Awarding lucky players big ‘money can’t buy’ experiential prizes is a favorite way for lotteries to gain trial, increase sales, improve player loyalty, and enhance the lottery’s brand. It’s why most lotteries today regularly launch individual experiential games or programs or participate in multi-jurisdictional promotions that promise exclusive VIP trips or one-of-a-kind events for winners.
These programs are high-profile by nature and can sometimes be rather costly. They require a lot of planning and are often supported by paid advertising. To ensure their success, lotteries invest heavily, both financially and through the allocation of resources directed to planning and execution.
But despite all that planning, investment, and high-profile roll-out, a big ‘money can’t buy’ experience can still fall flat if the program isn’t managed professionally from start to finish.
Keeping Your Eye on The Ball
Yogi Berra, famous for his prowess as a player and manager in Major League Baseball is widely credited with saying ‘It ain’t over til it’s over’ during a tough pennant race in 1973. When it comes to experiential prizing, truer words were never spoken.
“Nothing can torpedo an outstanding experiential lottery prize promotion faster than dropping the ball after the winners have been chosen,” said Jeffrey Schweig, President at Alchemy3. “Winner Services plays a critical role in the whole process. This is where the white glove treatment really puts a program over the top for players and makes them feel like true VIP’s.”
It’s at this point in a program’s life cycle, following the announcement of winners, where touchpoints become personal and where a great experience can lead to an exponential return for the lottery in the form of glowing social media commentary and positive feedback that spreads out through the community like ripples on a pond. It’s an important point along the winner’s journey, requiring a lot of finesse to ensure success.
“We are lucky to have won and appreciate everything they have given us and are doing for us. It’s amazing.” – Chad & Tammy, Texas Lottery CMT Music Awards Weekend Winners
Keys to Success
Turning lottery experiential prize winners into super fans through outstanding winner services requires a depth of experience and a knack for understanding the individual needs of each winner being served. For the uninitiated, learning the process in real-time can lead to challenges. It’s why many lotteries choose to outsource the responsibility to vendor partners whose winner services staff can boast years of hands-on experience.
“We’ve been providing Winner Services for quite some time now, and our goal with each and every winner is to deliver the absolute best possible experience,” said Maureen Torres, Customer Service Manager at Alchemy3. “We always go above and beyond to meet their needs and expectations. I always listen carefully to any concerns and make sure my winners know I’m here to be their personal resource, which always puts a smile on their face. Creative problem solving is one of the things I love most about working with my winners.”
Experience is vitally important when it comes to Winner Services. Staff gains more knowledge with each program and can eventually handle virtually every hurdle. However, there are some KEY FACTORS that all Winner Services departments need to keep in mind with all experiential programs:
- Understand the program inside and out: Learn as much as possible about the experience as far in advance as you can. Read and fully understand the program rules.
- Create a program-specific calendar: Deadlines and lead times need to be understood and adhered to ensure a smooth experience.
- Establish a list of trusted contacts who can help with every aspect of the program (transportation, ground transfer, venue support, etc.): Questions will arise when you’re working with your winners. You must know who to contact to get the right answer in a timely fashion.
- Get to know your winners (and guests if applicable): It’s essential to establish familiarity with the people who have won their ‘experience of a lifetime.’ You should know early on if there are unique needs like ADA access, diets, etc.
- Ensure your winners understand the details, too: Discuss their experience with them. Many winners won’t take the time to do more than browse written instructions, so it’s crucial to take the time to go over every aspect of the trip personally.
- Find ways to show your winners you’re working to make their experience as enjoyable as possible: Nothing says ‘VIP Treatment’ like a personal concierge available to handle little details and tough questions. Winner Services is there to do just that.
Stick the Landing
At the end of the day, lottery winners will look back on their trip or experience; the way they were cared for by Winner Services before, during, and after it, and will judge their entire lottery journey by that metric. It won’t matter nearly as much if they played the lottery and won a big prize as it will if they had the absolute time of their lives when they were immersed in the experience itself. This is where real player loyalty takes hold, and the lottery’s brand is truly enhanced. A great Winner Services team does that. Every time.