Duncan Pollock, Head of Global Marketing at DR Gaming Technology explains that building solid customer relationships means building a solid future.
In a Harvard Business Review article entitled ‘Too Many Executives Are Missing the Most Important Part of CRM’ by Charlie Brown, dated 24 August 2016, the writer notes that ‘….as a consultant, I’ve seen dozens of CRM implementations in a wide range of organizations, and consistently find that they fail more than they succeed. This isn’t the fault of the technology or the CTO, who usually manages it. It’s a result of misguided strategy’. He further refers to the fact that despite the ‘relationships’ referred to in the strategy, ‘Relationships aren’t numbers, though, and CRM isn’t an efficiency tool. It’s a relationship-building tool — that’s why there’s an “r” in it – and it’s one of your only opportunities to put real effort and resources toward developing your network of relationships’.
In the late 1990s and into the new millennium, many businesses spent millions on information systems meant to track customer activity and habits in an attempt to build customer relationships, and in so doing drive loyalty, and ultimately sales. Many of those strategies have failed, and many of those systems written off due to the simple fact that more often than not these companies all suffered an illness called DRIP – they were all Data Rich but Information Poor.
Whilst most great companies have a great reason for existing, one that customers understand and buy into (Simon Sinek’s much publicised: ‘Why’), Brown notes that ‘purpose-setting tends to evaporate when it comes to relationships’.
The value of loyal customers, who not only feel special, but are always engaged with and treated as individuals is immense, and is not a topic that needs explaining; what can we do though in the gaming sector, with the data and tools available to us, that will allow us all to garner relationships that will literally last a lifetime, or perhaps even longer extending to generations that follow? My view is that it need not be any different to the CRM strategies of any other truly relationship focussed companies. Brown refers to AirBnB in his article noting that the company ‘actively encourages hosts and guests to form genuine relationships. Members are urged to provide photos and background information, hosts contribute to online city guidebooks, and the company rewards its especially responsive hosts with greater visibility and even small gifts. Individually, each gesture is small, yet they add up to a community that emphasizes relationships over strictly transactional interactions.’
Whilst in the gaming sector, it may prove challenging to build AirBnB type relationships with all customers, sound data collection, aided by solid and reliable reporting tools, clever segmentation, and a willingness to actually ‘mine’ those reports, will give us all an opportunity to start building and measuring those personal relationships, and place us all in a position to reward players with what they want, not what we think they want.
Whilst most gaming operators run some form of loyalty programme, many still reward their players for their loyalty as a collective; whether that be through raffles where all entrants need to meet the same criteria and only a small few get rewarded, or by offering all players double points on certain days irrespective of who the players are, how much time they spend at the casino, how often they visit the casino, or how much money they spend. Not mention an invitation to a rock concert when the player is actually a fan of Andrea Bocelli.
Operators must put their individual players first, and that means the ‘small things’ referred to above in Charlie Brown’s article when referencing AirBnB; knowing them by name, knowing their visiting behaviour, knowing their favourite food, their favourite drink, the promotions they enjoy and the one’s they don’t; and once they have this data they need to use the information to reward individual players based on their individual behaviour, and then communicate these rewards to each individual player in the manner the player prefers.
At DR Gaming Technology our focus has, and always will be, making every effort to best use technology to ‘put the player first’. We endeavour to always marry human needs with technology, in so doing providing operators with cost-effective and easy to use tools that not only afford them every opportunity to engage and ultimately reward their players, but also to secure solid and genuine relationships that will ensure their ongoing sustainability.
Notwithstanding our products like Mystery Jackpots, Bonusing and Rewards, and the numerous personalised segmentation, communication and implementation options contained therein, there is no quick fix. For any business to truly benefit from any form of CRM system or Loyalty-based programme, they must understand why and what they are trying to achieve (have a strategy), and they must have the uncompromising commitment from all staff to deliver. The theory is simple, but must be executed with passion and measured with vigour, whether your business is a local corner café or news stand, or a 4,000 room casino and hotel complex. The player must come first!