Mikael Hansson, founder and CEO of Enteractive, says the number one reason why players leave a gambling brand is because they don’t feel valued by the operator.

Online gambling operators in markets around the world spend a great deal of time and money on acquiring new players. From multi-million-pound advertising campaigns to generous welcome offers, the main focus is on driving new player sign ups. 

Such is the focus on player acquisition that the majority of operators simply do not do enough when it comes to retaining customers and rewarding their loyalty. A study by the American Society of Quality Control found that 68 per cent of consumers leave a brand because they do not feel valued. 

We are convinced the same applies to online gambling brands, and means that operators are spending vast sums of money on acquiring players only to lose them a short while later, because they have not continued to look after them once they have signed up to their site and deposited for the first time. 

Savvy players that understand how loyalty schemes work 

Sure, most online gambling brands offer smart loyalty schemes that encourage players to keep wagering in order to climb through the levels and unlock more perks and prizes. But today’s players are savvy and understand that ultimately these schemes just encourage them to bet more. 

Another way operators drive retention – and activation – is through investing in their product offering, with most packing their portfolios with hundreds and sometimes even thousands of games. We are also seeing a growing number strike exclusivity deals with developers. 

By connecting with customers, operators can learn more about them and ensure their needs are being met”

Again, this works in the short term, but if online gambling brands really want to keep their players coming back for more they need to shift focus away from product and gamification towards customer service and communicating with players instead. 

Why? Because playing at an online casino is just like engaging with any other ecommerce or entertainment offering and in this day and age the key to succeeding in what is a highly competitive space is providing a personal product and service. 

Open a direct line of communication with players 

For online gambling operators, this means opening a direct line of communication with their customers and spending the time communicating with them via telephone. For example, they could call a player and personally welcome them to the site after sign-up. 

Telephone is important because it provides a human connection to the online gambling brand, something that cannot be achieved via email, SMS and even live chat. A phone call allows the operator to show they really do care. 

So instead of thinking about CRM and pushing bonuses and incentives at players, think about the emotional aspects of playing at an online casino or sportsbook. By connecting with customers, operators can learn more about them and ensure their needs are being met. 

It’s all about getting to know the customer

Think of it like a restaurant where the waiter spends the time getting to know you, what food you like, what wine you prefer and so on. You are more likely to return to that restaurant time and again over an establishment where the waiter simply takes your order and brings food to your table. 

Loyalty has always been very profitable”

Even if this restaurant offers you vouchers and money-off deals to return, your loyalty will rest with the establishment that welcomes you by name, seats you at your favourite spot and remembers that you like to enjoy a beer while browsing the menu. 

Online gambling operators must take the same approach if they are to ensure their players remain loyal, and for them not to fall into the category of those 68 per cent of players that leave a brand simply because they don’t feel valued. 

There are other upsides to taking this approach, too. Not only can operators enjoy a much higher ROI on their acquisition spend, but it is much easier to sell additional products – perhaps the casino launches a sportsbook – to existing customers. 

It’s easier to sell to existing customers

Industry data says the probability of an existing customer buying an additional product is between 60-70 per cent while the probability of selling to a new customer is as low as 5-20 per cent. So it’s a win win if operators can improve player retention. 

Of course, they should also focus on reactivating the 68 per cent of players that have already left their brand. This should be done in exactly the same way as when retaining a new player – keep an open line of communication, speak with them and meet their needs. 

Loyalty has always been very profitable as it means operators do not have to invest so heavily in acquisition, which is significantly more expensive. And all operators really need to do is spend a little more time on making their players feel valued.