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Building an Award-Winning Partnership with Turkcell

“I’ve been working with Turkcell for about six years now. I was on my way to have lunch with my main contact there, Elif, and I bumped into so many familiar faces. We agreed that you don’t often get that kind of long, trusted relationship in business.

About two years ago, Elif explained to me that Turkcell needed help keeping customer communications fresh and relevant. Turkcell had a fixed weekly marketing plan, but a week is a long time in marketing.

Customers were interacting with them all the time, across lots of different channels. These different types of customer communication cancelled out Turkcell’s planned weekly messages. They had to cancel more than half of their planned contacts. The marketing team were really frustrated – this was a complex challenge to fix.

We wanted to create a marketing tool that meant Turkcell could speak to their customers every day instead of once a week. And so the right messages got to the right people at the right time.

The team we got together on this project were based all over the world: Turkcell and an Experian team in Turkey, me and my team in Nottingham, our software development team in Bulgaria, our product development over in Washington, and Vusal in Monaco who helped us completely automate the process. Vusal’s fluent Turkish certainly came in useful.

I flew over to Turkey a few times during the project. Being onsite made a big difference – it meant we could understand and fix issues in hours, rather than days. There’s one particular time that stands out. It was five weeks before the launch, so we had loads to get through. We worked non-stop for two weeks straight, right through the weekends, making sure nothing would stop us getting the daily marketing tool up and running. We’d each bring in different food and fruits for our ‘table picnic’ to keep us going.

There was a lot of attention focussed on this project. When it finally went live, we had a ‘phew’ and a ‘wow’ moment. And then we saw the difference it made. It’s done exactly what we wanted it to do and Turkcell’s take-up rates have improved.

And now we’ve won a Global Telecoms Business Innovation award for it. It’s a joint award, for both Turkcell and Experian – which feels right. It was hard work, but worth it.”