October 28, 2014

The Nordics are lagging behind in Customer Experience Management

Customer experience is still seen more as an IT expense than as a new business driver in the Nordics. The situation is alarming, and we have to wake up now.

Recently, I visited the Finnish CXDay event and listened to successful cases and looked for good examples of Customer Experience Management (CEM). Even though there were a few success stories, there weren’t enough to warrant a celebration.

However, the event confirmed my suspicions on the state of CEM today. Over 300 executives were interviewed for Tieto’s study titled “Digital Customer Experience Management in the Nordics,” and the conclusion was the same. “Nordic organisations do not recognize digital customer experience management as an agenda for digitizing businesses.” Or, it is viewed as something that is not clearly visible in the company’s day-to-day actions. Customer experience is still seen as a source of costs rather than a business driver. Unfortunately, according to our research.

What, then, should be done? Here is a list of three things that every organisation should examine critically:

1. Forget the local market. Aim for international markets and the big players

When it comes to digitalisation, foreign products and services are deployed much faster. We need to take this into account already at the design level. Products and services should be world-class right from the start. You shouldn’t benchmark only against the local competition. Instead, benchmark against the new players in your field of business and startups from completely different industries. It’s insane that the taxi business is not benchmarking against Uber, nor the travel industry against Airbnb.

2. Who is responsible for CEM?

Many organisations do not put customers (or people, as Kim Lindgren puts it in his blog post) as their center of attention. When thinking about who else this spot belongs to, confusion is created. Titles and roles such as Chief Digital Officer and Chief Experience Officer have become widely used abroad. In Finland, we only have a few of them, such as Konecranes CDO Juha Pankakoski and Tieto Head of Customer Experience Development Teija Kuustonen to name a few. Companies such as Google are continuously filling out these sort of positions.

3. Customer Experience and business goals should be linked

As businesses become digitalised, some ways of doing business are born and others will fade away. From this perspective, it is strange that customer experience is not considered more important today than in the past. It is time to think about how customer experience is managed, how to create new business models from CEM, and how to take customers into account during the development process. How is your organisation tackling these issues? A few years ago, a book challenged us to think of what Google could do for our businesses. Nowadays, the situation is even more pertinent. There could be numerous Google-like businesses behind the corner ready to challenge your business and ways of doing things.

Kimmo is the Head of Global Enterprise Mobility at Tieto. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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