There are a lot of moving parts to an iGaming operation, and each piece has an important role to fulfil to make the greater whole a success. Marketing has to be on point to attract new players. Payments have to work smoothly to keep the money flowing. Fraud teams need to be ever vigilant to stop bad behavior, and keep the site compliant.
Customer service frontliners play an important role as well. No other department deals with the immediate needs of the player like they do. No other department can understand faster what’s working, and what’s not.
This is why a well-equipped, well trained frontline can be a game changer for an organization. But it’s also why operations need to always check in on what’s happening in customer service, because they can tell you how to improve and get to the next level.
Betway recently received a £11.6 million fine from the U.K. Gambling Commission for overlooking several cases of potential money laundering and problem gambling. Now while the facts of their case could be up for interpretation, if customers ever interacted with agents of the company while depositing millions into their operation, those agents will have remembered those interactions.
This is a key reason why customer service frontliners still can’t entirely be replaced by chatbots and data points, atleast, not yet. Chatbots will efficiently handle the players concern, but may not pull crucial details needed to know if the customer has a gambling problem. Data might flag to the system a worrying amount of deposits, but only by interacting with the customer can a company know if they have the means to gamble that much, or if they are a nurse borrowing from family to make their next wager.
But a well-trained frontliner can tell when a customer is different, and it isn’t that hard. It’s pretty easy to recognize when a person is depositing money at an alarming rate. These kinds of customers also make the most noise, starting the most interactions and demanding bonuses to tide them until their next pay.
But if an operation doesn’t implement the right processes and protocols to empower these frontliners, it ends there. The customer service team knows when someone is calling or chatting with them every single day, but they often don’t know what to do about it. It’s not easy, as each case requires a personal touch, but empowering the customer service team to handle and escalate these cases is the only way to find them before they become a bigger problem.
Similarly, recognizing money laundering only takes a little bit of training, but customer service agents often miss this step, or see it as a chore. This isn’t just a problem of compliance, but for the bottom line as well, as credit card chargebacks become a direct threat to the operations bottom line.
That’s easily changed by teaching anti-money laundering with the right emphasis. It’s fighting the bad guys, protecting the license, and helping the bottom line. The operation needs every agent to not only be helpful to the customers that need help, but a guardian against those who would harm it.
The data available to marketing teams can pretty easily tell them what campaigns work and which don’t. Either they converted those views and clicks into first time deposits, or they didn’t. But they can learn so much more when they connect with the frontline to see how it affected those customers in a more personal way.
If you’ll allow me to belittle an expertise I know little of: Marketing to gamblers isn’t terribly difficult. Emphasize an event, offer a bonus, and point the customer in the right direction. They mostly know what to do from there, and they’re happy to jump on board. But so many little mistakes can ruin a first experience, and lose a potential customer.
Most often, that happens because of unclear terms and conditions. Surprisingly, a lot of customers read those things and end up having questions. Not surprisingly, when something in those terms and conditions stops them from getting their expected bonus or payout, even more customers will have questions. Marketing needs to hear from customer service when things like this happens, and avoid it in the future.
Ultimately, you don’t want to hear very much from your customer service teams. They should really only need to solve problems for those 1% of customers who need help, or are problem cases themselves. Maybe they work harder during special events, or when new products roll out, but the less contacts they receive, in theory, the smoother an operation is running.
But to get there, the operation needs to listen to each problem customer service is facing, and figure out how to deal with it by another means. If the operation is getting slammed with basic questions, then on-site help sections may need improvement, or the entire website could use a redesign to make it more player friendly. As we’ve touched on, errors in marketing campaigns can slam customer service with interactions, and even poorly worded lines in the sportsbook can cause some players to want to reach out.
And increasingly, data can be the solution. While I knocked chatbots earlier, improved artificial intelligence will eventually get bots to the point where they can interact with a player more naturally and flag problems before they get big. Combined with better data analysis, operations can become more agile, and immediately address the concerns a large group of players might be having in a more centralized way.
That day may come soon, but it’s not here yet. Even while chatbots are already capable of handling the majority of player questions and concerns, they can’t everything yet, and definitely not the biggest potential problems.
So until that day comes, and maybe even when it does, operations need to listen to customer service. It’s the easiest way to know where the company can improve in so many different ways. And in the cases of problem gambling, it may help save someone from ruining their life.