Friday, February 6, 2015

Disappointing Customer Service

As those of you follow me on Twitter or follow my Facebook page know, I've been in Vegas since late last week.  I am returning to L.A. on Monday, and after that, I hope to return to some serious blogging.  Not only have I scored a good number of good tales to tell from this current trip thus far, but I still have many anecdotes from my month-long stay here in December to blab about.

But I've been especially busy with work assignments while here, thus leaving no time for me to write for fun to this point.  I just turned in not one but two articles for Ante Up last night (or this morning, really).  So I'm hoping I can knock this out quickly and get back to work. Fortunately, I am known for my ability to get to the point quickly without a lot of unnecessary exposition. 

Because I have two other jobs in the poker biz, for Ante Up and PokerAtlas, I have to be careful telling this tale.  If I only had this blog and no professional associations with poker rooms around the country, I might just name names and blast away at this casino with reckless abandon.  But I have a relationship with the manager of this poker room, he or she is a great person and I continue to wish his or her poker room all the best.

No point in guessing the room, I will never confirm it.  Just for clarity, however, I will point out one room this is definitely not about...BSC.  I know too much about that room and also the casino for anything like this to have taken place there.  Besides, they all know me there and for that reason alone I would have been treated a lot better there.

No, this took place in a casino somewhere in North America.  That's as close as I'll narrow it down.  I happened to be in the vicinity recently and decided to play at Casino X for the evening. They have a restaurant there that I've eaten at before that I like, and even better, I had enough comps to pay for the meal.  Let's call it the ABC Tamales & Sushi Canteen because everyone knows how much I love tamales and sushi.

It was about 6:30PM on a weekday evening and I went over there first before the poker.  I was surprised to see the place deserted.  There was no sign indicating it was closed, but there was just a bench blocking the entrance.  It was dark and empty.  I was surprised and it actually appeared to me that it was possible that the restaurant next to it, a Thai place, might be in the process of expanding into the space inhabited by ABC.

I remembered the poker room advertising that they provided food service from ABC T&S Canteen so I knew the poker room would know what was going on.  I had actually googled the restaurant to see if there was a news story about the place closing, and there was not.  

There were two people manning the front desk at the poker room, a guy in a suit, who was probably running the room, and a guy in a dealer's uniform.  The dealer asked how he could help me.  The guy in the suit ignored me.  I asked, "What's going on with ABC?"

He started to point and give me directions to it.  I said I was just there and it appeared to be closed. He expressed surprise. I believe his exact words were "Oh." I expected him to offer some further help. He might have asked the guy in the suit standing next to him if he knew why ABC was closed.  He might have made a phone call to see what was going on.  He might have suggested an alternative place for me to eat offering similar food.  Afterall, Tamale & Sushi restaurants are a dime a dozen, right?  I'm sure the casino had five other similar places.

He just turned away from and then did an excellent job of ignoring me.  I looked over at the guy in the suit who I was sure had heard the conversation, who continued to do what he had done from the second I approached the desk, which was ignore me.

I suppose I could have gotten his attention and asked if he knew what was going on with ABC.  But I decided not to bother.  If neither one of these individuals was interested in helping me, I reasoned that this poker room didn't want my business.  I had plenty of alternatives.  And neither of them was going to magically make the Tamales & Sushi place suddenly open for business.

I moved on, found another place to eat and then play poker.  When I got back to my computer, I wrote an email describing my experience to the poker room manager.  I did that as a favor to him or her.  Surely he or she would want to know that his employees were treating potential customers this way.

He/she couldn't have been more apologetic.  He/she explained to me that the restaurant recently changed its hours and it was closed on this particular day. But he/she said that the hours of the place are on the menu they use in the poker room and there was no excuse for the person I spoke to not knowing that they were closed this evening.

The poker room manager thanked me for reporting this, and said it will definitely be a training issue to use for the staff.  The manager offered me a comped meal at the eatery anytime I wanted.

I am in a bit of a quandary as to whether or not to accept the offer. I will definitely give the room another chance, but I don't want it to seem like I only wrote the email to the manager to get some kind of goody.  That was not my attention at all.  I might feel a little guilty now about taking up the offer.

But I have to applaud the manager's rapid response to my concern, and I'd be willing to bet he/she would have had the same response to any such complaint, even if he/she didn't know me from PokerAtlas and Ante Up.

I also suggested to the manager that he/she talk to someone in the casino to suggest they put a sign up at the front of the restaurant listing their hours, perhaps saying, "Sorry we missed you. We re-open for business...."  Sadly, considering how poker is treated in general in casinos, it's unlikely the casino will pay any attention to a poker room manager's pleas.

It was a very frustrating experience.  But let's face, everyone has bad days.  That dealer at the desk may just have been having one.  And maybe the guy in the suit didn't notice me.  A guy who looks like Costanza could be easy not to notice.

