Asian customers are becoming more and more important in casinos around the world. But to effectively cater to this market, operators must dig into the culture and make sure that your employees are treating the customers with respect.
Understanding the “High and Low Context Culture” is a fundamental subject to discuss when we talk about the things that you need to know about your Asian patrons.
Consider the following:
1. Asians are more formal than Americans.
For Asians this formality becomes very important in society, in the business world and at home.
2. Asians’ emotions are more controlled.
Perhaps Asians may hide their emotions more than Americans do.
3. Americans’ communication is generally clearly stated.
Asian communication is more subtle, more suggestive, non-verbal. It is almost like reading between the lines.
4. Motives are indirectly expressed by Asians.
The Asian way is definitely more suggestive and indirect. Sometimes rather than asking people what they want, they will make suggestions.
5. Asians establish social trust first.
Asians establish social trust first while Americans get down to business first.
6. In general Asians are more superstitious when they gamble.
It is very important to understand and accept the superstitions that are related to gaming. Our industry promotes good luck and most of the Asian players believe in some form of superstition, which is directly related to good luck. Whether you believe in superstitions related to gaming or not, we must understand and respect what our patrons believe. It does not harm anyone. Understanding and some knowledge about the Asian player’s superstitions associated with gaming, which will definitely help your employees when they service Asian patrons.
7. Asians do not complain.
Some casino executives might have the impression that Asian players do not complain very much. Yes, they may seem too polite to complain or to argue with you. But the truth is that most Asian players don’t voice their objections because of language issues that Asian players have. If they are not satisfied with your service, they simply will not return to your property. You need to be aware of the needs of Asian players or they may choose to take their business to your competitors.
It is an essential strategic effort to train and educate your employees for gaming related aspects of Asian beliefs and behaviors. The cultural diversity, especially among different Asian nations is a multi-faceted complicated subject. Since Asian business becomes an important segment of casino revenue, it definitely makes a lot of sense to train and educate our employees with gaming related diversity training including managing language barriers. It will make a difference and it will set your property apart from your competitors.
In my humble opinion, the basics for Asian customer services are your employees’ attitudes toward Asian customers. The right attitude! It means our willingness to help assist our patrons. It means that I know my job role and I know why I am here. It means that I am ready to serve you. It means that our customer service is proactive, not reactive. Our casino employees must practice proactive attitudes with courteous manner, respect, patience and professionalism. Respect is one of the most basic customer service skills.
At the same time, our casino employees should recognize language barrier issues and they should understand the importance of their body language, the universal language. For example, many of you have visited a foreign country and their body language becomes one way of judging their friendliness and their willingness to assist you or not. Your first impression begins with their body language. We can express our happiness, anger, sorrow, and our concern without saying a word. Body language is the most powerful language, a universal language we could speak, especially when you are not able to communicate well. Not being able to speak English well or not at all does not make any patron less of a customer for us. Not being able to speak English is a “handicap,” and then we should take care of these customers with more patience and extra care and attention.
Therefore, understanding and respecting diversity is very important. Just like Americans want others to understand and respect the American way of life and what you value the most, so do Asians want their way of life valued. Proper awareness training will help your hard working employees to service your Asian customers better.
The bottom line is, regardless of the cultural background or the languages they speak, our customers all expect the best customer services from you and your commitment to satisfy customer’s needs. They will become your valuable loyal customers and new customers will find you too.
Thomas Lim is an Asian marketing specialist working with CDC Consulting. He has worked with Sun International, Harrah’s Entertainment, the Mohegan Sun and the Trump Organization in international marketing positions. He can be reached at 1-702-277-2780 or at Thomaslim@earthlink.net.