December 15th, 2007

Do Affiliates Have To Provide Customer Service?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

You’ve put a lot of effort into researching the correct affiliate program partnership, figuring out how you’re going to attract players to your site, setting goals and objectives, creating budgets, etc., etc., and now you’re getting visitors to your site.

First Impressions

The first impression of how you treat your customers will come from the ease of use of your site. How many times have you gone to a site where you just couldn’t find what you wanted or it took too long to load, or ….? You just leave, right? Realistically, you probably only have one chance to capture a customer.

Research other sites and note the features that you like and dislike and then make sure your site encourages visitors to stick around and click through. Make sure your navigation is easy and user friendly.

Customers today want instant gratification. Make sure you have “Help” up front and centre on your site. If you can, have a direct line to your customer support. Walk players through the process while you’re on the phone. At the very least, have an email system in place and answer promptly.

A “Questions and Answers” section on your site can really help. Not everyone will understand how affiliate programs work so be prepared to answer all questions clearly and concisely, whether in writing or in conversation.

If you don’t have answers at your fingertips, tell the customer you will get right back to them – and do so! Be friendly, and truly concerned with each customer.

A professional approach will make the customer comfortable enough to click through on your site. After all, it’s their money that they’re going to use to gamble on line and it’s your potential profit that will be lost if they decide to give your site a miss.

And never forget that customers tell everyone who will listen (blogs especially) about a bad experience but rarely make a point of talking about a good experience.

But can you keep them?

Life is sweet. Customers clicking through and you’re making money. But customers are fickle -- they want change just for the sake of change. Excellence in your customer service is a very important part of your business strategy to keep them coming back.

In fact, solving problems in a prompt and professional manner can build customer loyalty.

Many of the biggest issues that arise in internet gambling are technical issues. Players are not technical people and don’t understand why they could be disconnected from a tournament or why scheduled maintenance has to be done.

Your affiliate gambling sites will probably have 24 hour customer support but the players will be confused about the difference between your role and the role of the poker room. Be prepared to answer their questions and/or point them in the right direction.

Send out emails to all your players letting them know if there is going to be any downtime and talk to them about situations that can occur on the internet and why they happen.

Some players will get quite upset as it’s their money that’s at stake. As long as you can deal with their problems in a satisfactory way and feel confident that they are happy, they’ll more than likely stick with you, and if their experience leaves them feeling special and happy – they may even tell others.

Consider giving free tickets to tournaments or some other compensation that rests on playing more poker if you feel it is necessary or if the problem has arisen from your site or the poker room, but be careful – some players will abuse your goodwill.

In summary, the key to great customer service is to think of how you wanted to be treated and treat your customers in the same way.


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