Jirka Konietzny is the head of the CRM team within GiG’s managed services department. Besides several years of experience working with different brands in different markets, he’s also got a PhD in marketing and is lecturing at the University of Malta.
It is safe to assume that operators do not automatically welcome the news of new restrictions on gambling promotions in any market.
However, measures that have been introduced by Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen may ultimately prove to be beneficial for customer retention, according to Jirka Konietzny, Head of CRM (Managed Services) at GiG.
By being forced to phase out the scattergun approaches of yesteryear, when companies merely hurled bonus codes at players, richer strategies have been cultivated to enhance the relationship between customers and betting platforms.
Konietzny believes operators committed to making the most of the customer data at their disposal have every opportunity to serve their members better, hitting that sweet spot of driving new player acquisition while also increasing retention and player lifetime value.
“In the past, ‘good practice’ – or just the best practice as applied in this industry – consisted of customers demanding incentives and our giving out goodwill bonuses left, right and centre,” Konietzny says.
“Obviously regulators woke up to the realities of this happening in different markets and they said: ‘No, this can’t continue.’ Then all of a sudden everyone got a shock when Sweden, for example, regulated with operators restricted to providing one introductory bonus, and the response was: ‘Oh, what are we going to do now?’ But bonusing players over and over is a very short-sighted and unsustainable approach which fails to create any loyalty.
“Loyalty is what in the end creates value; lifetime value. Studies have shown that customers identify the casino where they want to spend their time and money based on the qualities of fairness and enjoyment.
“Enjoyment and fairness are perhaps very broad concepts, but fairness concerns how you interact with other people, and why would you want to interact with your customers differently than you do with your friends and your colleagues, with relationships based on mutual trust and understanding?”
Meeting the challenge
CRM is a growing area of interest for many operators, but many are deterred by the cost and resources required to create the systems needed to collect and analyse customer data.
Any business operating in a reputable jurisdiction already needs to collect a certain amount of customer data to comply with AML (anti-money laundering) and KYC (know your customer) directives. However, making the most of the data that can be retrieved from a retention and growth perspective is another matter.
Operators may choose to go it alone and develop their own systems, but they can also turn to suppliers such as GiG with the expertise and infrastructure to provide a ready-to-go service.
“A lot of the data we gather is generated by customers simply engaging with the platform, from the games they play to how much they wager and so forth,” Konietzny says.
“What many operators have done for too long is just put a finger in the air and try to see where the wind blows, meaning they haven’t really made enough use of all the data they have.
“For several years now, we’ve had a data science team that has met this challenge head-on, and it is now providing us with different prediction models for CRM and other ways of using data to provide a better customer experience without being too intrusive. I think that’s one of the challenges that we as an industry have – to move forward and be more data-driven in that respect.”
GiG’s CRM Managed Services team expects to add to its existing client list in the coming year as it continues to build its team and expertise in a growing number of regulated markets.
Konietzny says the division’s reach and exposure to different markets gives it a “unique resource” that clients can tap into. With an extensive data range, the team can crunch the numbers and bring value to clients by showing exactly what can drive a successful campaign.
“If we know that a promotion works well in one specific case, what we’re doing at the moment is developing more scientific ways in which we can analyse and act on this data,” Konietzny adds. “That’s what we really want to get to, to escape the stereotype of: ‘We just send out emails and SMS’.
“It’s bringing back the relationship management and fuelling it with this buzzword of customer experience, because that’s one of the other things that is so important. You have to know your customers, and data gathered from the players is one source.
“If you really want to know your customers, you are going to have to speak to them – and I don’t mean only by analysing forum topics and posts, but actually conducting surveys and interviews. This is where we want to go, to build our expertise and be able to deliver that intelligence to our clients.”