Responsible Gambling
Proactive calls for long-term customer relationships

What might happen if you call your biggest gamblers and ask them how they feel about their gambling and whether they’re interested in making some changes? Norwegian gambling company Norsk Tipping did just that and found that not only did the players they contacted reduce their gambling by 30% – one year later, 99% of those who received the call were still customers. The success factor? The call works as a wake up call and the player gets to choose whether to take instant measures, cranking up the motivation to make a change.

— We reach out to players who’ve lost a lot of money and ask them about their gambling. In the one year follow-up, we found that 99% of those we called are still customers. This shows that the risk of scaring away customers is small, and, by extension, that the argument that proactive calls and other responsible gambling measures would deter players is invalid. 85-90% of those we reach out to are happy to receive the call, says Jakob Jonsson, licensed psychologist and PhD student at Stockholm University.

Proactive calls is a method where customer service agents call their biggest players and ask them questions about their gambling habits. During the call, the players are also given the option to utilise various responsible gambling tools, for example taking a break or setting limits. The customer service agent asks the player if they know how much they’ve lost within a given timeframe. Most players say no and are surprised by their habits, which is when the customer service agent steers the conversation to the topic of responsible gambling measures. With Norsk Tipping, the players have the opportunity to set limits during the call, meaning there’s no delay from call to action.

The average proactive call lasts for 6 minutes. The customer service agents who make the calls are trained in Motivational Interviewing (MI) for five days, after which they have access to further support and follow-ups. There are no requirements for previous training in MI, but everyone who works with proactive calls at Norsk Tipping has good experience talking to customers.

— Most of the customers we call are not interested in quitting gambling or contacting helplines. Rather, they want help to set limits, which the customer service agents at Norsk Tipping can help them with straight away. On average, those we come in contact with reduce their gambling by 30%. In the one year follow-up, we could see that the change appears to be sustained, Jakob says.

Jakob Jonsson and Sustainable Interaction have been involved in the project since its start in 2014. Today, three employees work full-time with proactive calls at Norsk Tipping. The results from the study have been published and can be found in an article available on the American Psychological Association’s website.

Jakob Jonsson will present the results from the research study (conducted in 2017) at the New Horizons Responsible Gambling Conference in Vancouver on March 13th 2019. Jakob Jonsson works as a clinical psychologist at Sustainable Interaction where he serves as an expert on gambling addiction and responsible gambling. Sustainable Interaction supplies web-based responsible gambling trainings, tools and solutions to customers worldwide.