In this interview, Cameron Green, Founder of F9 media group, sat down with John Bamidele, founder of gbc.ng to discuss how operators can retain customers through the use of tech innovations
Cameron Green has 20 years of extensive experience in global e-commerce, operational and commercial management. Cameron founded F9 Media Group, offering consulting services to the gaming industry exploring ways to implement creative and innovative processes that increase operational profitability.
Gbc.ng: What is the most pressing issue facing the online gaming market in Africa today?
Cameron: Regardless of industry sector, no business can survive without its customers. And when it comes to the highly competitive online gaming market, operators are under pressure to continually innovate and deliver an experience tailored to their customers. They must remain relevant and have an intimate understanding of what it is their customers want. This is where customer relationship management (CRM) fulfils a vital role. It provides essential information about customer behavior and highlights the paint points (and areas for growth) where operators must focus on. Gaming users in Africa deliver a significantly lower lifetime value than their counterparts in other areas of the world. To mitigate the economic impact of customer churn, it is therefore imperative for operators to adopt more effective bonuses (or rewards) systems that entice people to stay. This can only be done through CRM and the analysis of the data these systems contain.
Gbc.ng: What is the value a CRM system can unlock for an online gaming operator?
Cameron: CRM helps build a bond with existing customers. And when that bond is strong and maintained, the customer feels valued and less likely to leave for a competitor. By consistently delivering customer value, loyalty is cultivated with the end user trusting the operator to provide it with a compelling reason to remain with the business. On a more functional level, CRM can provide insights in the frequency, monetary values, and types of bets or online games individual customers prefer. It delivers an understanding of what the customer basket consists of and potentially identifies areas where more value can be delivered. Attracting a new customer might be easy, especially during these uncertain times thanks to the global pandemic, but retaining one that brings lots of revenues potential is more difficult. CRM can help keep track of new leads, flag those customers with the best potential for up selling or providing new games for, deliver the means for customized communication, and analyse things like the average bet size, their favorite sports, and so on.
Gbc.ng: How is CRM different today than what it was in the past?
Cameron: New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have upped the proverbial ante when it comes to CRM and online gaming. It introduces a level of automation in the analysis of customer behavior at a cost which companies did not previously shave access to. Beyond delivering improved reports, more customized player communication, and enhancements to data capturing, AI and ML combine to ‘learn’ from past decisions and historical patterns to optimize how each solution is delivered on an individual customer level. With this, comes a better understanding of which customers require incentives to stay with the site, how much rewards are necessary to maintain operations while balancing profitability, and so on.
Gbc.ng: Is it not expensive to implement the likes of AI and ML for online gaming operators?
Cameron: Contrary to popular belief, using AI and ML does not require an ‘everything or smoothing’ mindset. Operators can use their existing databases and inject bespoke development code that includes AI and ML feature sets. This empowers them to move away from the manual, and error-prone, spreadsheet approach of the past. Just consider the amount of data available to operators. The increase in unstructured data (for example social media posts), combined with the information already stored in their databases mean an operator can gain much more nuanced insights into individual customers. However, this requires working with a trusted partner to ensure data integration and the resultant AI and ML enhancements can be done in according with each country’s specific regulatory and compliance requirements.
Gbc.ng: Where to next for customer retention?
Cameron: While the future is always difficult to predict, more so given the issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the coming months will see operators increasingly relying on their CRM systems to deliver value to their customers. Just as the move to cloud-based environments have been accelerated over the past six months, so too will the need to integrate AI and ML into these processes become critically important. And yet, despite all this technology innovation taking place, it boils down to a better understanding of people, their usage patterns, and developing something bespoke for their unique needs. The technology is an enabler, but there must be a human-focused element to tie all these systems together.
SiGMA Group is excited to announce the launch of its newly revamped website. The website is currently available in 6 languages, English, Russian, French, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish with plans to add another 4 languages over the coming months – namely Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Hindi.