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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Secrets of better customer service outlined in books

31 January 2008

If you are now employed in the casino industry or are planning to join that workforce, whether at the gaming tables or in a restaurant or bar, the following three books can help increase your tokes.

Sally Fowler's one of a kind How to Become a Casino Cocktail Waitress: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Success in the Casino Industry (107 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $19.95) is must-reading for anyone hoping to break into this potentially lucrative field. First published 25 years ago and updated in 1993, it remains must-reading because it starts with some crucial basic information such as the differences between serving in the craps or baccarat pit compared to the poker room or slot area before digging deeper into the needed skills. Fowler presents key survival techniques for making it through on your first day on the job, methods for taking care of your feet and for personal makeup and information about registering for work. She goes into detail about the method you use when ordering your drinks from the bar. It is in the latter area -- the types of drinks and dealing with the bartender that are essential areas and must be mastered, along with slang for drinks and suggested drink abbreviations -- that make the book unique.

Amazingly few books have ever touched on these subjects. Maybe no one wanted to give away the "secrets" the pros have learned, the hard way. Whatever the reason, Fowler ignores it and forges ahead with this invaluable work.

Casino Customer Service (The Win Win Game) by William Thompson and Michele Comeau (332 pages, paperbound, $19.95) was first published 15 years ago and nothing better has been done on the subject since. It's about training people to be friendly, teaching them the art of listening and the knack of problem solving and dispute settling and taking care of the customer who eventually pays the service person's salary. "Appropriate style of leadership" and "effective communication" with employees and customers are also covered amidst the goldmine of advice in 21 chapters. Another key area is the use of laughter as a positive tool, along with eliminating stress and making the casino workplace a unique atmosphere for both supervisors and co-workers. It's a must-read book for anyone planning a career in the industry or seeking solutions to sticky situations.

Tricia Spencer's Tips: The Server's Guide to Bringing Home the Bacon (210 pages, paperbound, $16.95) was published in 2002 and marks the latest entry into the small field of service manuals. It's about being the best waiter or waitress possible -- from observing cleanliness to efficiency of motion (avoiding wasted trips) and proving extraordinary service under a variety of circumstances. Spencer's ideas, guidelines, examples are invaluable. She teaches how to change your mindset, about developing good habits. Plus she explores the reasons why some food servers enjoy their work, cope with unusual situations, survive and take home better tips than others.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com