Ville Österlund // January 15 2018

My CX Superhero

My customer experience superhero is Pekka. I think all companies looking to differentiate and grow could learn from him. I was privileged to spend 3 days with him in recent innovation workshop that we ran for MPY. They are a fast growing ICT outsourcing business of about 30 million Euros in revenues. They are the guys who run your back-end IT office and support so you can focus on your business. So when your laptop or VPN is playing tricks at you, and your time is at premium, you know who to call to.

Back to Pekka. He is the company’s CEO. He took office couple of year’s ago with a mission to propel the business back into growth. It is tricky to grow in this field as the ICT business is highly competitive and run by large multinationals. By competing with price or size was not an option for the business. Pekka had to look for something more profound and sustainable to start throwing punches at the Goliaths of the industry. He decided to start from his customers – in his first 100 days at the office he met 100 customers. He didn’t just meet the C-suite decision makers but also everyday end-users of his client organisations. This gave him good perspective on how his business was impacting and making a difference for his customer organisations.

Listening intently to such a range of views and stories made it clear that the vertical was riddled with bad customer experiences. One example is contract jargon; a buying customer is often a non-specialist and doesn’t derive value from understanding the inner complexities of an IT system. In many cases, buyers simply didn’t know exactly what they were signing up for, whilst sellers failed to realise that they hadn’t communicated their solutions in a clear and meaningful way.

From the many examples encountered on these first 100 days, Pekka created a list of ’10 Commandments’ – the core areas that MPY had to fix within their customer journey. The best thing about these fixes? They seemed so obvious…after the fact. Engaging with customers of all shapes and sizes had laid a clear and achievable path to strategic re-alignments to remove sales hurdles and increase client engagement. The results have been staggering – a 250% increase in client acquisition.

Now Pekka and his team have embarked on a new quest. 250% wasn’t enough; the ROI of great Customer Experience had been proven and this would now be the centre piece of the company’s differentiation and growth strategy. At this point Pekka reached out to consultancy community with a question “If this was your Day 1 in our business, what would you do differently? What should be our Customer Experience Vision 2.0? – help us get there.” It was a real privilege to be chosen for the job.

CX vision and transformation work can feel something like trying to untangle a giant ball of string at times – it can be fiddly and frustrating, but it’s the only way to get to get the string to do what string is supposed to do. The points where customers, people, processes and technologies intersect are the most challenging, and yet the most important, parts of our businesses to address. Our job was to break this CX ‘fur ball’ into bite sized chunks where we could all work out what CX 2.0 vision meant for his company.

In addition to refreshing the client and stakeholder interviews MPY had done previously, the key was in enhancing the process with an internal MPY online community – employees outside the leadership team and right across the organisation could participate and co-create the new CX vision with us.

Armed with stacks of insightful discoveries, we sat down with Pekka and the leadership team for a 3-day CX Vision workshop. No phones, no laptops; just people, ideas and a giant CX yarn-ball to face off with! The outcomes were incredible. Within the 3 days we had created a thorough customer journey map, identified the key sticking points, brainstormed multiple solutions and defined CX 2.0, along with a roadmap of how to get there.

The highlight for me was when Pekka was given the “CEO’s task” of choosing the 3 best concepts that the business would adopt. Instead of making the call himself he turned to his leadership team and said the magic words, “Look, you know me. We make this decision together. This is our shared journey. We need to do it together, or not at all. So, what shall it be?”

That is my superhero in action ladies and gentlemen!

My key learnings to share:

CX doesn’t belong to the company’s tactical arsenal, it is strategic tool to differentiate and grow.

CX isn’t a campaign or a project, it is never-stopping work to become better at your business.

Despite being called customer experience, CX work benefits greatly from learning along with your own people. Your internal culture is your customer experience.


Join us for the Digitalist Super Power Breakfast: Asiakaskokemuksella Johtaminen on February 6 (event held in Finnish). Sign up and see the programme here!


Photo by Tobias Cornille