Lessons from the customer

25 June 2019

With turnover rising to SEK1.07bn in the first quarter of 2019, AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has made a major splash in the newly regulated Swedish igaming market. Some of the key staff behind the launch of its new multi-vertical offering explain how a customer-focused development process allowed the operator to establish itself as the country’s early market leader.

When there is a tight deadline, when making the wrong move costs time, money and the risk of delayed delivery, help might be closer than you think.

"Involve the customer in the task. As early as possible, throughout the entire development process, as well as in the follow-up work", says Johan Laurelli (pictured), senior product manager for digital channels at the AB Trav och Galopp (ATG).

It is easy to get things wrong when market conditions change radically, or a new product segment is to be introduced. The solution is to focus outwards and involve your best stakeholders, your customers, in the task. Here we set out how ATG has used this approach to successfully launch its new full-service igaming offering in the regulated Swedish market.

The Swedish betting market is regulated
At the turn of the year, the Swedish gaming market changed completely. From just a handful of gaming companies with a Swedish license there are now suddenly over 70, with the vast majority online companies based abroad which certainly had Swedish customers, but did not have licenses to offer betting in Sweden.

For ATG, which had had exclusive rights in Sweden for betting on horses, but no licence to offer other forms of gambling, it meant increased competition, but above all new opportunities in sports and casino betting.

At the turn of the year, ATG had around 1m registered customers, whose main interest was betting on horses. It was therefore especially important to retain these customers' trust and loyalty, while simultaneously highlighting the new verticals on offer on ATG.se, to attract new players and ensure a successful launch.

Involve the customer
The solution was, quite simply, to involve the customer and take account of the customer's experiences and points of view.

"We had constructive conversations with a large number of customers even before making the first sketch, or writing the first program code,” Laurelli explains. “We subsequently used the principle of continuous deliveries, based on analysis and customer dialogue. We checked our hypotheses and designs with our users at an early stage and made continual adjustments”.

Awareness and utilisation of quantative surveys is widespread today. They provide insights into overall behaviour and produce significant results. The challenge is that quantative surveys say nothing about “why”. That's where analyses of customer behaviour and interaction tests come in. Such qualitative surveys add the dimension of observing concrete instances of behaviour and is a way to explain “why”.

This can be achieved through use of small focus groups.

“Doing this in a structured way gives you knowledge about what is completed and ready to take onward and vice versa, what needs more work to be redesigned or completely changed in structure,” Laurelli says.

Interaction tests are hard to implement in a way that produces new knowledge, Laurel continues. Yet without this sort of qualitative insight, working out why customers do what they do is reduced to guesswork.

It’s a case of gathering data to confirm what you already know, he explains.

“So bring your thoughts and ideas into contact with the customer at an early stage. And ensure you can to address the feedback in a structured way.

“In addition to receiving acceptance for what you were there to test, it is very likely that you will obtain valuable feedback on individual improvement opportunities, as well as on your company and on your way of delivering value.”

One technology that ATG used successfully both with prototypes and fully developed solutions was eye-tracking (pictured) as a method of measurement during the tests.

“Eye-tracking enables you to see what is happening when the user is not talking or clicking, in other words, what happens between clicks,” Laurelli says. “The eye is highly impulsive and users cannot control their eyes as they do their words.

“Only one per cent of our field of vision is sharp, so-called foveal vision. That is what the equipment captures, so we see exactly what the user sees.”

In particular there are two key ways to see just what catches a customer's eye:

Fixations - the eye focuses on a specific point, the red dot. The larger it is the longer the stare.

Saccades - the eye moves between different points, the red line

Do the right things first
Faced with an evolving set of circumstances, it is important to do the right things first. Identify the necessary building blocks for the minimum possible qualitative deliveries and focus on putting them in place. With the world around you changing and lessons continually being learned, it is important to have as much clarity as possible at all times, preferably all the way out to the customer.

"Act as if your initiative can be shut down at any time", says Laurelli. "And ensure that at each stage you have unambiguously created customer value”.

The task was completed at the deadline on the at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. The revamped ATG.se was tested and validated, internally and by customers. And just a couple of seconds after midnight on January 1 the first bet was placed.

Positive reactions
Thanks to the early and ongoing interaction with its customers, ATG managed to present a site that was brand new - with opportunities also for sports and casino gambling - but still familiar to its users.

“We are more than pleased how ATG´s new offer has been received by our customers. Very much because of the early interaction between our team and our customers the reactions have been very positive” the operator’s chief sales officer Katarina Widman says.

There are now in excess of 1.1m active customers. Thanks to the sports betting and casino launches, ATG was able to post its highest quarterly turnover for the first quarter in the company's history. It is now established as Sweden’s largest igaming operator in terms of revenue.

“However, it is now that the competition starts,” Widman adds. “We need to continue to have an ongoing dialogue with our customers to show that we care and deserve their trust, through not just listening, but also acting and delivering on what is demanded by our customers."