digitalist.global // January 25 2018

Any Company Can Become a CX Superhero

Many thanks Ville for the CX superhero nomination but I am not a superhero – it’s my team. Here’s my story on becoming a coach of a CX superhero team.

I possess masochistic characteristics when it comes to choosing jobs. The worse the starting point, the more appealing I find it for rolling my sleeves to fix it. I’ve come to a conclusion that I am an incurable optimist who sees opportunities whereas many would see a path to failure.

In summer 2015 a call from a headhunter changed my career path, being presented with an opportunity to lead a 130 year old company which had half-transformed from a fixed line telephony monopoly to a ICT Services Provider called MPY. The company had had many mishaps over the years with its strategies, M&A, culture, execution, media and shareholders. The company turnover had been in the decline throughout the 2010’s and positive net profit was only ever achieved through excessive layoffs. In my biased optimistic view, the company was a perfect sand box for a total overhaul with strong prospects for turnaround. I was completely in line with the company board of directors, that introducing CX as the prime means was the way forward.

Monopolistic companies are often lead by fear and MPY proved to be no different. After deep interviews with staff and customers, I felt it was time to announce that leading by fear was no longer tolerated in the company. We stopped pointing a blaming finger towards individuals and focused together on fixing the issues. In practise we unleashed the intelligence of our smart people. Day-to-day decision making, and operational development responsibility was moved from executive team to operative staff. Great CX requires ingredients which cannot be forced:  a) self-driven natural motivation to succeed, b) customer service attitude derived from positive feelings, c) self-imposed acceptance of responsibility.

We organised several workshops and info sessions to discuss how our company and each one of our roles impacted our customers lives. This created strong understanding amongst our staff on how critical ICT is to our clientele. The workshops and discussions were also about the inward strategies of our industry, as reflected by customer feedback. These ´bad behaviours’ of the industry presented us with a fantastic opportunity to do exact the opposite, creating us a simple but powerful differentiator in the market.

With the newfound swarm intelligence and knowledge of our industry/customers, we crafted a new company strategy together with the staff, incl. CX established as the lead motivation for the staff to contribute to the turnaround. The motivational recipe was simple: when customers are kept happy, we can defocus from day-after-day problem solving, and instead focus on developing the business and making MPY the best possible place to work for all of us. Our staff powered by a positive spiral of repetitive small successes turned the tide for us – the customers and the market started noticing the change in our company. At first everyone noticed the smiles, followed by the way we speak, act and deliver value. The strategy was all about the genuine belief of placing customer always first and monetary rewards will follow. We felt this was the right order to deliver our shareholders with sustainable results. Glueing CX on top of money focused strategy would not have worked.

To support all of the above activity, a brand & marketing communication team was established from scratch with an ambitious target of positioning MPY as the #1 ICT partner for medium sized corporations, as well as a highly desirable working place for ICT professionals. With some clever omnichannel activities coupled with bold content whereas CX was always spotlighted, we rose in media buzz swiftly to the level and even past our biggest competitors in the market. Without the intensive media push our current and potential customers would not have known that we have changed and become a serious contender in the market.

The turnaround kicked in fast. In six months we stopped losing customers. In 8 months new business started flooding in with 250% growth in customer acquisition. Our NPS score rose from -9 to +19 within the first year, and from +19 to +38 in the second year. Rapid development in CX score boosted turnover to 25% growth in comparison to average market of 5% per annum. Our net profit is still not something to be proud of but it’s on the rise and we are making leaps towards 8% long term net profit target. Improving profitability is the last item on our company owners wish list but we will not stop there.

In the spring of 2017 I felt we were doing great but also felt that we need to make plans on how to take the CX to even further heights in our business. With the aid of the CX professionals of Digitalist Group, a CX 2.0 vision was created for us to outbreak even further from the competition. 2018 will be all about taking the new vision into action, with an aim of making our team CX hyperheroes by 2021.

I truly believe any company can become a CX superhero. You just need to take CX into your heart first and the rest can be figured out as you go.

Blog by Pekka Mettälä, CEO, MPY

 

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