Industries all over the world covet customer satisfaction among their most important needs. The iGaming industry, on the other hand, has long adopted an approach which inherently makes operators more inclined to pursue new customers as opposed to appease their existing player base. The welcome bonuses offered by every online gambling website are put out to appeal to any player who wants to start gambling or switch providers, but after the initial bonus, which was often terms and conditions-ridden, very little was given by way of loyalty bonuses afterwards.
There has been an increased focus on the quality of customer satisfaction in recent years, as shown by the annual Customer Service Award given out at the EGR Operators Awards which the Betsson Group won in 2014, 2016, and 2018. But customer satisfaction goes beyond having good customer service; other elements like the quality of the platform and if the odds are competitive also matter a great deal.
So, let’s delve into why customer satisfaction is so important in the iGaming industry, how some operators have found success, and what needs to be improved to change the currently poor perception of iGaming when it comes to customer satisfaction.
The importance of customer satisfaction
A problem which was plaguing the iGaming industry was the low amount of focus on customer retention. Without actively trying to keep customers, merely wanting the deposit for the welcome bonus from as many people as possible, the online gambling scene became a merry-go-round for customers who just tracked the welcome bonuses, inadvertently fuelling the lack of need for promoting customer satisfaction. With players accepting the state of play and willing to bounce from site to site, there was little need for big-name operators to try to satisfy all who signed-up as more were probably on the way to claim the welcome bonus on offer.
The industry has become increasingly competitive, so top operators have been exploring every avenue to enhance their offering and keep players on board, resulting in an uptick in attention to customer satisfaction. As explained by Small Business Trends, it’s more important to focus on customer retention and leveraging customers to bringing in new ones as opposed to focussing on advertising to reel in new customers. It was found that with 86 per cent of those surveyed, likability drives loyalty, with 47 per cent willing to move on to competitors within just one day of enduring poor customer service.
Pleasing customers is crucial to any company getting ahead, earning customer loyalty, getting repeat business, and then seeing those customers encouraging others to join. Econsultancy found that 47 per cent of customers who enjoyed a good customer experience would suggest the operator to others, which is comparatively low compared to other sectors like mobile phones, retail, travel, and banking. The same study unveiled the importance of certain elements of iGaming to customers, which reached far beyond just customer service efficiency. It was found that the most important areas that gambling companies should focus on, in the eyes of the consumer, are having the best odds, having a user-friendly website, and having easy access to efficient customer service.
These three factors ranked well above the rest in terms of importance in the survey, and there is certainly room for improvement across the industry. Some operators are performing well across these three primary areas, with the need for a strong gambling app starting to take precedence over having a user-friendly website. To achieve the desired level of customer satisfaction, online operators need to adhere to these three elements in different ways.
A strong mobile gaming platform
One of the most influential factors toward modern customer satisfaction in online gambling is the quality of the mobile app. More and more people are turning to their phones to access all of the content that they used to on their computers. In the video gaming industry, the mobile sector is eclipsing PC gaming, as detailed by Games Industry, accounting for 45 per cent of the global games market to PC gaming’s 23 per cent. Over the last year, mobile gaming experienced an increase of 10.2 per cent in year-on-year growth.
While video gaming is an entirely digital sector, gambling still has a large land-based presence in the UK. That said, the remote sector continues to increase its market share, with the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year seeing a 2.9 per cent increase to £5.6 billion in remote gross gambling yield, accounting for roughly 38.6 per cent of the UK gambling industry’s total gross gambling yield, per the Gambling Commission.
An increasingly large amount of gambling revenue now comes from remote players, and with mobiles becoming the go-to devices for entertainment, gambling operators have to offer state-of-the-art apps with as many options as their website counterparts. However, the reason why mobile gaming has become so popular is because it is convenient, so the gambling apps need to be fast and easy to navigate in order to live up the expectations of quick and simple gambling on the go. If the app does take too long to load, particularly when it comes to in-play betting or casino gaming, customers will become disgruntled and seek out a different app for their mobile gambling needs.
Almost all of the top online operators have vastly improved their websites over the last few years, with most of them also offering top of the range apps, some of which are even more user-friendly and enjoyable to use than the websites. The Coral app, Sky Vegas app, and bet365 app all rank very well here at Betting App Guide, but as previously mentioned, brands need to succeed across a trifecta of elements to appease the primary needs of customer satisfaction.
