Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lamarra, Tanner, Cummings & Pricci

Tom Lamarra gets kudos for breaking the barrier. He writes about the California situation here.

I received a note from Kate at the USTA regarding my post about "CRM" and my feeling we lack it in racing. She forwarded an editorial from Mike Tanner, President of the USTA, that agreed.

"We need to gather a significant amount of demographic and psychographic data, and then use technology to organize and synchronize our business processes to effectively deliver a message that will resonate. It’s called Customer Relationship Management. Getting started isn’t cheap, but if done correctly, it can be very effective. Want proof? The casinos live and breathe it." he typed.


"Knowing our current fan base can also tell us who our potential customers might be, where we might find them, and how we might best connect with them." he said.

I met and listened to Mike at a wagering conference and I came away impressed. He, like Kaplan at SC, are a part of age-old institutions who lived and thrived in a monopolistic time. We all realize (or we should) that good people work in these places that realize we need to change. The thing they have to do most is: convince the people who don't think we have to, that we do. When horseplayers and horse owners get frustrated with that leadership and fly off the handle when things don't move, I hope they pause for a moment and realize that. It is a very tough sell. Think newspapers of 2002 when the same things we were warning about with racing five years ago are not fixed today.

Brad Cummings and John Pricci are having an Internet tete a tete on customer service. It's a bit of a weird one though, in my opinion, because they both essentially agree. John is not saying "customer service for the racegoer" is bad. Brad is not saying "takeout reductions are not a part of service." But they are tangling a little (which is not a bad thing, both have class and respect for each other).

In my old days of studying service through courses etc, we were constantly barraged by "PMCE's" - the goal of any organization is giving your customer "positive memorable customer experiences". That involves price and service and they go hand in hand. Your goal will hopefully not only get that person to come back, but to tell friends too. Example that I gave: You walk into a store, you are greeted nicely, it's clean and welcoming. The sales staff is courteous and everything works very well in the store. You buy something and go to the cash where you are greeted with a smile and a "scratch and save coupon" for 5-40% off your purchase as a promo. That's a PMCE, and that is something that racing should strive for, whether online or elsewhere. Take your customer through the process of going to buy, then giving them a break on their purchase where they get greater value for their money. It's not either or, it is part in parcel the same thing.

For a racetrack it might work like this: You get a $10 buffet (like Kelly and the crew do at Grand River). Your waiters are first class and you are treated well. You are given between race entertainment like they do. But throw in a John Pricci twist of a takeout reduction. At the end of the fifth race, all your tickets that are losers can be thrown in a SAM machine and given 5% of their value. All money has to be rebet. Some of that money will be winning tickets and people will leave happy. The next day at the office they say to coworkers: "I went to Grand River and had a great meal, was treated well, and in the fifth race I used my losing tickets to bet and I hit a tri for $300. It was "free"!!!!

That's a PMCE, with Pricci and Brad teaming up to make a happy consumer. The good thing about the price reduction though - it's rebet - whereas a purchase at a store is not.


The Meadowlands Survival Challenge is up. It is always very popular with harness players. Sign up if interested.

Meadowlands ups Pick 4 guarantee to $75k

Allan has some notes on the fair start rule he has been working on.

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