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Retailer training manager, Svenska Spel

"The clearer Svenska Spel’s goals for responsibility have become, the more obvious it is that bonuses and discounts cannot fit into those goals."

Maria Johansson, retailer training manager, Svenska Spel

Since 2013, as part of efforts to build a healthier gaming market, ­Svenska Spel has eliminated sales-driving activities such as bonuses and discounts on games. Maria Johansson is the manager responsible for training retailers. In her opinion, these measures are fully in line with Svenska Spel’s aims but involve a change in culture that will take time.

Svenska Spel has eliminated some sales-driving activities, such as bonuses and discounts. Could you tell us about this change?

“Svenska Spel has always balanced responsibility and sales, which is a good ambition that I believe many of my colleagues agree upon. Over the last year, we have taken further steps toward assuming increased responsibility. Bonuses and discounts have been our main activity for creating interest and driving in-store sales. But the clearer Svenska Spel’s goals for responsibility have become, the more obvious it is that bonuses and discounts cannot fit into those goals.”

What do you think of this change in culture?

“My experiences are probably quite similar to everyone else’s. At first I was confused and felt that our targets and way of working had been turned upside down.But the more we discussed this and when we started working toward new targets, the better it felt. Now we have responsibility and customer-driven targets in place and can see that we are making progress toward them, for example improvements in the customer ­satisfaction index. This feels good deep down and will be better in the long-term, for our customers, our retailers and for Svenska Spel.”

How have your colleagues reacted to these changes?

“Our district managers and telephone coaches have quickly adapted themselves from being sales-oriented to conducting dialogues with retailers with more focus on responsibility, the value of trained personnel and new ways of offering games to our customers. This has been a major changeround and we still haven’t fully recovered. I know that many people are proud while, at the same time, questions remain about what role they will have in the future.”

How has the elimination of bonuses and discounts been received by retailers?

“Gaining the retailers’ approval has been our biggest challenge. They have a different reality to relate to and we must respect that. Of course their response has varied depending on their individual relationships with Svenska Spel. We view this as a long-term change project and maintain an ongoing dialogue with retailers, retail chain contacts and industry organisations. The more we talk about ‘why’ and ‘what,’ the more it feels like we have our retailers and business partners on board.”