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Big data and analytics: the safest bet in the gaming industry?

By - 3 May 2018

Digital customer experience solutions expert, Glassbox, has signed a deal with BetVictor to record, replay and analyse customers’ behaviour. Yaron Morgenstern, CEO explains why…

Imagine if you could sit behind every one of your online players while they interact with your site or mobile app. You could see exactly what they see in real-time, experience their frustrations, and understand why they acted and responded the way they did. It might sound impossible – at least without investing in a lot of man power – but with the big data analytics and session replay tools available today, this dream scenario is now becoming a reality.

Millions of people gamble online every day and each time they log on, they leave a unique digital footprint in their wake. This data represents a potential goldmine for gambling firms, holding valuable insights into player and site behaviour at each step in the customer journey. Yet, despite its potential value to the industry, there’s never been a way of collecting this information in a format that could be accessed and analysed efficiently and effectively. But now, that’s all changed.

By uploading a simple string of JavaScript to your site, it’s possible to track and record every customer journey, including mouse movements, mobile gestures, typed-in information and exact details of what appeared on the screen at any particular moment. These insights can then be replayed as needed, providing a 360 view of each and every customer and bringing a multitude of opportunities to transform how gambling sites manage the customer experience, handle disputes, fight fraud and build a more responsible culture.

Optimised CX

Despite impressive growth, the gambling market is fiercely competitive, with new platforms entering the space all the time, each with a slightly new offering or innovation. Differentiation is key to attracting and retaining customers, and the stakes are high, with 38% of CEOs concerned about the speed of technological change when considering their organisations’ growth prospects.

Customer expectations and demands are also evolving fast, with millennials rapidly becoming a top priority for the sector. Mobile gambling increased by 10% in 2017, while laptop and desktop play continues to decline, which means players are looking for faster and more responsive interfaces. And if they aren’t satisfied, they won’t hesitate to go elsewhere, with Kissmetrics.com finding that over half of all online users will bounce from a site once they get frustrated or have a negative experience. All these factors mean providing a user-friendly customer experience is paramount.

But customer experience is, by its very nature, extremely subjective and when viewed from their internal systems, betting companies have a limited perspective. They can, for example, see how fast pages are loading and rendered to the customer, but that leaves a whole host of factors which aren’t visible. What is influencing that slow speed? What impact does it have on customers? Which pages pop up? How does the website really appear and how responsive is it?

Without big data and truly accurate session replay capabilities you can’t achieve that customer perspective. For example, a football fan may be trying to put a bet on during the game saying his team will score in the next 10 minutes. But if the page takes too long to load, and they can’t bet because they missed the goal, you’re going to have an unhappy customer. With real-time analytics and session replay, it’s possible to see whether it was a problem with the network, the website/or app, or the customer’s device, in order to make changes to rectify that.

When a website isn’t behaving, or a mobile app is crashing, gaming providers need incredibly detailed data to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently. There are so many variables that could cause a problem and it may only be a certain subset of customers that are affected. Using advanced analytics, you can see whether the issue is impacting a specific device or OS or a combination of factors. It means we can pinpoint the problem, its root cause and resolve it much quicker.

As well as resolving issues, these sophisticated digital analytics solutions also enable gaming providers to optimise the customer experience by identifying what aspects of the UX are most effective for certain customers. This was the case with BetVictor, which wanted to have a complete picture of what actually happens in each interaction with their customers and why they behaved the way they did.

So, for example, they might have a record that ‘Customer A’ bet £20 on a particular event at a particular time using certain odds, but they wouldn’t have a picture of the context of what the person saw on the screen or the environment around him. Were personalised ads on the screen when the customer placed a bet? How long did they spend in certain areas of the site, and where was the mouse hovering at the time? BetVictor is now in a position to enhance those tactics that prove to be particularly effective.

Customer service, dispute resolution and fraud prevention

Having this 360-view of the customer journey also streamlines the handling of customer service queries, complaints and disputes, giving call centre representatives the full picture of exactly what has occurred when responding to customers. For example, betting firms frequently face disputes from customers, claiming perhaps that the system had recorded their bet incorrectly. Managing these types of queries when you only have one side of the story is problematic, because the customer may not remember exactly what happened, may be missing out crucial details, or acting fraudulently.

Using big data analytics, the customer service team can now see within seconds whether a customer bet £20 or £200, by looking at the visual replay of what they actually keyed into the website, and other factors that may have influenced that. It means faster resolution of disputes, reduced cases of fraud, more efficient customer service operations and more satisfied customers. Meanwhile, having an overall view of mistakes and errors, whether reported or not, is invaluable to understanding why they occur and how the UX can be changed to minimise the risk and exposure for the organisation going forward.

Responsible gambling

Customer experience is one side of the story, but there is also a growing feeling that betting firms are going too far in pushing people into gambling, with irresponsible advertising and incentives. The government gambling review published in October 2017 brought in a raft of new measures and protections, including raising standards on player protection, introducing new advertising guidelines and calling on gaming providers to step up their responsible gambling initiatives. Many of the leading providers are now taking steps to tackle the issue and big data combined with digital analytics and session replay can play an important role here too.

Online betting firms are under pressure to demonstrate that they are being proactive in identifying vulnerable individuals, reaching out to them, helping to re-educate and stop them going too far. Previously, it was difficult to know who these people were, and track them across different providers, at least until it was too late. But with big data analytics, it’s now possible to spot red flags sooner, by monitoring customer behaviour in real-time. Deep player insights mean companies can identify signs that individuals may be addicted to gambling, and take action by offering help, more attention, setting more responsible limits or barring them from the site altogether.

Trust around the online gambling industry has taken a knock in recent years, but the industry has an opportunity to rebuild its reputation, create a more sustainable business model and continue to deliver a satisfying and engaging experience for the customer. Big data has a vital role to play in achieving that.

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