Focus on QCI: Chairman see ‘virtuous circle’ in offering players what they want

February 17, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports
February 17, 2023 8:00 AM
  • Mark Gruetze, CDC Gaming Reports

Casinos face a pair of customer-service challenges that other businesses don’t, David Farahi says.

“In very few other industries do consumers get to choose the price of the product they’re buying. That brings a very different dynamic to understanding the relationship between the player and the casino,” said Farahi, who was chief operating officer of Monarch Casino & Resort Inc. from 2012 to 2021 and now is executive chairman of QCI (Quick Custom Intelligence), which specializes in casino analytics.

Gaming’s choose-your-price option plays into the other challenge he identified: “Our form of entertainment is unique in that one of the main reasons people come to casinos is they want to feel a heightened sense of acknowledgement. They want to feel special.”

Farahi said understanding the data that defines a player’s relationship with a casino is the key to acknowledging their value and ultimately acknowledging them. As a former operator and now an executive in data analytics, he appreciates the insights those numbers can reveal.

He said he has known QCI co-founders Ralph Thomas and Andrew Cardno for more than 10 years. “I enjoyed geeking out on casino analytics with the two of them. Now it’s something we get to do professionally together.”

While with Monarch, he had the QCI Platform installed at the company’s two casinos, Atlantis in Reno, Nev., and Monarch in Black Hawk, Colo. In the three years since QCI was founded, its software has been installed at more than 100 large casinos, representing facilities that generate roughly a fourth of the gross gaming revenue in the United States, as well as at numerous smaller operations. Farahi said the simplicity of using QCI software was a major factor in deciding to install it at Monarch’s casinos.

“The gaming industry is unique in the amount and type of data it produces,” he said. “You have to have special tools to not only gather that data but also organize it in effective ways that you can understand it and then act upon it.”

The newly released Version 5.2 of the QCI Platform gives hosts the ability to communicate directly with guests, making them better able to do the job of being a sales force for the casino, Farahi said. “If you want to have an effective host team, you have to have effective carrots and effective tools. That is what QCI Host offers.”

For example, a host might ask the software for a list of people who have a birthday in March, haven’t visited for at least two months, and usually spend at least $200 per visit. A QCI application allows the host to do that search themselves, rather than waiting for the request to go through management channels. “Within just a couple of clicks of having that idea, the host has their list of guest names and is communicating with the guests,” Farahi said. The platform also allows upper management to assign tasks to hosts and gauge their performance, so it can work “from the bottom up or the top down,” he added.

The platform allows casinos to test, learn and adjust with speed – an approach known as iteration. Farahi said that can lead operators to a “virtuous circle.”

“The casinos can be learning faster what the player wants, the players are happy because they’re getting more of what they want, and player development team member retention is improved,” he explained.

He added that he idea of messaging guests directly and enhancing other communication abilities within the QCI Platform came from the company’s weekly calls with each client to see what’s working, what’s not, and what improvements they’d like to see.

“The great thing about our text app is that we’ve got large operators using it and we’ve got small route operators using it. It is very hard to build technology that works for that range, but that’s what we’ve done.”

Farahi said the possibility of a recession has operators striving to improve efficiency. “The faster you learn, the faster you become more efficient. And that’s going to be even more important going into whatever economic storm we’re going into.”