In an exclusive interview with Gambling Insider, Reactivation Group COO Jonatan Rajala discusses the personal touch needed to retain players.
Where did the idea to create Reactivation Group stem from?
We are a bunch of people from different backgrounds, mainly coming from sales, running communication companies and the online gaming industry, and we saw many online gaming companies focused a lot on acquiring new players. From a marketing perspective, this is where most of the budget has been spent, but less time, money and creative approaches were spent looking after current players.
The industry is booming, with new sites and companies fight for the same players at the same time, but very little thought and conversation has been spent on the actual retention of players; knowing their likes or dislikes, why they are leaving you and so on.
So we saw a gap in the industry which we thought we could fill with our mixed background and strong belief that direct communication with customers is the number one factor for a successful business.
Reactivation brands itself as an “expert in reactivating your dormant customers.” How exactly do you do this?
We do this with a very personal method. How the business works today is, with operators’ internal CRM activities, they mainly communicate by SMS and emails with their players. We communicate with players over the phone; we have actual conversations with them to discover the reasons for leaving, their likes or dislikes and other important criteria in general.
A player feels more valued when they get a personalised call, showing the brand cares about them and wants to know their thoughts. At the same time, seeing as it’s a two-way conversation, we also gather all the feedback for our partners which they then can use for future marketing strategies.
There is a huge focus on retaining and bringing back your players, just by offering bonuses, and it’s quite hard, to be honest, to stand out today from the competition. So many sites offer very similar bonuses and many sites have similar games, so understanding what your players actually like becomes more and more important.
When it comes down to it, it's not only about reactivating and retaining the players; it's about increasing brand awareness and customer loyalty for our partners.
How do customers generally react to this direct line of communication?
To be honest, I was almost surprised at how positive a response we do get. There is a general picture that most people are quite negative towards phone sales and telemarketing in general. But this is a very specific topic and industry and many of these players we talk with have a huge interest in this industry. But it might still be a bit taboo, for example, to discuss with your family, friends, or colleagues that you actually play a bit of online casino.
Here you get a call from somebody who, first of all, really cares about what you think, they want to know what you like when it comes to this industry and they also have a really deep knowledge of the industry. So you can have an interesting, general discussion about things going on in the business.
How common is it for operators to outsource tasks to third parties? What are the benefits of doing so?
It’s becoming more and more common in my opinion; since we started two years ago, we have already worked with more than 50 brands. This also shows how challenging it can be for companies to set up their own outbound or customer support departments.
The huge benefits, I would say, is you don’t have any time you need to spend on recruitment, HR, setting up these departments, or creating the infrastructure. That applies both on the Reactivation outbound calling and on customer support. You have somebody who is already an expert in the industry and in communicating with customers, so the time to start up something is extremely short and, as I said, requires minimal time and effort from your own staff and organisation.
The prices of acquiring new traffic nowadays, especially when it comes to the affiliate business, are sky high and increase all the time. With Reactivation, you can segment and choose which players you wish to bring back based on their track record, all at a much lower cost.
It’s the same with customer support; you can start up new brands or markets much quicker than trying to set it up in-house. You share the competence with others in the industry. You have someone who is ready to take all the responsibility for infrastructure, for HR, and you can have a team that is working for your brand in about two weeks.
Personalisation tools and techniques are key talking points in gaming today. How do you use these to engage with players?
What could be a more personalised tool than actually having that call and a two-way discussion with the player? That will always be the key for us, to actually communicate with the players, and our agents will make this a helpful and interesting conversation for both parties involved in the call, instead of one-way information.
In our customer support, we have several KPIs for our agents to always go the extra mile and make the player feel they have a personalised and professional service instead of standard generic answers.
What measures do you have in place to address problem gambling?
All of our agents are certified in Responsible Gaming by the iGaming Academy. It’s a topic we follow very closely; our agents are instructed in training that even if we hear the slightest possibility someone might be in the danger zone or recovering from a gambling addiction, as soon as we hear something along those lines, we don’t try to pitch them anything about offers. We apologise for calling, take them off the calling list and if needed provide them information about how to receive further help.
We always report this back to our partners; that this player has indicated they are suffering from a gambling addiction or are in recovery, so they can take the necessary actions on their side.
With personal details being discussed, how are you GDPR compliant?
We never store or touch the personal details. First of all, we need a very limited amount of information from our partners to perform these types of contact, when it comes to Reactivation services. All the data is uploaded to an SFPT server, which we as a company can never touch. We can’t save it, we can’t alter it, we can’t delete it, we can’t really do anything with it. So we never own or store the data.
All these lists that are uploaded are set with a date for when it becomes inactive and a second date when the list is completely deleted from the server in order to remain GDPR compliant.
When it comes to customer support, we have a lot of education and training and our agents work very, very closely with the brands they are representing. We have routines set up together with our partners which are tailored to their GDPR approach.