William Woodhams, Fitzdares: Winning the long term game with customer experience

Creating a more personalised customer experience has long been front and centre for Fitzdares, and according to CEO William Woodhams, a stand-out journey is what helps distinguish an operator from the competition.

Speaking at the recent Betting on Sports Europe, you can view the panel sessions on demand here, Woodhams expressed the importance of customer experience when engaging with bettors. He noted that creating a thoroughly engaging customer journey, where a bettor can interact with their operator should they not be happy with something, will ultimately help Fitzdares “win in the long term game”.

He said: “I see a sector that’s been revolutionised by technology. I’ve seen a sector that has lost all the personal touch – retail is closing every day, and the retail that is left, in many cases, isn’t an amazing experience. So I think you can either go right to the bottom and focus on offers, incentives and technology. Alternatively, you can go in the other direction and be all about customer experience. 

“When something goes wrong with your bettor, you want it to be fixed immediately. You want the bookmaker to apologise and you’ll be given a free bet. That’s absolutely key with any business. Except bookmaking where, in my opinion, the customer kind of comes last and is often factored out. More often than not, a lot of bookmakers are very heavily focused on products. 

“At Fitzdares, we like to put the customer first – place them at the centre of our experience – which is why we offer live chat. If you’re not happy with the price, you can push back. It’s a real experience. And I think that’s absolutely key. I think that’s how we’ll win. Ultimately, it’s just a long term game.”

In addition to exclusively announcing that Fitzdares will be launching a new Club in the Cotswolds, Woodhams made some bold predictions for what lies ahead for the industry in 2022 – namely that some of the larger bookmakers may “take their eyes off of the UK market”.

This, he believes, can be positive for bookmakers such as Fitzdares. Woodhams continued: “I think there’s a negative element that I think we can flip into a positive. I think the CEOs of the big four UK listed bookmaking businesses are going to be taking their eyes off the UK and Europe. I think if they’re going to be taking their eyes off sports which can’t make them enough money. I think they’re going to be quite callous because I think their attention is going to be in the US. 

“For someone like me, who’s predominantly UK and Ireland focus as well as racing focused, I think I can pick up a lot of business when these big bookmakers turn their attention to other new markets and under invest in technology and marketing in the UK sports. There’s a huge opportunity there. 

“Betting is always an exciting sector. We always work it out and we always make the most of what we have. Sport as a global product is just getting better and better. Ultimately, that’s what we sell, and it’s improving. 

“Obviously there will be a big compliance tailwind in January and February when the government announces the findings of its review. But actually, what I think they’re going to do is set a standard for the whole industry so that we all play by the same rules which will be really good for smaller operators like me.

“2022 will be focused on compliance. The compliance element will make it a safer gambling environment for punters. I think we work with that and ultimately I think that actually makes our businesses a lot better and future proof.”

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