Concerned about the rising volume of player complaints on WhichBingo.co.uk, Commercial Director Simon Jones initiated a research project in April 2013 to investigate the quality of customer support in online bingo.
Commenting on the research project Jones said “we wanted to look into why there are so many complaints coming from online bingo players on our main portal. I’m not a bingo player myself but if I was, I’d want a bingo brand to hear my concerns.” He continues “Whilst our main portal has the facility for bingo brand owners to respond to player complaints, it’s rare we see any interaction between the two parties. We’re equally concerned that bingo brand managers are not doing enough to support their customers online.”
The team at Focus reviewed 75 online bingo sites using a quantitative approach. This method was used to measure the types of support channels each bingo brand had available to new players wanting to join the site including telephone, email, live help, Facebook and Twitter.
Of the 75 sites reviewed, 30 were then chosen for the qualitative research part of the project. This method looked at the overall quality of the support channels if they were available. For example, reviewing the email support channel, the bingo sites were all emailed the same question at the same time and the responses were measured against; time of response, quality of the response, accuracy of the response (compared to information on their respective websites) and overall customer satisfaction experience.
Headline statistics from the qualitative research revealed; 99% of sites have a support email address or website form. 72% of sites have a support telephone number. 40% of sites have live chat / help (excludes in game chat). 47% of sites have a Twitter account. 66% of sites have a Facebook page.
The research shows some interesting statistics and at the same time some worrying patterns, particularly the lack of attention given to social media channels.
The research suggests that telephone and email remain the strongest customer support channels however; social media was either very poor or non-existent in some cases. Surprisingly, statistics for the live help channel suggest only 60% of operators offer this service. One would have thought that the immediacy of online customer support queries could be quickly and simply resolved with a quick chat with “Alice”, wherever in the world he or she might actually be.
Overall, the research suggests there is room for improvement across all areas of online customer support. Whilst some of the larger brands, and most interestingly those with a sports book product were the best equipped and most responsive, there are still some big names with issues that need addressing.