Lead Therapist Positions in Casino Massage

May 17, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Casino Massage & Poker Massage Programs Require Dedicated Management Personnel

Within the Casino Massage or Poker Room Massage industry we see many companies employ the “Lead Massage Therapist” position as an economical yet flawed approach to manage daily operations. Not only is the lead therapist position one of ineffective and limited managerial supervision, but both continuity of gaming experience and operational consistency are lost all too frequently due to this position’s turnover rate. Ultimately, this absence of proper supervision and control is the main source of poor customer service.

Managing the daily front-line operations of a casino massage company for over 4+ years, I have come to realize and understand the importance of a dedicated, impartial and equitable managerial staff to maintain the highest standards of customer service.

In this first article we explore one topic: Limitations of dual role, lead therapists supervising while also performing massages services. Additional related topics and points will follow in subsequent articles.

Although highly unlikely, for the purpose of this article let us assume that the lead massage therapist in question has the proven ability to lead, is a formally educated and seasoned manager, is well-versed in the finer points of conflict resolution, is completely familiar with any and all emergency procedures, and has acquired years of casino/gaming-industry specific expertise.

Even presuming the above list of impressive credentials to be accurate, we still have to ask, how much time can a lead therapist devote to supervising up to six others while also performing tableside massages for the majority of his or her own work shift? From my own experience, individual massages last anywhere from 20-40 minutes each on average and in extreme cases, therapists have been retained for the entire duration of the work shift. I have, on few occasions, monitored poker massages that have continued for more than 8 hours! Suppose that this particular massage therapist was indeed designated as the manager or as the “lead therapist”. The managerial faculty during those 8 hours would effectively be reduced to zero.

While the above example is an infrequent but not unrealistic occurrence, consider an ordinary shift where the average time spent performing casino massage services consists of approximately 70% of the therapist’s total time on duty. The remaining time is readily taken up by the working therapist’s individual advertising efforts, records keeping, preparation for pending services, and regular breaks. Yet again, any managerial duties would suffer due to the lack of time allocated for such responsibilities.

The non-stop nature of gaming industry compels casino massage companies to operate virtually around the clock, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. The massage profession by its very nature is especially physically demanding and therefore most casino massage therapists are scheduled to work no more than 18-20 hours per week. During a 168 hour work week the number of lead therapists needed to cover all shifts would be nearly 10. Designating that many therapists as lead and then strategically scheduling them in order to cover the entire work week would surely prove to be an ineffective solution if not a nearly impossible plan.

It should also be noted that most lead therapists are commendably making every effort to maximize their earnings and therefore desire to stay as busy as possible performing casino massage services in order to do so. It’s no surprise that these dual role employees are more concerned with actually performing casino massage rather than managing casino massage.

It seems a simple enough concept to understand; one cannot be tied up doing the job and be expected to supervise others at the same time. Casino massage therapists will be occupied with their job duties during most, if not all of their scheduled shifts. Furthermore, the working therapist will be confined to one small area while performing services and are not able to patrol and observe the vast sprawling span which is characteristic of the typical gaming floor.

Expanding upon this topic, we must now ask how well the lead therapist can fairly distribute the workload of customer requests for poker massage services in a timely fashion while he or she is occupied and unable to complete the chain of communication between the casino resort, the guests, and the other active massage therapists.

To give some insight as to the aforementioned chain of communication, requests for casino massage services on a busy gaming floor originate almost entirely at the guest level but are also frequently initiated by casino hosts. The request is most often communicated via telephone to the massage company’s on-duty manager. Information relayed is generally comprised of the guest’s personal preference for a particular therapist, the exact location within the casino for the service to be performed, the time desired for the service to commence, the number of therapists needed, and whether the service will require casino comp approval.

The lead therapist (who we have already established will be performing hands-on services 70% of the time) would not even be able to answer the request call, let alone be privy to the information needed to satisfactorily fulfill the request.

