November 21, 2018

Hearing our customers’ voice at Tieto

Liisa Holma

Head of Customer Experience & Insights, Tieto

In September CXPA Finland recognized Tieto as one of Finland’s top companies in managing customer experience. We’re extremely proud of this accolade.

Tieto people have worked tirelessly on customer centricity over the years, launching numerous initiatives all with the same aim: to do better for our customers. Arguably the most impactful of these has been our annual Customer Experience Survey. It’s this survey, now in its sixth year, which is the subject of this post. (We plan to write about other Tieto customer centricity practises later.)

While I may be biased, I strongly believe that the survey­ – and how it drives actions within the organization  – demonstrates that customer experience is not just a buzzword for us at Tieto. Rather, it’s something at the very top of the company’s strategic agenda.

Customer experience – a yearly survey 

While we also do more continuous measurement, the main yardstick by which we measure customer experience is what we call a relationship Net Promotor Score (rNPS). This is the NPS rated by the decision-makers of our largest customers. In 2018, Tieto achieved an all-time high rNPS result. That suggests we’re on the right path. We received valuable feedback where our strengths lie: in people and in trustworthiness. In future, we want to take on more of an active advisory role towards our customers and focus on keeping our promises better than before.

In this year’s Customer Experience Survey, we interviewed more than 600 customers globally either in face-to-face interviews or via teleconferencing. And it was not an external firm doing the interviewing, but our own employees. Moreover, they were employees who don’t ordinarily have daily connections with the customers they interviewed: we chose people who could work “anonymously” with the customers.

We took this approach for two reasons. First, we’ve learned that software services are an area where it’s often very difficult for a third party to link customer answers correctly. Secondly, we think this is a very effective way of helping Tieto folks not usually in a customer-facing role to better understand our customers’ needs.

In the survey, we asked not only the “NPS questions” – how likely would you be to promote Tieto to a colleague? – but also other questions relating to their perception of the Tieto brand; the positive and negative aspects of their interactions with Tieto in the previous 12 months; and feedback on how we’ve worked in different phases of projects together. We give customers the opportunity to thank and give recognition to individuals and teams who have stood out during the collaboration.

Results and interest 

Customer experience and the survey results are studied carefully on all levels in Tieto, starting with our leadership team. It goes through the results for the company overall, as well as those of different business units, product lines and countries. In the past two years, Tieto has also run an employee experience survey in sync with the customer experience survey, so Tieto leadership also gets an update on how we see employee and customer experiences linked with growth and profitability.

Our customer feedback system is open to all Tieto employees. Everyone can access at least Tieto and business unit level data. Customer teams can drill down more deeply.

We also want to make sure we give kudos where it’s due. Our CEO Kimmo Alkio sends a "thank you" letter to all employees recognized by customers. This has a direct connection to employee engagement. We think that it’s highly essential to praise people and teams to rebuild Tieto culture as well as to develop Tieto as a company.

Next steps

Feedback of course becomes value for customers and us only once we’ve acted upon it. Results are analyzed for actions both on overall company and business unit levels, and every team studies and analyzes the feedback they have received. It’s also extremely important that the results, along with the planned actions for improvement, are again discussed with the customers.

It’s eye-opening to talk about the insights together with our customers. To start with, it allows us to make sure we’ve correctly interpreted their feedback. This gives us even more background on why the customer has said what they did, and allows us to plan the actions together with the them. When we discuss both the good experiences and development areas with the customers regularly we can make sure to nurture the good practices and correct the areas where a change is needed, and follow up on those promised changes.

Customer feedback is also a key part of our planning for the upcoming year: in which areas is it important to improve the game plan on a larger scale? Are there systemic practices that need to be re-designed? As part of the goals we set for 2019, each Tieto employee will as always have a customer experience related target in place.

For the customer experience team, we also start planning for next year: how could we develop our ways of collecting customer feedback in 2019? How could we make the results easier to act upon? What are our 2019 priorities on a company level to ensure a delightful customer experience at every touchpoint? We’re in full swing prioritizing the objectives for 2019 and thinking about the key results for each objective.

2019, here we come!

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