It never ceases to amuse and puzzle me how businesses both large and small think it is a good business plan to focus on fraud and on screwing over everyone they are in contact with. How is this a sustainable long term business model? How is this good PR? Screw over your customers, defraud your business partners and continually sack employees for not reaching unrealistic targets. Let us take the giant William Hill chain (in no way am I suggesting they are busy with fraud, however they are making a hell of a lot of mistakes) as a prime example with them being in the news for all the wrong reasons once again:
William Hill CEO James Henderson steps down
Last month saw the CEO of William Hill step down after barely 2 years in the job due to horrific financial reports during his tenure. William Hill have been in turmoil for a few years now but the signs are showing that their decline is only on the rise. Income over the past 12 months has dropped whilst costs have risen by a quarter!
Rank Interactive & 888 make William Hill takeover bid
Just a year ago the William Hill group were in long term talks to buy the 888 group. In the end they could not agree on a fee for the takeover. 12 months on as the 888 group and Rank Interactive have shown steady (if unspectacular) growth, the news that the William Hill group are in serious trouble has seen the worm turn and 888 are ready to pounce. From being the smaller of the two corporations 12 months ago, they are now the bigger of the two players and are set to pull off the most remarkable turn around in recent business history. And to be fair, this massive dip for William Hill couldn’t have happened to a more deserving group.
Ever held an account with one of the Hills brands? If you have then you will have no doubt encountered their impossibly frustrating customer service (or lack thereof). Their lack of ethics in particular towards responsible gambling is nothing short of shocking. For the simplest of tasks customers are forced to jump through hoops. Responses take forever and unrealistic demands are made of the customer.
We have already of course mentioned the lovely grandmother who was refused to be paid a fair and honest €4,100,000 progressive jackpot and was instead bribed to take less than half of that amount. A progressive jackpot which of course the funds had been held by Playtech, who paid the full €4,100,000 to the now thankfully defunct Joyland Casino who then pocketed more than half and paid the customer whatever they “gently persuaded” her to accept. I should point out that Joyland was not a part of the William Hill chain at the time of Granny-gate but were bought by Hills shortly there after and Hills refused to respond to the outcry and refused to make any steps to refund the winner.
If you have ever visited the William Hill flagship site then if you play Playtech slots you may have noticed a huge number of games that won’t even start up. In the game pop up the address is showing as sports.wh instead of casino.wh. It seems insane to me that tiny little mistakes like this go unnoticed for months leaving players unable to play many of their favourite Playtech slots. I have informed the casino management so we shall see if they pick up on it.
In the affiliate scene there is probably no bigger a dirty word than “CPays”. The only thing that comes close would be “Affiliates United”. Cpays were the affiliate company behind promoting the William Hill brands. After constant complaints against them they closed the company and opened up Affiliates United to get away from the negative name. But have no fear, the same people were running the new company and the same shoddy business practices are in place. You only need to visit any of the affiliate forums to find a barrage of hate towards these companies who scam their partners. And just try and get a response from them, if they do indeed reply they reply with bare faced lies and claim legalities which are wholly untrue. Other times one can try for months and a dozen contact methods and not receive a single response.
Edit: As of September 2016 AffUtd have now become William Hill Affiliates. Many if not all of the same employees are working there so we await with baited breath to see if things are going to change. The early signs are promising at least.
We have been following their team for some time and it appears that the employment lifetime expectancy is less than half a year on average with employees being canned within months for not performing. The employees are put under ridiculous quotas so they can be sacked easily and replaced just as easily, avoiding the payment of any of the promised bonuses.
The UKGC (UK Gambling Commission) is currently sifting their way through numerous official complaints against the William Hill / Affiliates United group.
Blacklisted by government regulators
The national regulators for the governments of Belgium and Lithuania have officially blacklisted William Hill and a number of other casinos whilst the William Hill group decided to pull out of the Romanian market before the same fate befell them there.
It isn’t Rocket Science
Here’s a little idea for groups like this and in fact to any company in any sector.
- Treat your employees well and they will in turn work a little bit harder, take a few fewer sick days and – crucially – stick around longer thus keeping valuable market and industry knowledge within your organisation rather than taking it to a competitor.
- Treat your partners well and fairly and they will be happy to work with you. Partners will have a huge say in your reputation.
- Above all else treat your customers well, the internet seems to be the first place everyone goes to vent their frustrations about a company or product and big newspapers, blogs and websites pick up on viral tweets, Facebook posts or blogs. Of course not only that but treat a customer like crap and you lose them very quickly, treat them well and you can have a customer for life.
If we take this case study we can see that revenue for the William Hill chain has dropped. This of course partly due to customer dissatisfaction as well as gaining less new customers due to websites not willing to promote them. The costs on the other hand have gone through the roof. Why? Simply customer acquisition costs have had to shoot up because they don’t have bloggers or marketing companies to promote their brands anymore so they have had to resort to other more expensive means of advertising and customer acquisition.