Marketing, listen to your customer!

I participated in the Markkinointiviestinnän viikko organised in Wanha Satama on 22.-23.9.2015. Although many of the topics in this event are about marketing or communication, a main message I picked from the event was the importance of listening to your customer and creating an excellent customer experience.

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Lari Suomalainen, Sales Director from Koodiviidakko pointed in his talk that second biggest trend in digital marketing is big data. Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.

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(Digital marketing trends survey 2015)

In their talk ”Automated insights from a loyalty program: how to develop your business with trigger-based research using behavioural data: Case Coop Sweden and Nepa ActionHub” Niclas Öhman and Minna Mehtälä from Nepa told how Sweden’s second biggest grocery store chain Coop is collecting and using big data about their customers. They have an automated system that creates customer satisfaction reports to each Coop store monthly. These reports can be used also on marketing analyses, competitor analyses, personnel improvement and rewarding.


Interesting was how Coop has included customers in the process from the beginning. Coop has two major channels collecting data about their customers: loyalty card program and customer surveys. When they started to develop their new automated analyses tool they invited 15 000 households to become a members of the Coop panel. These households get regular surveys from Coop. In the first phase of developing the system about 4 times a year, now when the system is running once a year.

What delighted me was how customers voice is also heard at the head office. Customer comments are reflected on the screen savers, so everyone who works there, away from the customers, still sees them and this way faces the customer every day.

Öhman concluded his talk about asking everyone: Are you sitting on a pile of gold? Customer data can help you to improve the customer experience and your business.

One very interesting talk was a Digitalist network panel discussion ”How to create seamless customer experience”


Panellists agreed that excellent customer experience is a very personal thing. There are times when a great customer experience means that your needs are handled quickly and without any hassle or extra wow-factors. Then at the other times excellent customer experience means going that extra mile, giving that extra time to the customer and giving your customer ”surprise roses” as Janne Gylling said. Excellent customer experience means that company values the customer and really listen to his or her individual needs. What might be a great customer experience to one, can be the worst customer experience to somebody else.

Digitalisation has changed customer experience. Kati Riikonen from DNA thought that a big benefit that digitalisation gives us is that information moves quickly and service personnel in the shop or contact centre can see the same data about the customer which enables a seamless experience. It was also pointed by the panellist that digitalisation also means that customer now shares the bad experiences online before contacting the company itself, which creates a real challenge sometimes. Janne Gylling believes there’s already a group of people who hunt these bad experiences they can share.

After all digitalisation has not removed a need for person to person customer service. Customer service now has to happen in multiple channels and has to be available for at the convenient time for the customer. Digitalisation also gives companies a possibility to expand their markets and have customers around the world.

A good point was that customer also has a big role in how personal a digital customer experience can be. If you are willing to log in to an online shop and tell few things about yourself, the shop can recommend products to you based on your likes or previous purchases. If you don’t want to give your details, you also won’t get personalised digital service.

To finish off, here are few tips from the panellist about where companies should concentrate in order to give them customers a better customer experience. (Which not surprisingly sound like DesignThinking)

  • Include customers in the planning and innovation
  • Test and improve your service according to the test results
  • Make sure you all work together (no silos!) and have diverse knowledge in your team
  • You should improve your service all the time, in small steps, according to your tests. Customers and their needs change all the time, so it is an ongoing project.

One thought on “Marketing, listen to your customer!

  1. Pingback: Marketing, listen to your customer! | Service Innovation & Design | Designing: services, customer service, customer management

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