What has happened to customer service? Customer service built Nordstrom’s and Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks. It also built the career of Monarch Casino Black Hawk General Manager Craig Pleva. When I interviewed him, it brought home the fact that customer or guest service is always a key to personal and corporate success.
Pleva started as overnight casino shift manager at Monarch’s sister property Atlantis Casino in Reno. He loved the excitement of working on the casino floor and soon moved to slot operations manager.
“I broke in on table games, I was a reliable, quick learner and provided really good guest service and could talk to people. When you are on the slot floor there is always that buzz and excitement. Being in slots really reignited my love of math, that is where I really started thinking more analytically and not just viewing the casino as an operational business,” said Pleva.
Pleva credits great mentors and support along the way and now wants Monarch Team Members to have the same opportunity.
Monarch is developing an internal internship program where team members can work four hours in different departments to see what they like the best and find a good fit. In only eight years Pleva is now running the entire casino in Black Hawk. It certainly helps that he works for a company that values its team and has a policy of promoting from within.
Pleva still gets excited when he walks through the casino, but now he oversees the entire operation which will include the $400 million 23 story hotel and spa expansion. He will be hiring more than 1,000 team members in the next two years.
Excellent guest service will be a top training concept for those new hires.
“We focus on the Forbes all-star service standards as a basis for guest service day in and day out. I was lucky, the team at Atlantis and Monarch casino supported me and made it possible for me to provide the best guest service I could.”
Pleva’s story illustrates an important fact, corporations that value employees provide the basis for employees valuing customers.