'The Locker Room' is an article series which'll give you a behind the scenes look into who we are and how we're working at Unibet.
As a customer at Unibet, there's a chance you've already had - or will in the future - a need to contact our customer support for help in one way or another. A lot goes into handling all the contacts via chat, phone and email, in fact it's the biggest department we have. Located in Malta, customer support has handled more than 1 million contacts from Unibet customers so far this year and still going strong.
To shed light on the life as a customer support agent at Unibet being in contact with customers daily, we got in touch with Lily* - one of our many great agents - she handles contacts with customers from a number of different countries. All questions for her were asked by community members, we hope you'll enjoy the read.
Why did you want this job in customer support?
I wanted this job because I love to help people and to communicate with them. You cannot do this job unless you are patient, friendly and truly dedicated. Of course it is not always rainbows and unicorns, but I feel motivated and I love our customers, even the less friendly ones. I feel like they help me developing my personality sometimes. :) There is also pressure in busy times but I still enjoy it and you get to know how this gambling world works and this is interesting for me.
What do you like or dislike about your job as customer support agent?
I speak 4 languages and I like that I get to use 3 of them every day, so I don’t even have the chance to forget them. I like that I have the opportunity to chat with people from all around the world, everyone is different and after a while you get to know them. Italians for example, Polish people or people from India they all have national traits, and through them I feel like I get to know a bit their culture which is nice.
Have you ever had to take a mini break after dealing with a less friendly client
No, I never had to take a break after dealing with a demanding client. With time you learn not to take any frustrations personally. Usually I have more clients on chat at the same time, so even if one of them is a bit unhappy I still need to keep it together and help the other nice customers also. :)
What is most rewarding about being a customer support agent?
You know sometimes you have these customers who can be a bit more demanding than others, it doesn’t matter how nice you are with them, or how fast you help them with their problems they're stil demanding, but if I manage somehow to “make them” be nice or to make them smile, well that is enough reward for me :)
We are here to help our customers and to make them happy with the service we provide. If they smile, I smile. It is all about the customers at the end of the day.
What’s one of the the most unusual contacts you've ever had?
We need to make these account verifications and for that we ask customers for documents.
Once a young guy (he was around 30) sent us his ID, he was a very friendly person and on the ID picture you could see that he was lying in bed, with a pillow under his head and he was wearing pajamas.
It was unusual but I assumed he has a good reason for lying in bed in his ID picture, so I sent it to security team. They were not sure about this ID being real so they came to me asking me to ask the customer to explain the story behind the photo.
I so not felt like asking him to explain, I assumed he has serious health issues and I didn’t want to make him talk about it, plus why would you use this kind of photo on a fake ID. It would be too suspicious. I needed to ask him anyway so he told me he had a really bad accident, he was in hospital for a long period and his ID meanwhile expired so the police went there to take a photo for the ID and he also told me he lost one of his legs in the accident and he is in wheelchair since then.
You cannot even imagine how bad I felt and I couldn’t keep it together - I closed the chat with tears in my eyes and that was the first time I needed a mini break.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
If you mean in general that would be a bit too personal to tell :) this is the reason why most people don’t know this thing about me. :) I hope you don’t mind if I keep it to myself.
If by people you mean customers, that probably would be that when I say that “I am sorry for the inconvenience” , I say it because I mean it and not because I get paid to say it. :)
How would you explain your basic life philosophy?
Basic life philosophy. I like this question. :)
Well, I have a few, but one of the most important for me is, that I believe you get what you give so I try to be nice, friendly, open minded and understanding because these are the things I expect from other people and I believe this world would be a better place if we would all try to give the best of us and respect each other.
Is there any limit on how many users you can chat with at the same time?
We can decide this, everyone is different, and some of us are bored with only 2 chats some of us would like to have 6 at the same time. I have 4 chats, because I can help more people at the same time but still be friendly and organized and maybe personal. I wouldn’t like to make customers feel like they are chatting with a robot while they are chatting with me. :)
Do you feel that chatting with multiple customers at once is the best way for you to work, or could you do better if the number was reduced?
