Expect more mergers and deals as companies chase betting customers

Expect more mergers and deals as companies chase betting customers

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The trend towards consolidation within the gaming industry is set to continue, according to the Chief Customer Officer of gaming superpower Ladbrokes Coral.

At today’s ICE Vox “Fireside Chat: Confessions of a Chief Customer Officer”, Kristof Fahy from the recently merged bookmaking brand found delegates were sceptical about the effect further consolidation would have on the industry. When asked whether they thought consolidation would be positive for customer experience and product innovation a poll revealed 45% said ‘No’, 45% answered ‘Maybe’ and just 10% answered ‘Yes’.

Fahy said: “It's a strange to think that people say it's destroyed the industry. From the UK market we're under pressure from the governments as well as industry.”

“There is a strong view in the market that there will be more mergers and deals,” he said. “I think that will carry on as within the UK, there are only so many people who will bet."

Fahy said the merger had allowed the newly created brand to maximise its collective strengths as it moved forward: "We saw things that the Coral brand does well and things that the Ladbrokes brand does well, so we’re trying to create the best of both worlds."

Fahy urged businesses to brush aside bureaucracy to allow innovation to flourish. He said: “We have some really smart people at Ladbrokes Coral. Part of our role in the exec team is to clear the way for these smart people to just get on. No disrespect to steering groups and project managers, but as soon as you have those people involved, innovation is dead. Ideas are sat there in your business right now. Innovation starts internally but you have to clear the way for it to happen.”

Fahy was cautious on the trend towards creating personalised experiences, emphasising that businesses should concentrate on getting the basics right first:  “It's very hard to deliver 100,000 different personalised experiences for everyone who logs on. I think you need to make sure things work, have a slick experience, pay out when they've won and have a stable platform.”

Fahy said that the Ladbrokes brand had mapped its customer experience and found 71 touch points with 22 teams involved. He said this information had been used to map the touch points and improve the customer experience journey.

To build customer loyalty, he recommended that businesses look to brands they use every day. “I use Amazon because it works. Look at brands you go to, day in day out, and think about exactly why they've got you there.”

Fahy said businesses could learn more about how to improve their customer experience simply by talking to their customers. He asked the floor: “When was the last time you talked to a real human being who is giving you money? I learned more speaking to customers and speaking to shop managers than I ever did internally. The people who pay your wages, talk to them more.”