91: Customer Loyalty Lessons from the Casino Industry with Rob Gallo (Part 2)
We all gamble. Not how you think we do. But when you buy Amazon Prime, it's a gamble- will this be worthwhile or not? In fact, you are taking a gamble whenever you buy into any kind of loyalty program or scheme.
That's why Rob Gallo is such a wizard in customer loyalty. Rob was the founder of one of the first online casinos, is an avid poker player, entrepreneur and savvy businessman, giving him the exact blend of skills and experience to build customer loyalty programs that work for everyone.
My Guest: Rob Gallo
Rob Gallo is widely recognized as an industry expert in the Customer Loyalty/ Rewards space. A pioneer in the gaming industry, Rob founded one of the first online casinos In 1997, which he successfully ran before selling and retiring in 2010.
Today, Rob is Founder and CEO of CompLinks, a white-label consumer engagement platform helping companies generate revenue from their customers even while they’re outside that particular business property. With a collective 60+ years of customer loyalty experience amongst his team at CompLinks, Rob knows how to implement the exact turnkey strategies that deliver the most value to customers while generating additional revenue for companies.
Tapping into his own journey as an entrepreneur and customer loyalty expert, Rob uses both his successes and failures (lessons learned), to help other companies better understand their customers, enhance their loyalty programs beyond their own properties, and allow their customers to earn points while living their lives.
Rob is an avid poker player who’s played in the WSOP Main Event twice. He enjoys golf (broke 100 once) and, in his words, he likes “catching,” but finds that fishing is boring.
[03:15] We went live in November of '97. We did about $60,000 in business the first month $100,000 the next month, and it just skyrocketed. I was like, "Wow, this is unbelievable." So I told my wife "Pack up, we're moving to Antigua." She said, "What do you mean, Where's Antigua?" I said, "It's in the Caribbean. Don't worry about it. Just get on the plane."
[08:21] So I went to Barnes and Noble and I bought a book called Hotdog Pro. And I taught myself how to write HTML. Just because, just for the mere fact that I knew this guy knew nothing more than me.
[14:34] It was October 1, I was sitting on the beach and Halfmoon Bay in Antigua. And I get a phone call from the customer service rep at Cryptologic up in Toronto. And she says "As of Tuesday noon, we no longer take US bets." I was like "What?" So 85% of our business evaporated overnight.
[30:18] We licensed the technology to companies that already have loyalty programs and want to allow their customers to earn rewards outside of what they normally do. So think of Parx Casino, which is one of our clients, the biggest Casino in Pennsylvania. If I go there, I have a loyalty card called Xclub. And if I play Blackjack or video poker, slots or roulette, I earn credit rewards, what they call Comp Dollars, that I can exchange for food and beverage credits next time I go.... Whatever they earn other places they can [also] redeem at the Casino.
[43:01] It's all gambling psychology... It falls in the same psychology bucket, even though it's different elements of it. Because when you buy either Amazon Prime or the CVS monthly, there's a certain element of gamble. I don't know if this is going to be worth it or not.
[52:20] But it dawned on me that every day of the week has a feel, but I wasn't aware of that feel when I woke up by myself, until I recognized that it was Friday. Then I had that feeling of what a Friday feels like.
Nothing takes the place of persistence -Winston Churchill
Please note: This episode was recorded before the outbreak of COVID-19.
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