UK online gambling industry fails to offer adequate customer service

Monday 27th November– Online gambling is set to exceed £5.2 billion this year – with 76 per cent of the UK’s 29 million internet users betting on a regular basis. An independent audit, by customer service specialist Talisma, of the 100 most popular UK online gambling sites has revealed that despite the success of the industry, many of the websites are failing to deliver acceptable levels of customer service.

The recent introduction of the US anti-internet gambling bill, which restricts the accessibility of online gambling to US residents, has created much confusion into the legality of online gambling in other countries. Posing as a customer, Talisma asked every site in the audit whether betting via the internet is legal in the UK. The support offered by the 100 gambling sites was less than satisfactory, with:

· 40 per cent of e-mails ignored

· 16 per cent of the calls made to the sites not answered

· 30 per cent of online internet chat sessions requesting advice not replied to

With customers now encouraged to interact with gambling sites using more cost effective communication methods such as email and online chat, the audit also analysed how good the sites were at supporting these new channels. When tested, 80 per cent of the websites had disparate systems supporting different communication channels, meaning that staff were not able to access the necessary information to solve enquires, creating frustration in the customer and probable lost business.

The audit carried out in August 2006 also concluded that online self service support for customers was particularly bad. Only four per cent of sites were able to provide users with a service that allowed them to search online help documents for solutions to their problems.

“Over the past few years the industry has made a significant investment in online gambling sites. Many organisations are failing to integrate their online services with customer service operations. When you consider that the online gambling market is becoming increasingly competitive and that customers are able to move to a competitor with a click of a mouse, organisations need to start perceiving customer service as a differentiator rather then a luxury,” said Jon McNerney, vice president international operations at Talisma.

Methodology

The Talisma online gaming audit was conducted amongst the top 100 UK online gaming companies in August 2006. The audit monitors key best practice characteristics of customer service, including:

· Access to service channels: Email, Chat, Phone and Self Help

· Response speed

· Accuracy and completeness

· Personalisation

· Media Blending

Final audit scores are calculated based on point scoring across multiple service channels. Service channels are weighted within the audit based on best practices and popular acceptance. The proper execution of these best practice criteria has been proven to elevate the quality of customer service and deliver optimal return on investment (ROI).

To download a copy of the report please visit: www.talisma.com/ukgamblingaudit.

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About Talisma

Talisma Corporation is a global provider of Customer Interaction Management solutions that enable businesses to deliver a truly exceptional customer experience. Talisma’s solutions integrate the power of email, phone, chat, VoIP, and Web self-service with a robust and mature customer interaction management Web services platform, comprehensive analytics, and a system-wide knowledgebase. Talisma's global customers include Aetna, AOL, Aviva, Bank of America, Canon, ChevronTexaco, Citibank, Coast Capital Savings, Daimler-Chrysler, Dell, DHL, Ford, HGTV, Intuit, University of Alabama, Microsoft, Pitney Bowes, Siemens, Sony, Sprint, and the US Department of State. For more information, visit www.talisma.com.

Published on: 12:00AM on 27th November 2006