The road to retention

road to retention
Rank Group's Ciara Nic Liam offers her 10 top tips for cost-effective customer loyalty and engagement

1) Always keep the customer at the heart of everything you do
It’s not just thinking about your bottom and how you want to make the most money because you’re going to churn a lot of customers and they’re not going to come back. Making sure a customer is happy is always number one – the money comes after.

2) Keep looking outside the window
Be engrossed in not only what you offer but also what everyone around you is offering at the same time. Understand at least one of your key competitors that has a large share of your wallet, is running headline campaigns and using them to promote their activities. Analyse what's going on and reflect on it at the end of the month, and see how you can leverage that. Launch and leverage, share and re-apply, and all of those kind of buzzwords.

3) Volume v value
Some people have been reporting a shift in focus from volume to value, or back again from value to volume, but the answer is probably to drive both. We recently launched with a new games supplier and we drove a lot of volume to their games. Obviously we were well below network average on bet per spin but we focused on really driving a lot of customers to their games, making the players aware, and then afterwards we were able to run promotions and different customer incentives to increase value. It was a four or five-month investment but the games have really taken off and it’s really paid back now. So it’s genuinely a case of volume and value – it’s about working out which one adds more value and which one needs to precede the other.

4) Make sure there’s clear and tangible targets for growth set around everything that you do
Just because you’ve always done something isn’t a reason to keep doing it, especially in an industry that moves as fast as ours. Yes, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves, but make sure you understand where you add value, where your team adds value, but also how as a team that comes together to drive the bottom line.

5) Content is king
In an industry where companies are fighting for the next exclusive and investing millions in in-house game development and everything like that, content and what you provide to the market and offer your customers really is king. If you don’t have the games they want or your product isn’t fit for purpose you don’t really have the right to get them to keep coming back.

“In a world where everyone knows their customers and you have the data to wrap your arms around them and take them with you, saying to a random customer ‘please come back because we know you played here sometime in the last 12 months’ isn’t good enough anymore”
6) Right to win
Ensuring that you have the right to win with what you show your customers. If it’s "good enough", and it’s always been like that, then it isn’t good enough anymore.

In a world where everyone knows their customers and you have the data to wrap your arms around them and take them with you, saying to a random customer ‘please come back because we know you played here sometime in the last 12 months’ isn’t good enough anymore. It’s about knowing their current favourite game, how much they like to spend per session, and targeting the different content and value propositions that you send them based on that.

7) Keep it simple
Just because your team has hundreds of years of industry experience, it doesn’t mean that’s what your customers know. I work with our content team all the time, talking about different types of slot machines, suppliers and network promotions – but that’s not what your customers want to hear. They want to hear about their chance to win and what they need to do to qualify for a promotion. It’s about keeping it really simple and going out to your customers in a manner which they will understand. Just because you understand it and it's valid to the brief doesn’t mean it should be customer facing.

8) Launch and leverage, share and re-apply
Seek to continually optimise and streamline what you’re doing. It’s not just about getting the promotion live on site but it’s about how you add value in your team, making sure you have the optimal processes. It’s not only being reactive but also making sure that it works around the clock.

9) Win as a team and celebrate success
The key to running a successful promotion and beating your competitors is making sure that everyone is striving towards the same goal. It’s making sure that as a team you understand what it is you’re trying to achieve, but also that you stop and take a chance to thank each other and celebrate success. That can be achieved by just mentioning it in a meeting or taking people out, but it’s always important that the whole team that works around you knows what it is you’re trying to achieve and that everybody’s on the same page.

10) Have fun!
When we look across the day-to-day and long-term plans for running a casino, sometimes approaching it with a light heart led to us coming up with some of our best ideas. It’s just about having fun along the way. Some things are about the journey, some things are about the destination. Sometimes you get so stuck in budgets etc that you don't realise it's about the journey – what you spend your whole day doing. So it’s as much about having fun as it is anything else.

Ciara Nic Liam joined the Rank Group as the product manager responsible for the online casino and games offering for Grosvenor Casinos in 2013, where she and her team lead on a range of responsibilities including promotions, product development, retention strategies and some of the much bigger picture strategy projects
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