12 April, 2021

Turning Churn into Return

Andrew Foster, head of business development at Enteractive, discusses the importance of personalisation in regard to player retention, and how sharing the love keeps players coming back for more

It’s a story as old as the igaming sector itself: How do you keep players coming back for more? While igaming operators and affiliate sites remain full of enticing offers and bonuses to get new players onboard, there’s less attention paid to keeping those players happy and enjoying the entertainment, rather than just hopping over to another igaming brand to try out their special offers.

Sometimes it feels very ‘us and them’ as we all dance around trying to grab players’ attention with ‘come here’ messaging. But the players are the industry’s greatest asset; we wouldn’t exist without them. So why aren’t we paying more attention to keeping the players once we attract them in the first place?

Customer attrition, or customer churn, is the rate of turnover of players that defect to a competitor or simply never return to a brand’s igaming site. Most operators define a customer as ‘churned’ after an inactive period of three to six months, but that’s a long time to be losing out on possible revenue, and generic email campaigns or other digital CRM activities just aren’t enough to prompt action by the player these days.

Research shows that 68% of players will leave a brand if they feel under-appreciated, but four out of five players are happy to be contacted at least once a month about promotions, updates and the latest offers. And 51% of players feel more loved when we call them for a personal chat, compared to email (13%), SMS (12%), and Live Chat (24%). These figures show we should be spending more time developing relationships with the players, rather than automating the B2C marketing processes.

That’s why ‘personalisation’ has become a keyword for engaging with customers, not just in the igaming sector, but across global consumer markets.

As time marches on and new audiences enter the igaming ecosystem, we need to change and adapt the way we interact and engage with players, based on their preferences and new cultural and generational differences. Millennials and Gen Zs have grown up in a world based around technology and have new expectations from the brands they follow, so of course they have a different set of touchpoints for interaction.

Both Millennials (72%) and Gen Zs (64%) think that brands should provide a more personalised experience, and since these two groups will make up 52% of consumers by 2027, it’s important that we adapt now as an industry to ensure we don’t lose touch with them.

But this isn’t a problem for the future, it requires a solution now. Reactivating churned players can have a big impact on operators’ P&L, bringing back a sizable percentage of lapsed players and emphasising the need to have a solid strategy to reduce customer attrition in the here and now. The longer operators wait, more players will churn and move to other brands, increasing their market share and making the competition stronger.

Improving ways to engage with the players might take a bit more effort but the pay-off is worth it. Even with email and SMS, using a degree of personalisation can boost success rates fourfold. This increases even more when the player receives a phone call from a real person to engage in a conversation. At Enteractive, as a result of our call campaigns, we convert up to 15% of a client’s inactive player base into active depositing customers, resulting in around 250% ROI on average.

With phone calls to players, the personalisation is baked into the experience. In outreach to players, speaking to players one-on-one, with native-speaking call agents who know the market and local culture, means players feel valued as well as heard.

They like to have a chat, they offer their opinions, and they also discuss any problems they’re having, meaning any RG issues get flagged early on and passed back to the operator in real time. They feel listened to, cared for and more individual, breeding greater trust in the brand and often prompting new deposits from safe players.

That’s the best way to understand how personalisation can make such a big difference in the player experience, and in turn to operators’ bottom line revenues. It’s a win-win scenario, with the player benefiting as well as the operator.

Personalisation is perhaps the best way to reactivate players, but as a strategy it shouldn’t be limited to only the dormant or lapsed player accounts. By making the player feel special and noticed all the way through their playing experience, operators can develop better relationships with their existing players and decrease customer attrition rates across the player journey. Imagine calling a player to welcome them to the brand. That would surely make a lasting impact and they would be much more unlikely to churn in the first place.