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Interaction Can Make All the Difference

26th August 2016

Responsible Gambling Officer Daniel looks at customer interactions in gambling venues and online.

Good quality interactions with players who may be at risk of developing or who are experiencing issues with gambling are essential. Not only is it socially responsible to check in with your customers if you feel they may be at risk, this is just good customer service.

People typically interact poorly with others whilst gambling – they can lose track of time and money easily. Interacting with customers can be a ‘reality check’, and this is now a requirement of the UK Gambling Commission LCCP.

In the land-based gambling sector the difficulties of interaction are clear; angry customers and threats of violence can make interacting with customers an intimidating prospect. This can be particularly daunting for employees who are interacting with a customer because they have spotted behaviour that could be indicative of harm.

By creating an atmosphere where positive interactions occur on a daily basis, where customers feel cared for and valued, staff can start building relationships that will make difficult interactions that bit easier. When there is a friendly and positive ambiance in a venue, customers are more likely to feel empowered to speak about any issues they may have with their gambling behaviour. When employees are fully prepared and informed about the help available, that's even better.

The online gambling sector faces its own set of challenges when it comes to having effective interactions with customers. Increasingly, communications between customers and operators are taking place through emails and live chat facilities, forms of communication that may lack a personal touch.

Does this make it harder for employees to connect with their customers, if they only appear as a username? There is a person behind the keyboard, but it can be hard to remember that sometimes.

On the flip side, it can be far easier for online operators to track players. The technology and metrics that online companies now have at their fingertips means they can build a better profile of their customers, personalise interactions and let them know that they are cared for. Responsible gambling alerts should be built in to any such communication system.

Customers that use services for an extended period of time are concerned about a company’s values. If an operator has good, socially responsible values, they can demonstrate this through good quality, personalised interactions with their customers.

There can sometimes be anxiety around interacting with customers, particularly about judging when it’s appropriate to interact, but improving customer care and having good quality conversations with their customers is imperative, and all companies need to take customer interaction seriously.

Find out more about GamCare interaction training here.