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A Candid Interview with an Accel Relationship Manager

November 25, 2018

When going through your journey as a slot machine establishment it might be nice to have someone to turn to for questions, advice and direction. Accel Entertainment offers this service in the form of Relationship Managers. Relationship Managers have a lot to offer to their locations and it’s all explained further in the following interview with one of our Relationship Managers, Colin.

Colin has been with Accel for over four years. He is based out of the Peoria region, but travels to visit locations. His experience in the industry and success with his locations make him an ideal person to tap in to for more insight in to the Illinois gaming market.

As a Relationship Manager, what do you do for your locations?

For my locations, I am an overall account manager, I am the main contact point between the location owner and Accel. I maintain and manage their compliance through their application. I manage and maintain the equipment and software that we use in the location. I am a referral and processor for the different marketing programs that locations want to run for their advertising. I am also just a general source of information about the video gaming industry, the Illinois Gaming Board, terminal operators, slot machines, everything that has anything to do or is relevant to their gaming business, I am their first and most important source of information. In doing that I develop a personal relationship with a lot of locations, I’m a business partner that they deal with on a regular basis.

How often do you communicate with your location?

It’s going to vary situation to situation, account by account. It has more to do with the personality of the owner. Some owners require more contact than others, some are compelled to play a more active role in their gaming business. There are some that are very hands-off. How often I visit with an owner is just going to depend on how active the wants to be in their gaming business. I try to get to every one of my locations at least once a month, there are some locations that I’m in much more regularly. All in all, I’d say I spend 75% of my week on location working directly with the owner or the location itself.

How many locations do you manage?

Currently, I believe I have 54 locations. I think that can change for me personally, but at the moment I’m at 54. I think the average for an RM (Relationship Manger) is around mid-40's.

Are you able to get into contact with Accel Entertainment for your locations?

Oh, definitely. I am Accel Entertainment for most of our locations. A lot of them, their direct assumption is that they have a contact through me for their gaming needs.

How do you help new Accel locations get set-up to “go-live” with their new machines?

I am definitely there, the go-live is a big event. The go-live is the culmination of a lot of work and a lot of waiting. The goal at the go-live is the fruit of all that labor, most cases it’s going to be the opportunity to be at the peak of your relationship with the owner because your delivering something that they have been wanting for a very long time. So, it’s a pretty necessary thing to be in attendance for a go-live, to support the location owner and to perpetuate all that excitement, build that relationship, but then there are also mechanically a lot of things that needs to be taken care of at that time as well. In terms of compliance, there’s paperwork that needs to be signed and documentation that needs to be distributed. It’s important to be there as a source of information for the owners and walk them through the process, explain to them what is happening throughout that go-live, so that you can better prepare them and manage their expectations for what is going to be coming up ahead, what protocols they need to be aware of, what things they need to know to keep their gaming business operating from their end. Letting them know about our service department, how that operates, letting them know how to make use of that.  Let them know how our collections operates, just really indoctrinate them in the live gaming experience. I am at 100% of my go-lives.

Do you work with locations who have never had slots before?

Sure, there’s not as many as their used to be, I want to say we got to be averaging 20 or more than 20 newly licensed locations a month as a company. Proportionally in my region, we’re going to grab 2 or 3 of those a month. So, every month I stand to gain potentially one brand new location, and most cases those are going to be people that have never gone through the gaming experience before. 

Download our guide to see the 7 questions you should ask to see if gaming is right for your establishmentDo your locations have to pay for your services?

No, my services to our locations is the overall service of Accel as a Terminal Operator, it’s a service that most Terminal Operators do not provide. I can speak with more certainty to some of our competitors that are local to where my locations operate cause I have a general understanding of how our competitors work in my immediate regional market and where as they may have regionally local sales based people or collections and service based people, I am not aware of any of our competitors in my local region who provide a one on one full service representative that addresses all matters of business in the way Accel does. It’s a really great service - I think it’s very highly valued by our customers. Most of our customers make great use of this service and keeps us quite busy, which is a good thing. I think that the service it provides and the business that it generates and the information that we provide for locations leads to a better gaming business which gives Accel a tremendous advantage in the field over competitors.

What types of things might your locations ask for your assistance in?

The things that they’ll ask are going to vary, but they all have very similar needs and what they need is information. They need information about Illinois video gaming that they can use to put themselves in a better position with their gaming business. Whether their requests are marketing and advertising-based, or regulation based, or data driven requests, it changes from person to person and depends on particular owners. They all need information and they’re all looking for an operator to be that source of information to get the most out of their gaming.

Do you work with locations who worked with a different Terminal Operator before and switched over to Accel? What is that transition like?

I have personally managed or overseen three competitor transitions/turnovers, all three of which have occurred since February 2018. The ones I have taken part of went well in terms of Accel’s preparation and capacity to execute the transitions. All of the preparation that Accel has extended themselves to make have been followed through by the whole team of Accel people. We’re making customers more money over this last five-month period than those customers made in the same five-month period with their previous operator. We’re able to improve machine selections and software options for those locations, giving their players new materials they didn’t have access to with other operators. That, along with all the rest of our support, I believe has led to higher returns at the locations. higher quality service and faster turnaround times on service related issues. We have the best techs, we have the best call center, we have the best programs and best plans to minimize machine downtime, effectively close our service calls faster than anybody in this region. With all those factors considered, the competitor transitions that I’ve been a part of have been great successes for Accel and have been good productive revenue generating business. They have been very successful for our customers who have seen more returns with higher levels of service.

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How has marketing helped your locations?

Accel Entertainment has the largest, most creative marketing department in the Illinois video gaming market. We have the most talented people, we have the greatest trove of resources. Our very quickly growing and expanding team of talented people have been working really hard, pushing the boundaries of marketing and advertising in our industry and are taking the lead against competitor operators. Coming to the market with the best marketing programs, promotional sweepstakes - it makes it a very exciting time to be a part of Accel. It makes RMs very excited to grow and develop and adapt with these new changes and it means potentially a great deal more in our growth as a company.

As you can see, Relationship Managers provide a variety of services to locations. Whether you are looking for information, needing a question answered, needing a request filled or looking for general advice regarding the video gaming industry, our Relationship Managers are there for you. They are one of the many resources Accel Entertainment provides to keep our locations happy and successful.

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