren't products like food and clothing—necessary expenditures for consumers. "You have no reason to see us," he says. "It's purely discretionary."