Putting the customers’ needs first through customer service
Dealing with customer service in the online gambling industry can be particularly demanding and difficult for any operator, regardless of their experience in the industry. As the customers are playing with real money on randomised games or betting on events that they think will go their way, if it doesn’t go the way that they hope, they can quickly get annoyed. A buggy or slow app or website can also contribute to these frustrations, potentially causing a player to lose money mid-spin or miss out on returns if they’re unable to place a bet in time.
Add in all of the confusion that can come from bonus terms and conditions and wagering requirements, and you can see how customers can encounter many reasons to contact customer service, which can make working in customer service difficult for anyone. That said, it’s still a crucial part of achieving customer satisfaction. Players need to know that their grievances will be given plenty of attention and hopefully be resolved by a customer service agent, or that their questions will be answered quickly and conclusively.
Customer service is where the majority of iGaming operators have failed to produce in the past. Given the amount of people who would have made contact due to losing money, their lack of understanding of terms and conditions, or problems with earlier online betting platforms and internet connections – all problems which generally can’t be helped by most customer service reps – it’s easy to see why operators wouldn’t try to hire more employees to cover the workload. Add to this the regular flow of new customers and the culture of players being willing to join many different online gambling sites, and there was an even lesser need for operators to bolster their customer service.
For the most part, this is now an area which betting operators are looking to improve. Online reviews and the modern player being accustomed to looking for reviews before committing money have made operators accountable. In these reviews, there is almost always a section dedicated to the quality of the customer service, relaying staff competence, speed of responses, and the methods available for contacting the team. One online gambling brand which excels in this field, as well as many others regarding customer satisfaction, is Unibet, with the Slot Catalog review detailing their comprehensive 24/7 service which features live chat, a phone number, email, an extensive FAQ, and their unique community pages.
Live chat being readily available at all hours is an important feature for modern online gamblers as they can quickly and easily get answers to their questions. The Unibet Community pages also appear to be a resource utilised by many, with gamers able to respond to other gamers as well as Unibet experts weighing in when necessary or to clarify points made by others. In an industry famed among its customers for being quite bad at customer service, most players appreciate the extra efforts put in by operators actively trying to improve customer relations.
While it isn’t a comprehensive indicator of overall customer satisfaction – due to most people online only leaving reviews or comments if they feel wronged as opposed to always noting when a brand has done well – you don’t need to go far to find scathing reviews of online gambling sites due to the quality of the customer service. Most on the outside may assume that only the quality of the betting platform and the attached odds would matter, but scornful customer reviews show that if a query isn’t dealt with competently and efficiently, players will just move on. Even with the aforementioned highly-rated providers of the bet365 app, Sky Vegas app, and Coral app, many dissatisfied customers are voicing their bad experience with customer service reps online, which will likely deter others from signing up.
Providing the best odds or at least competitive odds
The only reason why a punter would tap on a betting app is if they want to place a wager and try to win some money. Everyone wants to get the most for their money, and while a superb app and tentative customer service can ease this a little through increasing the operator’s likability, for the most part, the operators which offer the best odds are the most attractive to customers.
Due to websites that compare odds across a huge range of sports markets, it has become impossible for big-name operators to become lazy and let their odds slip below the standard. Upholding competitive odds is one of the key ways for operators to retain customers and achieve customer satisfaction. Their odds don’t have to be the very best across all markets, but they do need to be close, particularly when it comes to major events. Lacking on this front can, however, be eased by giving ‘free’ gifts to players.
Loyalty programmes are a favoured way in which an iGaming app or website can appease customers and encourage them to continue to use the brand. By offering ways to build towards guaranteed rewards, players will be less disappointed with a loss as the bet or deposit adds to the loyalty scheme. With the exception of high-rollers – who make up the minority of the online gambling audience – bonus winnings with wagering requirements are unattainable by most gamblers, so even though the reward value would need to be smaller, if the wins being returned from the bonus are in real money, players will be encouraged and happy to be loyal.
There are many other contributing factors to achieving optimal customer satisfaction, but presenting a high-standard across the betting platforms, customer service, and in the odds are the most important. With the iGaming industry becoming increasingly competitive, top brands will need to hone in on all three of these areas if they want to retain their customers and sit among the best in the business.