Everything about the National Lottery operator Camelot Group is mind-bogglingly big. More than 30 million people buy a lottery ticket from one of 35,481 National Lottery retailers every week. Annual sales of £5.5 billion makes Camelot's lottery games the largest impulse brand in Britain - far outselling other mega-brands such as Coca-Cola or Walkers Crisps. Camelot delivers service on an unparalleled scale.
Camelot took the Highly Commended honours in the Consumer Services category. The judges were particularly impressed by Camelot's extensive knowledge of its customer base. The judging panel also applauded Camelot's decision last year to hold a full social and ethical audit assessed independently by the New Economics Foundation. This audit aims to measure Camelot's performance as a socially responsible organisation with key stakeholders including its employees, players, retailers, suppliers and local communities.
The company divides its customers into three core groups - players (more than 39 million a year), non-players, and its many retailers. Its structured research programme, 'Hand on the Pulse', provides qualitative and quantitative research on all three customer groups and a combined forum made up of players, retailers and staff has recently been introduced to discuss issues surrounding the lottery.
'Customer input is fundamental in ensuring the success of our brands,' says Dianne Thompson, commercial operations director. 'This input is particularly critical in new product development both in terms of developing new concepts and testing reactions to new game designs.' New product consumer workshops give members of the public the chance to devise their ideal game as well as identify their reasons for playing or not playing.
The National Lottery Line provides players with a 24-hour information service and receives 4 million calls a year. Winners' advisors offer individual 24-hour support to major winners for as long as they need it. More than 760 millionaires have been created by the National Lottery in less than five years. Major winners receive a 'Life After Win' questionnaire six months after their win and this feedback is used to improve the services offered.
Camelot's retailer customer base receives support ranging from a freephone hotline to the services of a Field Sales Executive. The staff working in Camelot's marketing and sales departments spend at least two days a year working with a retailer to increase their understanding of the issues faced by both retailers and players at the point of sale. Camelot's Best Lottery Practice (BLP) programme, now in its third year, is an ongoing initiative of training, development and reward with the objectives of improving customer satisfaction and increasing sales. In a recent study of retailer satisfaction, more than 97% of retailers expressed themselves satisfied with Camelot's performance.
Underpinning these high levels of retailer satisfaction is Camelot's remarkable operational efficiency - according to the latest figures, systems are operational 99.96% of the time.
Camelot's lottery operation is supported by a flexible IT infrastructure which links over 35,000 lottery terminals to a mainframe computer system based in Watford and a secondary data centre in Liverpool. This system enables the rapid introduction of new products and services using existing technology. This year, for example, Camelot will sell entrance tickets for the Millennium Dome alongside its own lottery playslips.
In its bid to 'be the best lottery operator in the world' the National Lottery will link up with the Post Office for the renewal of its licence next year. In the meantime, the company continues to benchmark its performance against 34 other lotteries worldwide using 150 separate performance measures.
- Involve customers in the design of new products
- Encourage complaints and compliments
- Understand the needs and expectations of each customer 'segment'
- Spend significant time with customers
- Make performance measures visible to all stakeholders.