Back to our question; how well is the lead therapist equipped to deal with customer requests for casino massage services? The rather troubling answer to this question is that without any accurate situational awareness of where co-worker therapists are located within the casino, a running tally of the time remaining for each therapist’s service currently being performed and the individual guest’s preferences, the lead therapist will not be able to deal with customer requests very well at all. It should be obvious that in these situations, customer service levels are diminished to an all time low, and the guest will quickly associate this poor service with his or her overall gaming experience and with the property itself.

Given the above examples, it stands to reason that when the most simple and basic fundamentals and functions of management can’t be accomplished through this “lead” position, it’s safe to conclude that more complicated matters would be completely out of the scope of the lead massage therapist’s managerial capacity. Such matters include the fair distribution of the work load, employee behavioral and disciplinary issues, customer complaints, employee conflicts, scheduling, absenteeism, emergency procedures, and all facets of player development/relations. One could also go so far as to conclude that as it relates to the casino massage industry, the lead therapist position is essentially the equivalent of having no managerial presence at all.

At this point one might ask why any poker massage/casino massage company would ever utilize the lead therapist position. The answer is simple, cost is the main factor. It’s far more expensive to hire, train and employ a qualified managerial staff than it is to assign a current employee additional responsibilities. Most massage company owners realize the deficiencies, issues and conflicts associated with lead therapist positions and gamble that they will go largely unnoticed or at least unreported by casino executives, managers and casino staff who are already fully involved with their own daily tasks and duties. A better question to ask would be why any casino resort would contract with a massage company that solely employs these poor alternatives for legitimate management solutions.

Luckily, not all casino massage companies are the same. Some understand the importance of a dedicated, impartial and equitable managerial staff. They know that it’s more expensive to recruit, train and retain the right people, but they realize that their reputation and customers are just that important. Few are committed to the highest standards of customer value, professionalism and ethics. Few confidently invest in experienced, quality management and staff, and are guided by an unwavering belief in the true meaning of World-Class service.

One of the many instances to illustrate the importance of dedicated managerial personnel happened when a woman playing Black Jack was overheard expressing to her dealer just how much “getting out” once a month on Friday night means to her. She sincerely confessed to him, “This is the highlight of my year. I work nearly 60 hours per week and don’t have many friends in the area. Coming here for a drink and playing a few hands once a month is my little getaway. I thoroughly enjoy it!”

The empowered personnel (manager and massage therapist) made the perfect decision to politely offer a 20 minute of service free of charge. What better way to complete her overall experience than to offer a complimentary massage service? Pleasantly surprised she accepted and it goes without saying that she will not forget her gaming experience that night.

While this chance to delight the customer appears to have jumped out and presented itself, I believe it was only so clearly apparent because unlike the owners and lead therapists of many casino massage companies, this team of dedicated management personnel worked on the front-lines everyday and were accustomed to seeking and recognizing these types of opportunities.

It’s only through time, experience and maintaining a constant presence on the front-lines that one can develop that 6th sense of “customer awareness”. That is how to become truly in-tune with the energy of the casino resort and in-tune with its most valued resource: the resort’s guests.

Venue Classic draws upon more real-world, industry specific experience than anyone else, period. Our best practices have been polished to the highest standards; honed over time and refined through years of first hand casino massage experience. We are not the typical massage contractor operated by an absent owner that becomes disconnected from daily operations and whose lack of managerial oversight, leadership and even pride in ownership results in poor performance on every level. That business model would never work for us and should never be a compromise for you. You deserve better.

We view the simple structure of the casino massage business not as a chance to do less, to become complacent, disconnected and idle but instead as an opportunity that allows our people to concentrate on what is most important; actively pursuing outstanding customer service and focusing on constant improvement.

At Venue Classic, we like to think of our company as the next step in the evolution of casino massage. Our company represents the “second generation” of the very few specializing in this highly service oriented field. Simply put, we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, we’ve learned what to do and what not, but most importantly we’ve recognized the shortcomings of our predecessors and have vowed to lead our company in a different direction. We have set out to become the experts in this field and are completely dedicated to a better way of doing things. Venue Classic was created so that we have the freedom “to think outside of the limits everyone has already set.”

Experience the WORLD-CLASS DIFFERENCE
http://www.VenueClassic.com

Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_Sciannameo

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