How every sportsbook owner can, and should, communicate effectively with their players.
Effective and easy communication between players and their bookies is one of the most important aspects of the sports wagering business.
Warren Buffett believes so much in communication that he told a group of MBA students that “better communication could boost their value by 50%”. Imagine what that could do for your online sportsbook.
But Buffett was talking about traditional business communication. That’s where the rub is for bookies. Pay per head agents don’t operate in a traditional business world. They don’t have “inventory”. They don’t set sell conventional goods and services.
Sportsbooks are unique. And that’s where bookie to player communication differs than, say, how an employee at one of Buffett’s Dairy Queen’s communicates to a kid looking to purchase an ice cream cone.
The Dairy Queen, and your sportsbook, are comparable to a point. Before we get deeper into it, it’s time to take a backward step and define a couple of things.
What, exactly, does a sportsbook do? And, as a bookie, what is your job?
Understanding the Sportsbook Industry and the role of communication, customer service and marketing
We know what sportsbooks do. But what are their actual functions? A function is an action for which a person or thing is especially fitted. That’s Merriam-Webster talking, not us. Sportsbooks are especially fitted to do what they do, which is provide the means for which sports bettors can make wagers.
That’s not the lone function of a sportsbook, though. A sportsbook doesn’t function as a place where your customers can log onto their accounts and make bets on teams against the spread, over-under the total, and parlay wagers.
Sportsbooks are also places where customers fill a deeper need. Good salespeople, and if you’re a bookie you facilitate sales, requires knowing your customers’ deep needs. Don’t believe us?
Sit back, close your eyes, and think of every fashion brand you know. Make it easy on yourself by thinking just about shirts, or pants. Heck, just think about shoes. How many shoe brands do you know?
Here’s the function of a shoe: they protect our feet so that when we’re mobile, we don’t hurt our feet. That’s it. Some shoes do this better than other shoes. Some shoes provide this function under specific situations like when we jog up and down the hill near our homes in a desperate attempt to hang on to our youth.
Whatever the case may be, shoes provide the function of protecting our feet while we walk or run. That’s pretty much all shoes do. People spend an incredible amount on shoes. Nobody who bought Air Jordans in the early 1990s did so with the hopes of slam-dunking a basketball from the free-throw line.
But Air Jordans, at a massive over $200 price-tag, outsold almost every other shoe on the market. That’s because Nike discovered their customers’ needs and provided a function, the Air Jordans, to satisfy those needs.
Sportsbooks have two functions: to facilitate wagers and to satisfy a players’ needs. Players can have more than one need but there’s a chief need among most every sports betting player and it’s not the desire to win.
It’s excitement. It’s getting the heart pumping blood and thinking, knowing, that the player is going to win. That’s the keyword to communicating with players, excitement.
Bookies Communicate to Customers and Fellow Business Owners
Excitement isn’t the only thing that bookies must communicate to players. There are different types of sports bettors, different types of players. Some players wager on nationally televised games or weekend sports events.
These “casual” players don’t log onto your sportsbook every day. They don’t think about how to make money on a college basketball game between Radford and Iona. These casual players require you to communicate excitement for the games on which you wish them to make a wager.
But there is another set of players, professional sports bettors, that consider their bets investments. These bettors calculate odds, think in terms of betting units, and consider the risk versus reward for every wager.
Professionals run businesses. They keep track of every dollar they invested into every game. They keep track of losses and wins. Most hope for a 10% return. They look for overlay lines the way an investor looks for an under-appreciated stock.
Professional sports bettors run their own businesses.
Because casual players and pro players think differently, bookies like you must communicate to them in different ways. When we communicate to casual players, we call it bookie to customer communication.
When we communicate with professional players, we call it bookie to business owners, or B-2-B communication.
Don’t forget who you’re communicating with. If it’s a casual sports bettor, make sure you communicate excitement. If it’s a pro sports bettor, make sure you communicate on the B-2-B level.
Bookies Must Communicate with Customers
Overall Bookie-to-Player Communication
Whether you communicate with players every day, once a week, or once a month, depends on the player and reason for communication. Most players know how to make wagers, deposit through the Agent Payment System, what sports on which they like to wager, and why you’re their bookie. They don’t need or require you to correspond with them.
You want to respect your players’ wishes. But at the same time, you run a business. This requires you to communicate certain things to your players. Before going off and contacting a player, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What’s the purpose of communication?
If you have an actual purpose to communicate, then, yes, make sure your customer knows about it. But if there is no purpose to the communication, then why say anything at all?
2. What do you wish to gain from communication?
Do you wish to promote a sports event? Are you checking in to see how the player or players are doing? Do you want to run a March Madness or Super Bowl contest? Are you alerting your players to Olympic, rugby, or soccer betting? What do you want your players to know?
3. What action or actions do you wish the player or players to make?
Is there anything that your player or players must do after you communicate with them? Do you want them to take a look at making wagers in the racebook or casino? Do you want to increase your handle for both?
Do you want them to take part in an MLB contest? Each baseball team plays 162 games. Are you trying to squeeze as much baseball action as possible from your sports bettors during the season?
Make sure to ask yourself questions before you start communicating with your players. Don’t turn customers off with useless communication.
Bookie-to-Player marketing communications
An old sportsbook fallacy, just like the one about the Soprano soldier sitting in the back room of the pizzeria, is that bookies don’t have to market to their players. This erroneous idea came about because of the nature of running a sportsbook. An industry that exists in the shadows requires basic, heck, in many cases no marketing communication.