The poker room manager did right by me, and I will not hold it against the room.




21 comments:

  1. If ur only asking about a restaraunt and werent a poker customer its not right to force the issue. Not fair to others who might want to sign the list without waiting. Their jobs to run the pokeroom not the restaraunt

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    1. Well, there was no one else within 100 yards of the the poker podium when I was there. And the guy there never gave me enough time to mention that I wanted to play poker afterward or that I knew this restaurant was the one they used for food service.

      In a casino everyone who is there is a potential customer. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen people go up to a poker person in various poker rooms to ask where the showroom, the restaurant, the restroom, etc is. They are always responded to respectfully. It's basic customer service.

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    2. Tony schoolin this douchebag. You really have no business in the poker industry to begin with, yet try and throw your "weight" around.

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  2. F - - - - - no boobies. teasing about relationships with poker mgrs like bukake or what??

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    1. Couldn't find an appropriate boobie pic that had to do with customer service. But I wasn't really motivated since you haven't commented much on the boobie pics lately.

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    2. WTW?? Twin Peak Restuarant or Tilted Kilt mayb??

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    3. Lucki Duck still posts hot chicks. just saying

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    4. True but he usually finds pics that are sports related to go with his handicapping tips.

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  3. Rob you just pointed out that customer service is down and that is the problem in a lot of Casinos these days. Like you said it may be an isolated incidence but when it happens so frequently you see why business is off. I have quit playing in a lot of places because they treat you like they do not need your action. I guess that is why so many small casinos are closing there card rooms now. They can get people to play slots and do not want to pay people to deal card games any more.

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    1. It's not just poker rooms, not just casinos....customer service is bad pretty much nationwide, perhaps world wide. It's a bad problem. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I dunno -- seems like poor service, but also seems like maybe you overreacted a tad? Don't know why you wouldn't take the comp. That is the manager's tangible effort to square things. Kudos to the manager for his/her job performance.

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    1. Me overreact?

      Are you f***ing kidding me?

      I never overreact.

      I NEVER F***ING OVERREACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      OK, perhaps just a tad. Funny thing is that if I had written the post right after I left the place and if I wasn't worried about my standing the biz, it would have been a lot nastier rant, to be sure. This is tame.

      Agreed, the manager came thru like a champ.

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  5. Take the comp. You pointed out a legit issue, and its been accepted and dealt with. The manager obviously values the customer service part of the job, and is also taking steps to deal with it. No issue for you.

    In other news, I was nearly working in Anaheim next week, and early arrival (paid by work !) would of got me a free weekend in Vegas, but alas other things back here workwise have made me make the sad (bad) decision to not travel. Such is life !

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    1. Thanks, Ben. Too bad you passed on the Vegas trip. I assume the Anaheim thing was a trip to Disneyland? That's a great two-fer. Disneyland followed by Disneyland for adults!

      I will probably take the comp next visit, thanks.

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    2. Apparently about a mile from Disney, but no, I will not be donning a mouse outfit for work. We are hosting a conference in the area regarding hard core chemicals (not those sort Anger !......)

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  6. This is a reason why I sometimes feel a little uncomfortable asking for help. I often feel like I'm bothering employees when I want to ask for something simple. Of course if I need comps or something I'll ask anyway, but I hate it when people working in the room look like they would rather talk to someone else or even stare at the wall instead of help me out.

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    1. Also this reminds me of a time when I was standing in front of a podium for maybe as long as more than 2 minutes while a couple of employees were a short distance and chatting away while facing in my direction, so they obviously must have seen me. Gee, I'm sorry for bothering you guys but all I wanted to do was ask for food comps.

      Sometimes people almost make me feel like I'm the one that is doing something wrong because I get the feeling that I'm bothering them. Fortunately most cases aren't like this, but it still happens more often than I'd like.

      Steve007

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    2. Thanks, Steve. I assume you were the first Anony commenter too?

      Yeah, it's awful when they make you feel like they are doing you a huge favor just doing their job.

      In my case, the guy was doing absolutely nothing when I spoke to him, could have easily taken another few seconds to try to help, didn't want to bother.

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    3. Yes I wrote both comments. I talk a lot online but I'm actually shy in person so it's more awkward for me than most if I feel like I'm bothering someone.

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  7. It is true that what happens to the restaurant is beyond their job but they should have been more approachable since they are talking with a potential customer.

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    1. Thanks, yes the point is had the guy not turned away so fast, I might have been able to add, "I'm going to come back to play some poker here when I finish eating." And again, I point out that although the poker folks have no control over the restaurant, the poker room does advertise that this particular restaurant services the poker room, and it is the ONLY poker room in a pretty big casino that apparently services the poker room. He should know a little bit about the restaurant.

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