The mis­sion OF PER­MIS­SION

Per­suad­ing half a mil­lion Ki­wis to go on­line and opt- in sounds like Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble, es­pe­cially when the track record’s not that good and the ben­e­fits are marginal. But that’s what Spark man­aged to do.

New Zealand Marketing - - Insight Creative -

The chal­lenge

Many New Zealan­ders will re­mem­ber the dramas of mul­ti­ple se­cu­rity breaches and gen­eral plat­form in­sta­bil­ity that came with Tele­com’s as­so­ci­a­tion with Ya­hoo email. Fast for­ward ten years and Spark has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of Tele­com but Ya­hoo is just not good enough as an email plat­form. What to do?

Things needed to change. But any­one who’s ever changed email sup­pli­ers knows how hard that change can be. Add to that the fact that many cus­tomers still re­mem­bered the months of email chaos when Tele­com first moved to Ya­hoo, and they couldn’t af­ford for any­thing to go wrong. But Spark was up for the chal­lenge.

The re­sponse

Spark chose SMX, con­sid­ered to be the best in New Zealand and world- class, to build and man­age the email ser­vice for its email cust omers. With a tech­ni­cal mi­gra­tion of this scale it would have been eas­ier to re- plat­form the tech in the back­ground with­out the cus­tomer’s knowl­edge. But email is per sonal prop­erty and Spark is a cust omer- cen­tric brand. So it was de­cided not to move a sin­gle cus­tomer email with­out those cus­tomers first opt­ing in.

This pre­sented sev­eral chal­lenges. Cus­tomers don’t re­ally think too much about how their email works; the new plat­form would have few ob­vi­ous ben­e­fits; cus­tomers are ret­i­cent to re­spond to on­line re­quests for pass­words; large-scale com­mu­ni­ca­tions have im­pact on front-line call cen­tre teams; com­peti­tors could poach vul­ner­a­ble cus­tomers; and if cus­tomers were to lose their email they could re­con­sider their choice of broad­band provider.

With this in mind, S park put the power in the cust omers’ hands and asked them to give per­mis­sion. The com­pany be­gan an eigh t- month pro­ject of chan­nel plan­ning, dig­i­tal de vel­op­ment, cus­tomer re­search and ul­ti­mately a three- pronged com­mu­ni­ca­tion jour­ney in­clud­ing cus­tomer EDMS, on­line per­mis­sion jour­neys and care­fully tar­geted above- the- line com­mu­ni­ca­tions de­signed to add cred­i­bil­ity to the con­ver­sa­tion and re­duce con­cerns about phish­ing.

Sparks’ three- phased com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­egy, with clear, reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tions, made things easy for cus­tomers and en­sured they were in­formed and hand- held a t every step of the jour­ney. In­creas­ingly ur­gent com­mu­ni­ca­tions drove cus­tomers through the mi­gra­tion fun­nel, and while their ex­pec­ta­tions of down- time were played down, the ben­e­fits of the new plat­form were em­pha­sised.

The re­sult

Smart strat­egy, tar­geted tac­tics, close col­lab­o­ra­tion and sig­nif­i­cant stake­holder man­age­ment de­liv­ered gen­uine busi­ness re­sults. 97 per­cent of all Spark’s ac­tive email cus­tomers logged in and gave per­mis­sion to bring their email home.

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