In the global online marketplace, adapting brands and messaging to suit country-specific cultures and preferences is a persistent challenge. And it’s not only confined to external communications – it’s equally as important with internal stakeholders. As multinational companies seek regional and global expansion, consolidating operations and standardising systems to deliver best practice has become a key objective.

Centralised optimisation strategy can not only help companies distinguish between common trends and country-specific behaviours, it can also help disparate local affiliates work more collaboratively and share customer insight. The smartest companies are better connected – both internally and with their local customers.

The operator

Tele2 is one of Europe’s fastest-growing telecom operators and its product portfolio includes mobile services, fixed broadband and telephony, cable TV and content services, and data networks.

The company operates in ten countries across Central and Western Europe, Eurasia and the Nordic regions. These markets are at vastly different stages of digital maturity.

The company has a diverse presence across its target markets, with operations ranging from bricks-and-mortar stores to branded ‘pods’ in convenience stores. Every market uses telemarketing and call centres.

Tele2’s use of the digital channel is equally variable; some countries are at an embryonic stage of online development, while others are highly advanced. Despite this variability, the digital channel is growing in every market as customers increasingly go online to purchase products, extend their contracts and manage their accounts. As such, online is recognised not only as a key engine for revenue growth across the Group, but also as an important interface for customer engagement and brand experience.

In light of this developing trend, in January 2013, Tele2 partnered with Maxymiser – the global expert in testing, personalisation and cross channel-optimisation for online businesses – to develop a customer experience optimisation strategy across all of its markets.

A smart and mobile approach

Tele2 recognised that to achieve the long-term benefits of increased sales conversion, it must first set about securing a cultural and operational transformation across the business. “Historically, each country had worked in its own silo,” says Emilija Vikkyte, Group Head of Online, Tele2. “Online teams would hire their own local agency and conduct sporadic A/B and multivariate tests – but we had no way of benchmarking one market against another and no means of sharing the outcomes and insights from those campaigns.

“The appointment of Maxymiser has given us a centralised solution, and allows all our markets to share knowledge and learn from each other. This is undoubtedly driving the business forward.”

“We know that customers will behave differently from market to market – and Maxymiser gives us the opportunity to identify, and respond to, those country-specific preferences. It’s helping us ensure we’re presenting relevant customer experiences in all our markets – and will ultimately lead to a better customer experience and improved conversion rates.”

In fact, early campaigns show that the customer experience optimisation strategy is already having a clear impact on sales conversion. For example, a recent multivariate campaign in the Netherlands examined the crucial ‘mobile listings’ page, and sought to establish whether restructuring the page would have a discernible impact on click-throughs and order confirmation. Variants explored the presentation of aspects such as pricing and package information, product details and the placement of banners. The winning variant resulted in uplifts in click-through at every step of the sales funnel, as well as an increase in purchases and an uplift in revenues during the test period. These learnings have already been shared with other local markets and will be tested accordingly.

The full package

Tele2 believes that the challenge of changing cultural mindsets across the pan-European organisation has been made easier thanks to Maxymiser’s responsive account management. “Maxymiser’s team has been very flexible,” says Emilija. “Their multi-country experience has enabled them to tailor their approach, campaigns and support to suit each individual market. It’s a real strength. In the process, they’ve been instrumental in building online confidence at the local level – whether in the small markets, or working with our more advanced brands.”

The benefits of Tele2’s optimisation strategy, underpinned by multivariate testing, are already clear – from both an internal and a customer perspective. “Online technology is moving too fast to have a lot of time for discussions. Development needs to happen quickly, but if you don’t test before you develop, you end up with a massive fog of work that never gets prioritised because no-one knows what the outcome will be.”

“And from an external perspective, it helps you create websites that customers enjoy using. In reality, you’re involving your customers in how your products and services are presented – and it’s one of the most valuable aspects of online. Having customers telling us what we should be focusing on – and what works for them – is one of the greatest advantages of all. Maxymiser is helping us improve the customer experience – and increasingly, our customers not only enjoy using our sites, but they convert and feel smart about doing so. We’ve achieved a huge amount in a short period of time – and we’re seeing a change of approach and behaviour in all our markets, both internally and externally.”

Published on: 10:31AM on 29th January 2014