Punters Let Down By Online Gambling Sites

Online gambling is set to exceed £5.2 billion this year – with 76 per cent of the UK’s 29 million internet users betting on a regular basis. An independent audit, by customer service specialist Talisma, of the 100 most popular UK online gambling sites has revealed that despite the success of the industry, many of the websites are failing to deliver acceptable levels of customer service.

The recent introduction of the US anti-internet gambling bill, which restricts the accessibility of online gambling to US residents, has created much confusion into the legality of online gambling in other countries. Posing as a customer, Talisma asked every site in the audit whether betting via the internet is legal in the UK. The support offered by the 100 gambling sites was less than satisfactory, with:

· 40 per cent of e-mails ignored

· 16 per cent of the calls made to the sites not answered

· 30 per cent of online internet chat sessions requesting advice not replied to

With customers now encouraged to interact with gambling sites using more cost effective communication methods such as email and online chat, the audit also analysed how good the sites were at supporting these new channels. When tested, 80 per cent of the websites had disparate systems supporting different communication channels, meaning that staff were not able to access the necessary information to solve enquires, creating frustration in the customer and probable lost business.

The audit carried out in August 2006 also concluded that online self service support for customers was particularly bad. Only four per cent of sites were able to provide users with a service that allowed them to search online help documents for solutions to their problems.