with 140-year history (previously government department)
Employees: approx. 5,000
Auckland, New Zealand
lift in customer engagement from testing purchase options
Deliver contextually relevant experiences at each moment of the customer journey
Continue to streamline the customer experience
Convince internal stakeholders of the benefits of data-driven decisions
Met aggressive implementation schedule
84% lift in customer engagement from testing different purchase options on website
Delivers contextually relevant experiences across channels, devices, and websites
Enables marketing team to be more self-sufficient by reducing reliance on developers
“With Adobe we now have a great framework for tracking and measuring, but also testing, which has been an important tool for us to educate the business on how crucial data-driven decision-making is.”
Data Powered Customer Engagement Lead, Spark
The spark of self-actualization
An organization’s ability to craft personalized experiences for its customers is becoming an essential element of success. Recognizing the importance of this, Spark, New Zealand’s largest telecommunications company, has proactively transformed itself into a customer-centric, flexible, and forward-looking provider of digital services.
With over 2.5 million customers and approximately 5,000 staff, Spark’s ability to create personalized interactions helped reinforce its leadership in New Zealand’s telecommunications landscape.
“We have a lot of experience when it comes to evolving with the needs of our customers,” says Lena Jenkins, Data Powered Customer Engagement Lead at Spark. “The company originally started over 140 years ago as a government department, and in fact we were a part of the Post Office. Offering landlines initially, we eventually moved into broadband and mobile, and we are now expanding further into digital and streaming services.”
The impact of this journey means that today Spark is a very different company than it was at its founding, or even as recently as five years ago. The modern Spark believes that digital technology can make a significant, positive impact in people’s lives through simple, personalized interactions with a company through a website.
“Personalization is expected today. As consumers, we expect that if we go to a website regularly, both our details and our previous orders will be remembered, making it as easy and fast as possible. It should be a seamless experience.”
Data Powered Customer Engagement Lead, Spark
Personalization is key
“The adoption of personalization has been quite an important journey for us over a number of years,” says Jenkins. “Personalization is expected today. As consumers, we expect that if we go to a website regularly, both our details and our previous orders will be remembered, making it as easy and fast as possible. It should be a seamless experience.”
This move to personalization was no small task, with Spark having over 2,000 systems in place and several websites dealing with a range of customer needs. Despite this, there was a determination to deliver contextually relevant experiences at each moment across its customers’ journeys, regardless of channel or device.
As Jenkins explains, “We started by choosing Adobe Experience Manager as our content management system (CMS), as building our digital foundation was our first priority. We wanted to create a digital ecosystem that would suit both our current and future needs. We also wanted tools that were easy for our business to use, rather than having to call a developer each time we wanted to change something. That was one of the reasons we chose Adobe.”
Everyone can use it
Moving to a CMS that was more accessible to non-developers proved to be a significant advantage and resulted in Spark becoming more self-sufficient. And while a change like this is rarely an easy process, implementation was much faster than the telco had anticipated.
“We had a strict timeline from when we decided to proceed to when we had to go live,” says Jenkins. “A few of the team had been involved in a similar implementation at another company using a different solution and that took more than two years. Implementing Adobe Experience Cloud took a considerably shorter time to complete the project.”
Since the implementation of Adobe Experience Manager, Spark has successfully used data to create a better experience for its customers. Using Adobe Target, the ability to test and measure how customers respond to new ideas and innovations has resulted in a process of improvement that comes from simply knowing which ideas are working and which are not.
Putting it to the test
Jenkins says, “One of the most important elements of improving the customer experience comes from data. With Adobe we now have a great framework for tracking and measuring, but also testing, which has been an important tool for us to educate the business on how crucial data-driven decision-making is.”
Using Adobe Target, Spark started with simple tests, such as making a subtle change to its online shop. Many of these were based on people’s assumptions, but once actually tested and real data was collected, the assumptions could sometimes be wrong. In their place, Spark could deliver a better experience, improve engagement, and increase conversion rates through data.
“We started with one ‘Buy Now’ button in our online shop, which at the time seemed like the most direct, intuitive way for our customers to make a purchase,” says Jenkins. “But when we tested three other button options—‘Learn More’, ‘See Plans’, and ‘Shop Now’—the ‘See Plans’ button had an 84% lift in engagement. We wouldn’t have known that without running that kind of test. We would have carried on with ‘Buy Now’ because it made more sense. It was an important start to educating people on data’s significance in making the right decisions.”
Ultimately, integrating Adobe software throughout the digital experience enabled Spark to produce a cleaner, more engaging and more effective customer experience. As Jenkins explains, “The combination of Adobe Experience Manager, Analytics, Target, and Audience Manager has enabled us to deliver personalized customer experiences across our smartphone app and websites. Adobe software helped us to move to an agile way of working, which means we now have the accountability to help ensure each customer’s journey is a positive one.”