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ESSENTIAL READING FOR ONLINE GAMBLING MANAGERS Straight from the shoulder tips on keeping players happy The importance of retaining good players in these difficult economic and competitive times is self-evident, yet support staff and managers continue to make fundamental errors in how they treat the customers on whom success depends.  Internet message boards still carry way too many tales of sad experiences at the hands of uncaring and less than efficient staff, leading to one player posting a straight-from-the-shoulder assessment this weekend of what a customer expects to receive in the way of service – it's worth reading as a refresher for Management 101.  The player questions rhetorically whether some managers have ever asked themselves: "What do my customers expect from me?" and goes on to provide the answers: 1. Make sure your terms and conditions are clear, very visible and not contradictory. Check or have someone senior check your website and email marketing for outdated promo's, terms, conflicting information and dead links. There just isn't any excuse for errors in this very important area that can initiate conflict with your players.  And if your company has screwed up on a promo, don't expect your players to carry the can for the error. 2. If I contact Support please try to keep the on-hold time as short as possible. 5 minutes is acceptable, over 10 is not. If you need more staff……hire some. 3. If there is some big issue happening where many players are kept waiting on the line or on live chat, resulting in longer than normal response times, come on line and give a short explanation, even an automated response. Communication is critically important to keep impatience at bay, and most players are pretty understanding if you just explain.  4. If it's taking awhile to find or retrieve what the customer is requesting, come back on with a reassurance that you are still there and don't leave the customer hanging out there for more than 5 minutes wondering about disconnection or simply being abandoned.  5. If I ask you a question and you don't know the answer…..don't pull something out of fantasy land. It's perfectly acceptable to say "I'm sorry, I don't presently have that information but I will find out and get back to you by tomorrow."  6. And logically, if you tell me that you will get back to me……for pete's sake just do it, within 24 hours. If you still don't know the answer, that's OK, just say so and you can contact me again…..within 24 hours. Beware of excuses like "He just stepped out for a moment but we'll get right back to you"….and then don't. 7. If I email you with a problem or a question, please take the time to actually read the email. Don't respond with some pointless canned (pre-prepared and irrelevant) reply; that is one of the big triggers for player frustration and anger. Again…..the 24 hour rule applies and if you don't know the answer, it's acceptable to say 'I will get back to you.'  Worst of all, you didn't bother to respond at all (and yes, I've checked my filters!) Taking a "Too bloody difficult, just ignore" approach is just unprofessional….and unforgiveable.  8. Please give your customer service people the updated information and the tools they need to do their job. If you are confident in their ability and supervisor, it would be a good idea to additionally give them some discretion – on small bonuses and freebies, for example. Nothing frustrates a player more than being unable to get a response on (example) – "I just deposited $50.00 and it lasted 10 minutes, I didn't even get one bonus round. I was wondering since I'm a good customer who deposits XXX every month if you could throw me a little bone. I have 960 bonus points, if you would up it to 1000 so I can get my 10 spot, it would be much appreciated."  You can't do that? " Unfortunately (for you) the player is likely to immediately consider uninstalling your casino; you just said goodbye to a good, regular customer who seldom bothers you. And…….yes you have records of who asks for the freebie every other day and…. no, you don't have to give it to them. Head abusing players off before it gets to the point of being aggravating, send them a email stating that they no longer will be receiving freebies because they are abusing your good will.  9. Use Spell Check, always. Badly worded and misspelt communications deliver only a negative perception. 10. Don't be
rude or condescending – players are customers who put the bread on the table. Players don't expect you take abuse from your customers, either. If a customer is being abusive, courteously tell them that you will talk to them when they have calmed down and can communicate in an adult manner.
 11. Never lie to your customers. This Internet business is based on trust, and truth is the best policy to engender that trust. Treat your players with the same respect and courtesy that you would expect to receive yourself when dealing with any business, be it a casino or otherwise.  12. Don't make your customers jump through hoops and crawl through tunnels to get their cash withdrawals by repeatably asking for their documents presenting unfair or unnecessary obstacles. When ID or other documents are despatched to you, acknowledge their receipt immediately and take every care to protect the privacy of the sender. If there is an issue with the documents, contact the sender to get it rectified within 24 hours – no suspicious delays, please. 13. Pay out in the time period outlined on your website. If you can't meet it, email the customer explaining the delay, don't wait for the player to contact you again…and again….and again. Failing to take the initiative in this important area puts your business in a bad light and generates ill-will at the player end. Too many players have been ripped off and stalled way too many times. Head off the frustration by being pro-active here. 14. Please impress upon your staff the importance of giving your customers the perception that you appreciate their business. Show your appreciation for longstanding and loyal, trouble-free players by giving the occasional comp or bonus without prompting – it works wonders.