Whatever the social, economic or political context, any mature business understands that customer satisfaction comes first. During a discussion with Octavian Pălăniță from Stanleybet, we found out how the customer care department of the oldest betting agency in the country works. Being one of the oldest members of the Stanleybet team, Octavian told us about the evolution, the adaptation to the new socio-economic context and the future of the customer service department in Stanleybet.
What does customer care mean for Stanleybet?
Customer satisfaction! What does customer satisfaction mean? A satisfied Stanleybet customer is the one who, after an interaction with us, is left with a positive impression. A satisfied customer is the one who feels that he has received the answer he was looking for.
Customer care is a concept that most Romanian businesses are still trying to integrate. What is the situation of Stanleybet from this point of view?
Both in retail and online businesses, this concept has been a continuous effort to adapt to what customer care should represent. The Stanleybet advantage is that we are the oldest betting brand in Romania and our pretty vast experience has helped us reach a level that expresses what customer care should represent for any other company.
What was the starting point? I am interested in the evolution of this department.
When Stanleybet was launched on the Romanian market, we started from the most basic level possible. It was not a well-defined position. We actually adapted on the go. We found out our customers’ needs on the go. It was a very romantic time (he smiles). It was a period of mutual acquaintance in which we met our clients, but also our clients got acquainted with the Stanleybet brand.
Another defining period was the beginning of the online activity. Initially, we provided strict answers to customer questions. In a short time, we realized that the customer care is more than that. We come back here to the idea that we offer not only support, but also satisfaction. We treat our clients with professionalism and give them confidence that they are gambling in a professional company.
The action in online casinos is the same as in land based ones? Or is there a difference between them?
For us, the actions are similar. From the customer care department perspective, the relationship with the player takes place remotely for both the retail and online area. Basically, the actions are similar and there is a single direction. All our efforts for ensuring customer satisfaction is carried out in the same direction.
What are these efforts? What does Stanleybet do?
First of all, we focus on people, on the internal resource. We invest in people who have experience in the field of gambling, in people who have had contact with the client, in people who understand the player’s thinking. We invest in our people so that they can give the customer the desired answer. This has been Stanleybet’s main strategy and policy in order to ensure efficient support services and to facilitate a natural and healthy development of the department.
What were the biggest challenges before the pandemic?
It was a very strong fight to keep our employees. It is a situation that both our industry and other industries on the Romanian labour market have faced. We are all aware of the phenomenon of mass emigration.
What has been done in this regard?
Investments were made in both professional and personal development. We do not believe in professional improvement without personal development. We have carried out various projects in this regard over time. We have invested in training people in customer care, communication, dealing with tense situations, the difference between internal and external client and other daily challenges in their work.
What are the biggest challenges today?
Changing the proportions of players’ preferences in Romania is the biggest challenge today. We felt a greater number of interactions with online players. The challenge was to cope with a high inflow in a very short time in order to ensure at least the same level of service to our players.
What are the organizational standards?
We are currently looking to provide a balance between working from home and working from the office, for all our employees. The main thing we need to take care of is employee safety. This is the main purpose in organizing our activities. We are now working in a mixed office-home system, precisely to ensure a direct social environment that we need as people, but in a safe environment.
You have already told us according to which criteria the team members are selected. But how are they evaluated?
Our evaluation systems are designed in such a way as to ensure a balance between all our employees, without favoring or requesting additional activities from one of our team members. We focus mainly on the quality of the interactions they have with our customers. It is a continuous process of improvement. We do not have well-defined standards, but we are always looking to improve out current condition.
How does Stanleybet find out if his client is satisfied? How does it measure?
First, in numbers (he laughs). We see the statistics and we understand. We monitor customer satisfaction from several sources: social media platforms and the feedback we take directly from our customers. Only the customer’s opinion matters.
Future projects? What does Stanleybet think about chatbots?
We believe in automation, but we try not to lose sight of the human factor when it comes to direct interactions. We believe in automating the processes that the customer does not feel directly. We mean processes that ensure faster customer service. But, regarding the direct interaction, we will always rely on a communication as personalized as possible.
The pandemic has taught us that the future is very unpredictable and the things can take a different turn in very short intervals. We live in a time when we have to show continuous adaptation. We have a long-term vision, and the main objective is to continue to ensure customer satisfaction in all circumstances.