Former Pinnacle Marketing Director Aly Lalani is one of the key drivers behind the launch of BetRegal.com, a new sportsbook created to provide its customers with the “highest possible value” in prices.
In the fifth diary of this series, we are moving towards the present day. It’s the summer of 2017 and the product is live, but there are a still a few issues to iron out.
The faithful diary readers amongst you will know that we chose EveryMatrix after meeting with a wide selection of software providers at last year’s ICE conference in London. We were immediately taken by the potential of the platform’s granular margin management and how quickly we could take our product to market.
However, we knew that no one platform was ideal for our needs, and that all would require some form of compromise. For us, this was knowing that the iframe solution that we chose gave us less control over the betting experience as it was being shared by other operators, and that working with a third-party provider would, at least until we had the leverage of a huge customer base and/or significant volume, pit us against all other EveryMatrix clients for attention.
Obviously when you operate all aspects of your sportsbook internally, you have greater control over your development priorities with a clear and visible finish line. It’s easy to say ‘this is priority #1’ when dealing with an internal team of developers. With a software provider, it is harder to gauge where your ‘priority #1’ stands in the queue with all the other operators’ priorities.
As expected with any new software-based integration and launch, we are going to uncover technical issues that need to be addressed. We are definitely finding our fair share of bugs and issues, and it has been frustrating trying to get some of these issues solved expeditiously. Don’t get me wrong, things are getting crossed off the list, just not at the pace I would hope for.
Knowing that all startups have problems in the first few months, we deliberately overstaffed on the support side to help us to execute a ‘killing them with kindness’ strategy. After all, we defined an over the top level of customer support as one of our brand differentiators. By having these extra support staff, we can ensure there is a warm body there to respond to any customers who have a problem within minutes by email, and seconds by live chat.
Although the intent is there for us to be as responsive as humanly possible to our customers, we have to accept that there is a learning curve when it comes to managing customer service queries when dealing with a brand new software. There are some questions that we simply don’t know the answer to (or more likely don’t know where to find the answer yet).
This creates a need for us to escalate to our software provider support, who in turn has to prioritize the query, investigate, respond to us and then we respond to the customer. Needless to say that’s not the most efficient communication chain. Sometimes that communication process can take hours or days depending on complexity.
Making customers wait extended periods for seemingly simple queries can prove frustrating, for both the us and the customer. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As we build our knowledge of the backend system, and begin seeing repeat questions, it’s becoming easier to deal with customer support interactions quickly and compassionately.
We have to keep in mind that this is a marathon not a sprint, and make long term decisions while learning as we go. It is for this reason that we have actually held off on larger marketing spend in target regions such as Latin America, because we understand the importance of first impressions.
There are some fundamental UX issues that we need to address before I would feel comfortable engaging in any reasonable marketing spend. The positive here is that focusing on the product, and the quick resolution of player problems, has helped to refine elements of our own strategy moving forwards.
A key part of this strategy is to give players the highest value prices we can in terms of our odds pricing. As I mentioned in the first diary of the series, building on the exclusivity and aspirational part of our ‘Regal’ branding, it’s key that our users are treated like royalty with the margins that we offer in the sportsbook. As someone with a marketing background, this is where EveryMatrix’s margin management provides an ‘arrow in the quiver’ for BetRegal’s marketing team.
I said in the last diary that BetRegal was starting to make its mark, and I stand by that statement. Sure there are website UX issues that need to be addressed, but those are being constantly documented and reviewed by our team and we are working to prioritize and fix them as quickly as we can. We are getting very valuable feedback from customers and affiliates that let us know quickly and directly where we need to focus our efforts.
We have had to reign in the expectations of early marketing spend, but we are growing the affiliate base, and player counts are growing as well. We have begun to define ourselves in terms of our pricing model, as we priced the ATP World Tour Finals at 98% last week, and promoted it heavily with a couple of key partners. We have also used this strategy for some key Premier League matches which have driven solid acquisition from our odds comparison affiliates.
It’s exciting to be live and servicing customers. I’m sure these aren’t the last set of challenges we are going to face. Onwards and upwards.