SBC News Andrew Foster, Enteractive: That's entertainment

Andrew Foster, Enteractive: That’s entertainment

The gambling industry is fond of reminding itself that it operates in the entertainment industry and should think in a similarly ambitious way, but there are many different ways to reach customers, writes Enteractive‘s Chief Business Development Officer Andrew Foster.

Indeed we often hear conference panelists saying that as online gambling operators and providers we should aspire to emulate the likes of Netflix, Amazon or Spotify.

This ‘entertainment mindset’ covers a whole array of features that range from high-end production values to user experience and customer service. As a business rationale it makes sense and likely is the correct way to think about such issues. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a well-produced documentary series or truly original drama such as Stranger Things? 

For a company like Enteractive, customer service simply translates as dialogue and communicating with players on a one-to-one basis. In this process our customer service staff find out what igaming products they enjoy playing, at what time and how they can be encouraged to activate their accounts in a manner that provides them with high value products that combine entertainment with strong levels of social responsibility. 

For us the key issue to address is balance. This means finding an equilibrium between timing, topics being discussed, the amount of times we try to contact players and perhaps most importantly the language, accent and cultural references both our staff and those players are able to identify with during their conversations.   

‘Annoyance scale’

Returning to those online behemoths such as Netflix or Amazon, from a technical perspective there is much to admire in how they have honed their listening, viewing or shopping recommendations to tailor to the habits of their customers. 

However, it’s also interesting to note how the CRM methods of many of those companies are viewed by consumers, especially with regard to how their specialisms range on the “annoyance scale”. 

This is a highly subjective point, but Spotify’s recommendations revolve around music and podcasts and personally speaking I am yet to hear of any user complaining of being over-targeted with too many music recommendations. 

When it comes to Netflix, Prime and other streaming platforms however, there is a common  refrain that there is too much content to scroll through without it being appealing or feeling new and exciting. Of course, there will always be blockbuster shows such as Stranger Things or The Last Dance documentary about the Chicago Bulls’ and Michael Jordan’s final NBA season. 

But if recent subscriber numbers are anything to go by, both groups lost a total of 800,000 subscribers in the UK alone between April and June, and are feeling the impact of viewers not being fulfilled despite the vast content offering they provide. 

In fairness, the cost of living crisis and inflation worries are also likely to have a big influence on the decisions of millions of families, but it’s worth noting that despite Netflix’s or Prime’s huge content libraries and targeted algorithms, many users often make the complaint that they end up scrolling through their lists of programmes and end up not watching any. 

Cookie cutter 

When it comes to Facebook or Google, users’ views can be highly varied, but also deeply entrenched in their dislike for those companies. This is because those corporations stray into politics and highly sensitive topics while at times disseminating highly misleading or outright false information. 

The output generates major levels of engagement that produces huge advertising revenues for those companies, but both have also been strongly criticized for their actions and business models.

In addition, the re-targeted advertising that follows user searches, for anything as random as everyday clothing or household items, is viewed as deeply irritating by many users. 

Back to balance 

Online sports betting and casino are the two major verticals that dominate our industry, the former in particular deals with high profile events and attracts huge audiences, whether they are TV viewing figures or traffic levels logging into their online accounts to place bets.

In the end though, the question of whether gambling should try to emulate the mainstream entertainment industry may be irrelevant. Operators can cater to their customers by adopting a balanced approach that is driven by their regular dialogue with them.  

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