Claiming the top Rank - Making the £2.5 million difference

Toni Sekinah, research analyst and reports editor, DataIQ

Rank Group, which owns Mecca Bingo, Grosvenor Casinos and Spanish brand Enracha, has always collected data on a large-scale. “We have a huge amount of data. Due to licensing laws, we have to get everyone to register pretty quickly, so we have to know a lot of information, such as their address, age, etc.” explained Kerry Dawes, head of personalisation and optimisation operations, at the recent Tealium Digital Velocity Conference. 

Despite this, Rank did not know much about its customers’ behaviour. This led to Dawes and her team working to harness and anlayse that data and, as a result, drive up deposits by £2.5 million during 12 months of transformation.

Dawes had come from a background of working in agencies and technology providers, but came to find that many in her new company were working in the dark with no web analytics. Despite this, double-digit growth was expected.

She said: “A year ago with our website, we had no idea who clicked the ‘join now’ button. We had no idea who was going on different promotions. We knew how much money we were making, but we didn’t know the journey to get there. We had no idea if someone clicked on Live Roulette and then didn’t go on to play.”

Her first challenge was to change the culture of the company from basing decisions on hunches to basing decisions on data. She had to contend with protestations such as, “I’m doing really well, why do I need to know anything else about our customers?” One stakeholder even asked her to fix the site when it was broken. She described the people making these remarks as mainly HiPPOS (highest paid person in the office): “Mine are really nice, but they struggle to understand the value of this data.”

Mecca Bingo web siteTo make the point that data was valuable, she used a Decibel Insight tool which tracks customer behaviour, specifically their cursor trails, as they navigate across web pages. The business had wanted to “chuck more and more at the home page,” but the data showed that only 42% of customers would go below the fold. 

She said: “We have thousands of games, so it’s overwhelming for the customer to go in and find what they’re looking for.” She displayed a screen grab where one could see the “bird’s nest” that a customer had created with their mouse by going round and round in a circle. As a result of using tools, including Tealium IQ, Rank has seen a 400% return on its investment. Another piece of data Kerry and her team were able to act on was the fact that 24% of customers who called the contact centre just wanted to change their password. Since then, it has improved its online self-service provision which means customers can change their passwords themselves and the time of the call centre staff is freed-up.

Dawes has been able to get these results thanks to her small, “very dedicated and hard-working” team, made up of analysts, strategists, UX and UI developers, testers and technologists, as well as agency partners and off-shore support. Some of her core lessons during the 12-month process of transformation were to under-promise and over-deliver, communicate, focus on the customer instead of the competition, be ambitious and, finally, set the vision and live it.

“We said a year ago that we will be truly data-driven, so every decision that comes out of our team tells us what to do,” said Dawes. The general aim for next year is to bring in more automation and data discovery, with a focus on the customer that gives them a seamless experience no matter what device they use. However, plans are always subject to revision.

Dawes said Rank does not have a set roadmap of ideas to test in the coming year because each month it looks at the data and that determines what it will look at in the next 12 months. As she explained: “You really have to embrace the dream and the vision that you set and, for us, that was being data-driven.”