‘It’s Your Sportsbook Operator On Line One’

mikael hansson

Sportsbooks land countless new betting accounts via promotions during key times such as March Madness or just before the start of football season — only to see many accounts of casual gamblers go dormant after the initial wave.

It’s a familiar question: How can those companies revive some of those accounts?

Enteractive founder and CEO Mikael Hansson told NJ Online Gambling that his company has worked out a remedy all over the world — and it is coming soon to the U.S., with Enteractive recently obtaining licensing approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

The secret? Hiring employees who literally speak the gambler’s native language, equipping them with localized phone numbers, and having them make then an old-fashioned phone call to check in with the customer.

But can that possibly work in the modern age?

“You have to have no bullshit, and be very upfront by saying, ‘We haven’t seen you in a while, and we’d love to hear if there is a way to earn your business,’” Hansson said.

“You need to let the customer control the communication,” he added. “If they say they are busy and [to] call them back later, we do that. Or if they prefer to get an email instead, we do that. You can’t be rude or aggressive, or say that ‘We’re going to make you rich’ — you have to listen to the customer.”

So why not just email them in the first place?

“Generic emails don’t work,” said Hansson said, whose company is based in Malta and contracts with various online gaming operators.

The process is successful, Hansson said, because the phone call shows that the company is willing to expend manpower, serving as evidence that the customer means something to the sportsbook operator.

Country-by-country variations

Hansson said that the frequency of responses to the calls varies depending on the country. So calls to someone in Spain or Poland, for example, are more likely to be answered directly than the same call going to someone in the United Kingdom or Scandinavia.

“I think Americans will be more like Scandanavians” in terms of response levels, Hansson added.

Still, a standard 10% rate of reactivating borderline accounts is both achievable and lucrative via his process, said Hansson, adding he expects to announce his first U.S. sportsbook partner or partners “in a couple of weeks.”

Hansson, 46, said he still recalls someone calling him in a similar way on behalf of Partypoker back around 2007.

While Hansson said the caller was not Swedish like he is, the call still was effective in drawing his interest. But he said it was clear having a caller who understood the call recipient’s culture would be more effective.

Moneyball approach

The 2011 film Moneyball about the creative management ideas of Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane served as further inspiration to Hansson.

“That’s how we approach our objectives within the iGaming industry — applying our custom-built technology to benefit the operators,” he said. “The math works!”

Since 2009, Enteractive employees have been making those phone calls — reacting to company research indicating 48% of those who stop using a sportsbook do so because they do not feel “valued” by that company.

“It’s a symbiotic relationship between players and operators — one cannot exist without the other,” Hansson said. “But that relationship has not been nurtured enough. There’s currently a gold rush in the U.S. sports betting market, and the eventual winners will be those brands that engage with their customers and build relationships for the future.

“Every brand in this sector must keep a clear focus on all aspects of their offering, ensuring that all the hard work in getting to market, and the expense of customer acquisition, is not lost to lapsing relationships.”

Hansson adds that another aspect of the  phone call is to clarify if a customer has stopped betting because they are attempting to manage a compulsive gambling problem. In those cases, he said, the customer is guided to tools to help them avoid being contacted in any way by gambling operators.

Photo of Mikael Hansson courtesy of Enteractive

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