As I mentioned, we can decide how many chats we have at the same time and I feel comfortable with 4 chats at the time. Of course there are customers who would ask if I am still there if I don’t answer them in 30 – 60 seconds but we use a lot of back offices or sometimes we have to wait for confirmation from payments or security departments and in this case there is nothing I can do unfortunately.
Some of the customers actually think that they are not getting their answer immediately because we are checking our Facebook which is not true of course, but this is because they probably don’t know how many things we have to check and what is going on behind the scenes before we can give them the right answer. :)
Is there any T&C in place to ban the customers from the customer support chat? E.G if one uses foul language in the chat, while demanding a case to be escalated.
No, I don’t think we have the option to ban customers from chat. Sometimes they don’t want to understand that we have procedures, we need to follow and then they become abusive and angry but when I choose this job I knew that I might have to deal with tough customers so I can take it, I don’t mind that we don’t ban them from chat.
Are you responsible for your words? If your colleague in the same case tells the opposite to the user what you did will you protect the user or mistake may happen?
I protect the customer. I feel bad if I make a mistake, but as we are not robots, unfortunately mistakes and misunderstandings can occur. If the customer is right then he is right, I would apologize and correct my mistake.
Do you feel you have enough permission to take care of customers, or must you forward more cases than you'd like?
Well, as a customer support agent I have enough permission to solve the problems of the customers but this is a bit a matter of common sense.
If a customer has an issue with document verification or payment or settling a bet or problem with casino games and so on, they need to understand that we have different departments who take care of these issues. I think that in case I, as customer support agent, was expected to deal alone with every issue, first of all it would be impossible and second, I would spend one hour with the customer on chat. There are basic things we can solve and we dispatch the bigger problems to the relevant teams. Every customer support works like this.
Do you think it's customer friendly that I have to explain my problem to multiple customer support agents when contacting your more tha once? How do you can ease that method?
I know it is annoying if a customer contacts us and needs to tell us the problem several times, because he is in chat with another agent, but otherwise we cannot help him, in this case I would advise to ask to be transferred to the same agent he was speaking previously. This is the only way I could ease this. But I totally understand that this is annoying for the customer and I am sorry for that.
How much time do you allow to the customers to write down their problem before you repeat the greetings again?
We usually see when the customer is typing so I wait until he writes down his problem, when I see he is not typing at all, I give it 5-7 minutes and then I tell him that as he is inactive I'll unfortunately need to close the chat.
Is there any algorithm which choose the questions of the security check or it's depending on you?
There is no algorithm, it depends on me.
How many times have you written, "Sorry, there is no further information at the moment" during your career?
Probably many times, but there are customers contacting every day for example for account verification where we have a target of 3-5 days and I can ask for update from security team only after 3–5 days. When I say that there is no further information at the moment that means that there is really no further information. If I could ask for updates every day regarding the same issue from the different departments I would do it, because it would take me 1 minute, but I need to follow our procedures.
What do you prefer: a conversation between you and a customer is like a conversation between 2 friends or between 2 diplomats?
Diplomats are too serious, I prefer friends but at the same time I keep it in mind that we are not actually friends. I respect the customer and you can feel if you can joke with them or not. You kind of go with the flow. :) (Common sense applies)
Have you ever dated one of your customers?
No, I never dated our customers and never will, we keep it as friendly as we can, yet always professional :)
*Lily is not the real name of the agent, we've decided not to post the real name as it's used in customer support chats, emails and phone calls.
Earlier this year we shot a video introducing our Customer Support department:
A few numbers from our yearly report, 2015:
Total number of customer support contacts: 1.6 million
Number of customer support agents: 200
Number of languages: 20
* The numbers covers the whole Unibet Group as all contacts are handled by Unibet Customer Support.