There’s an important balance that must be maintained when collecting data from customers while also not invading their privacy so as not to “spook” them with Minority Report technology.
That’s according to Genting Casinos UK IT director Chris Ashworth, who is transforming how one of the largest casino groups in the country uses information technology.
One of the methods Genting has employed to improve its functions is to collect customer data in order to help personalise and improve their experience – in a method similar to that deployed by Hotels.com – but Ashworth told Computing that he’s aware the company must not overstep the mark.
“Privacy is really important to us. We’ve always dealt with sensitive data, particularly in our high-end estates, and we keep that data very secure; we don’t even share it between casinos,” he explained.
Genting gives casino visitors the opportunity to download a mobile app designed to help customers and allow the organisation to gain some insight into their activities and preferences
Ashworth explained that the casino group is open about what information is being collected from the app in exchange for benefits in sites such as the firm’s £200m Resorts World Birmingham complex.
“If we’re going to do things with mobile analytics, it’s something we’re going to have to tell our customers upfront and ask them if they want that,” he said, describing the process as “a journey”.
“We want to make sure that whatever we’re doing it’s not for the sake of gathering data, we’re doing it to enhance the customer journey. We don’t want it to be pervasive, we want to be enhancing what we do,” Ashworth continued. “We don’t want to spook them with Minority Report technology overnight.”
For Ashworth, giving Genting customers benefits via the mobile application in exchange for their information represents a fair deal.
“With our app, we want people to take the app but it’s a bit quid pro quo; if we get the data, we’ve got a much larger database in which to intelligently market customers.
“And we’re going to be getting six million customers through the door of Resort World each year whereas we’ve got maybe 600,000 on the database, so it’s a bit of an acquisition vehicle,” he explained.
However, Ashworth is keen to avoid a situation where Genting uses the mobile app to “just spam our customers, so we’re giving them toolsets and real offers to encourage them to give us more data”.
“We’re trying to say to them ‘take our app and you’ll get better offers, and they’ll be targeted to your preferences’,” Ashworth added.
Speaking at the Computing Big Data & Analytics Summit 2015, a panel of IT professionals warned that using big data and analytics can deliver many benefits including better insights into customer behaviour and greater operational efficiency, but the privacy of customers mustn’t be abused.