We know that’s not true. But the fallacy does exist. Some of us perpetuate the fallacy because we don’t want to communicate with our players. That’s a problem.
In today’s online sportsbook industry, options are prevalent. If it’s a sport, even something like cricket or rugby, bookies who agent for companies like Pay Per Head can offer those betting options. You could miss out on profit if you don’t let your players know.
Day-to-day communications are necessary. The more options you can offer your clients the better.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Most sports bettors don’t want to be inundated with emails and texts about the latest matches in the Indian Premier League or Australia’s Big Bash League.
Since nobody wants that, it’s important to keep marketing messages to a minimum. Here’s a short, 4-step, list that should help you keep track with your marketing messages:
1. Study player reports – If you don’t know what your players like to wager, you won’t know when to alert them about betting options they might find interesting.
2. Keep marketing messages short – Something like, “Wanted to make sure you knew the Patriots were playing on Monday Night Football tonight” is more effective than a short story about how it might be raining, and the field could be a bog, and you heard the drivers for the buses from the hotel might have the flu.
3. Make sure marketing messages are on point – It goes without saying that your marketing messages must go straight to the point. Don’t beat around the bush with marketing messages.
Anyone raised in the U.S., grew up surrounded by advertising. Marketers don’t call themselves advertisers anymore. They changed the language because the word “sales” has bad connotations. But when you send out a marketing email, text, or make a phone call, you’ve become a salesperson.
People know when they’re being sold to. Make sure your marketing messages are relevant, which brings us to the final point…
4. Don’t overthink it – If you want to let your players know about a game, tell them about the game. That’s it. If you want to send a mass email about your NFL Survivor Contest, talk about it. Don’t get into the weeds, though.
Let your players know about the survivor contest. You don’t need more than that.
How to Handle Player-to-Bookie Communications
Have you ever tried to contact a customer service person at Google? How about Facebook? What about any tech company on the planet? Sometimes, it feels as if the world’s biggest tech companies are afraid to talk to any of their customers.
That’s the nature of the Internet. Companies believe that if they set up a large knowledge base, they don’t have to talk to their customers. A lot of times, they’re correct. They mustn’t talk to their customers if the knowledge base is large enough.
But non-communication also depends on what these companies sell. Facebook is a self-service platform. Sure, the company has issues with regulators because they sell personal information, but the platform doesn’t require money, on the part of users, to change hands. Facebook’s customers aren’t their actual customers. Or, a better way to put it, Facebook’s actual customers don’t use their main platform product.
You’re different than Facebook. Like FB, you provide a service. Unlike FB, your service requires you to sell to your customers. Money most definitely changes hands in the sportsbook industry.
There are expectations for this type of communication. Follow these rules to keep most customers happy and profits soaring.
1. Answer questions as soon as possible
2. But don’t just answer questions. Make sure you have the right answers to player questions
3. If a player is rude or goes off on you, ask them why.
4. There’s nothing wrong with dumping rude, inconsiderate, and out of their mind players
It’s important to think about numbers 3 and 4. Sometimes, players go off because they had a bad beat. If you have a decent relationship with the player and it’s the first time, you could do something like add a wagering credit to that sports bettor’s account.
You could create a sports betting client for life. If the player just wants you as their punching bag, then forget it. Although there’s a ton of competition for sportsbook dollars, you don’t need headache players.
A Few Words on Player-Bookie Trust
It’s important to understand that we must trust players and players must trust us. Some sports bettors will try to take advantage of you. Don’t let this happen. At the same time, you want to reward loyal customers.
Always remember that trust must go both ways for the player-bookie relationship to work.
10 effective communication tips for your bookie business
Check out these communication tips. Keep them in mind when you communicate with your customers:
1. Have patience – If a customer wants to have a long conversation, maybe, you should have that long conversation.
2. Make sure your info is accurate – When you answer a player question, your info must be correct. Also, don’t talk about anything unless you’re sure the information you provide is accurate.
3. Be proactive – Don’t wait until players must ask questions. What if you decided to offer BTC, bitcoin, deposits? You want your players to know as soon as possible.
4. Don’t interrupt – Let your customers talk first. When sports bettors talk, they want to know their bookies are listening. Don’t interrupt.
5. Practice active listening – If you’re on the phone with a player, make sure to listen. Also, “listen” to what players tell you in texts and emails. Just because it isn’t verbal, it doesn’t mean that you mustn’t actively listen, actually hear, what your players say. Players want to know that you got them. That you hear them.
6. Come up with analogies if you can – Some of us are great at coming up with analogies when we want to get our point across. Some of us are horrible at it. If you’re not good at this, look up analogies on Google. Use the ones you find. Great analogies are great because they’re proven.
7. Don’t cut corners – If you want to get out of the email or text chain, you could cut corners. That might bite you. Everything you communicate to a customer can affect the relationship. Your business requires you to keep good relationships.
Bookies keep customers happy with good communication
Practice good, effective, communication. Sportsbooks exist in the service industry. You provide sports bettors a service. If you can’t communicate with those players, they have other options. Good communication with customers keeps customers happy. That keeps them playing in your sportsbook, which means profit.
Pay Per Head is the leader in online sportsbook software. Increase profit, build your bottom line, and keep your customers happy by becoming a Pay Per Head agent. Call 800-605-4767 for details.