And the winner is… – CUSTOMER!

Gambling companies have had very product centric strategies. The main business elements have traditionally been products and product related services. The basic idea has been that players will select us if our products are the best ones. This business model worked quite well about 10 – 20 years ago when gambling business was mainly based on retail shops and physical casinos and when internet and mobile gambling was not so big.

Consumption habits have changes and gambling business can’t be out that development. Gambling in retail network is going down and business has moved to internet and especially to mobile channel. When in old model there were just few retail shops in their own neighborhood now there are tens of alternatives in everybody’s pocket when mobile has become the main channel of gambling. Active customer could easily select his gambling operator among hundreds or even thousands of gambling companies. It’s not possible to operate with same business models anymore in this new world.

Successful company should understand the needs of their customers. It’s not enough anymore that product is good. It’s the fact that you can’t get permanent advantage with products in gambling business because we are living in “copy – paste” world. In practice it’s impossible to get patent for your new products and due to that the other operators could copy them in few months or even weeks. We have almost the same challenge with product related services which are also easy to copy if they seem to work in other companies. So with the traditional key elements you could get in the best case few months advantages compared to your competitors. One good example of that is bonuses. I don’t remember which company started that but it’s sure that it didn’t get very good benefit from that because all the others did the same very soon. Nowadays almost all companies have different kinds of bonuses and they are “new normal” which means that the only winner has been the customer who now gets a little bit higher payout percent.

The good gambling operator has to have high quality products and services and also trustable and flexible technology but you won’t win the game with those elements – you will just lose without them. I believe that those companies who understand more about the needs of their customers and could develop their service models based on those needs will win the competition. That’s why the importance of data will be extremely high. It’s not enough if you just collect data but don’t know how to use it. You should understand what the most important features are in that data. It’ll complicated task because those features will vary real much among different customer groups and could be even personal ones. More personalized service you could offer the better possibility you have to succeed. It’s not worth of doing personalization manually but machine learning and automatization will be useful tools for that. The goal is to give your customer feeling that he/she is important to you and you are offering him/her interesting products and services with “only for you” principle. The satisfied customer is for sure more loyal than unhappy customer and will probably be ready to spend even more money.

There are lots of talk about data and personalized customer experience. As an active gambling customer I would say that I have never get “wow” feeling from any gambling company. It’s of course possible that I’m too critical customer but the more likely alternative is that gambling companies haven’t yet understood what they should do. It’s sure that in long term the customer will be the winner because he/she is the king/queen which the companies will serve better than they have done earlier. Those companies who just optimize the profit of next quarterly will lose – hopefully! The companies who will invest in long term customer experience development will finally win the competition because that’s the only important area where you really could differentiate yourself from your competitors. You should try to find out the most important features by “test & learn”-method and utilize automatization and machine learning as much as you can. We are already doing that and there are tens or even hundreds of changes in our offering every day. We are all the time analyzing the results of those changes to the customer experience and have got excellent results from that. But there is still long way to go in that area…

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