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A day in the life of a... Senior Duty Manager

27 January 2015

Marcie Fleming

Senior Duty Manager, Jenningsbet, Upton Park.

Jenningsbet have 101 branches based all over Britain from the south coast all the way up to the north –west. A full list of shops can be found on our website, but we are constantly expanding with the company’s head office being based in Epping, Essex. Jenningsbet are one of the most progressive and innovative operators in the betting industry.  The company has always had a policy of investing in new technology and keeping ahead of its competitors. Jenningsbet branches can be found on many of the UK's leading high streets and the directors are proud of the fact the contemporary high tech feel blended with traditional customer service and comfortable surroundings represent the core belief of the company.

During 2014 Karl Watts and Marcie Fleming reached the final of the Racing Post Betting Shop Manager of the Year award, which is a great achievement for them both.  Jenningsbet have raised their standards throughout their 101 branches during the past year with a company wide staff incentive scheme worth £10,000 to the winning shop team. Jenningsbet have one of the best staff retention rates within the industry and pride themselves on having an experienced and accomplished team of employees offering the highest levels of customer service. Whether you have a wealth of experience in the betting industry or are just taking your first steps in a new career we are happy to welcome you to Jenningsbet - the leading independent bookmaker in the UK.

How did you get involved in this role?

I entered the gambling sector has a junior member of management.   My plan from entering that role was not to remain at this level, but to excel.  I have always believed that you should see a challenge as an opportunity, which can only make you grow. My trainer believed you should engage in the person you are training and that communication was key.   With the knowledge and support I received, I went from junior management to management to my current role, senior duty manager.

What attracted you to the job?

Having worked in the retail sector for many years, I felt it was time for a new direction, but one that would enable me to utilise my existing skills.  The role itself had to be challenging, varied and have an exciting element to it.  Most of all, being a people person, it was important that customer interaction played a leading part in the new role. Fortunately for me, a new branch bookmaker was opening in the area.  Jenningsbet was just what I was looking for and it had the added benefit of working in the sports/gambling world.

What is a typical day like for you?

On the go! Apart from the standard procedures all bookmakers have, I am a senior duty manager.  As an SDM I have various extra duties including dealing with staff rotas in my area, sorting out sickness including completing back to work interviews and dealing with some staff issues including cash differences and various training.  I often know what time the regulars will be walking through our doors as most of them work in the local market.  The machines are quite busy here throughout the day and we have more female customers in the morning. Every day brings something new, so we are always prepared which is what I really enjoy about working in this industry.
Being situated at Upton Park opposite the West Ham stadium, match days are a busy time and my shop is a buzzing environment.  I am outside in the shop area among the football fans, football stewards, with football coupons etc meeting greeting having a banter. There is definitely a lot going on on football days.
What is your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part of the job has to be customer interaction. With such a customer facing role every day is different, it is a constant learning environment.   Not only do you get to build customer relations, but it can also improve your ability to deal with everyday situations outside work such as people relations/management, conflict resolution, assertiveness   not forgetting a good sense humour. 

What would you change?

Being part of the betting shop manager of the year in 2014 meant I got to attend a race day at Doncaster. At the races you see so many of the new generation mixed in with the older generation with everyone having a good time and having a bet. It could be the thrill of the day or the different way in which horseracing is promoted by racecourses; either way it attracts them.  It also shows me racing is not a dying sport for the new generation, but perhaps one which needs rejuvenating.  A lot of shops have different clientele but I believe everyone would be attracted to something which looks fun and powerful.
I would change the way horseracing is promoted, more modern marketing campaigns using the tools available i.e. digital displays, digital and online guides promoting the sport and how to place a bet as a lot of younger customers are put off by not knowing how to bet.  Racing needs to up its game, you need a wow factor to attract new customers. 

What is the likely career path for someone in your role?

I am currently a senior duty manager which is the highest level of shop manager.  I would like to progress and will continue to demonstrate the required attributes and the execution of company objectives, in order to be considered for promotional opportunities.   I am prepared to undertake any required self-development and/or training, with a view to progressing further.  I would like to take my achievements at branch level to a regional role, so I can display my enthusiasm and determination to succeed on a larger scale and inspire other people in the industry.
What advice would you give to someone considering a similar role?

My advice for any job would be to research the role so you are aware of what is required.  Working in a betting shop requires a special sort of person in order to grow business but it can be very rewarding.  As a betting shop manager you are required not only to run the shop but also to help promote the business to the maximum effect.  At Jenningsbet we are encouraged to send our ideas for shop improvements to management.  As an independent we are looking to promote customer loyalty and a lot of shops organise special events like race days and local promotions for their customers.  My main piece of advice would be to be a good listener not just with customers but also with staff.  Be prepared to go the extra mile, whatever is required for branch success. 

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