Niko Kujala has been working within the product segment of breakers and switches at ABB Protection and Connection in Vaasa, Finland since 2011 and he has held different international positions within both sales and production. He gives the background to his first experience with Opticom International Research: We knew that we wanted to conduct customer satisfaction research on a global level in order to better understand our customers’ needs, basically asking them: What were the needs in different fields and what do we as a supplier need to do better?

Niko ABB
Niko Kujala, Global Sales support Specialist, ABB Protection and Connection

In the process of selecting a market research agency, the ABB team had five competing potential suppliers providing quotes to look into. Niko continues: After evaluating the different options, we found that Opticom’s offer was by far the clearest, it was obvious that Opticom had made an effort to get to know our business and therefore understood our needs. In addition to that, the price level was also good.

Niko says that the quick initial response to any question that ABB had concerning the designed project as well as the smooth communication with the Opticom project team overall were further factors that tilted ABB to choose Opticom in the end.

The customer satisfaction survey covered more than 20 countries worldwide, with strong involvement from the local offices to make sure the most important customers per market were interviewed.

We got very valuable insights concerning client needs in in an ever more competitive market: what our clients appreciate about our products and services, how we can help them improve their own business, and also indications on where there is still need for improvement.

Niko explains that a lot of actions have been taken by them at ABB after the results in the final report were presented and statistical files and individual interview transcripts were delivered. Most decisions concern increasing and improving their direct communication with clients. He reveals that their business has grown since the research was completed and that the insights definitely have further supported this growth.

When asked what he would regard as the main benefits with this specific project, Niko points out that it was easy doing business with Opticom, that the communication was always smooth, the offer was prepared really well and that Opticom understood our needs in this kind of research right away. Therefore, wrapping up, he would definitely recommend that ABB would go with Opticom again, whenever the need for market insights arises.

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Opticom are pleased to announce our partnership with SynGro, a world leader in customer experience management technology. SynGro share our commitment to turning customer feedback into valuable insight to drive strategic action and tangible value.

Today’s business benchmark “Customer Experience”
Gartner defines customer experience management (CEM) as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”

Our customer experience software gathers feedback from any source including in-person and telephone interviews, SMS/web/IVR surveys and even complaints, reviews and social media. Feedback is analysed in real time with critical trends and topics automatically distributed to the right people to take the right follow-up actions.

By integrating this real time feedback with financial, operational and geographical data unique to your company, a true single customer view emerges. The result is loyal customers who spend more and promote your brand.

Opticom and Syngro would like to invite you to learn more about today’s business benchmark ”customer experience” and how we can help you drive value from insight. To book one of our exclusive 1-to-1 customer experience discovery sessions in November, call Tejpal Chugh, Customer experience specialist on +46 708 39 90 07 or email him at tejpal [at] opticom [dot] se.

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Munksjö has the aim to be a global leader in high-quality specialty papers, providing customers with a unique product offering for a large number of industrial applications and consumer-driven products. In developing its strategy and business planning, customers’ experiences and input are extremely important in order to ensure decisions are taken that really are of value to Munksjö’s customers and which will result in a more favourable competitive position for the company.

Jan Åström, President and CEO, Munksjö Oyj

“Customer focus is key to succeed in the process of reshaping ourselves following the merger with Ahlstrom’s Label and Processing business,” says Jan Åström, President and CEO of Munksjö Oyj. “At the end of the day, our customers are those who pay our salaries. Their evolving needs and challenges, as well as our competition, mean that we must continue to improve if we want to stay ahead.”

To involve customers in this open dialogue about Munksjö’s current performance and future position, Opticom was engaged to develop a plan and design a model for gathering and analysing customer input and measuring customer satisfaction. A global, company-wide survey was conducted covering all business areas: Decor, Release Liners, Industrial Applications as well as Graphics and Packaging. Customers provided positive feedback and highlighted clear strengths, as well as suggestions on where improvements could be made and how they would like Munksjö to develop.

To further increase internal motivation and commitment, Opticom and Munksjö organized a series of workshops with representatives for the different business areas covering a wide range of functions across the organization in order to make the most of the input customers provided. In total, more than 80 managers from across the globe were involved in reviewing customer feedback and creating ideas on what can be done to ensure customers will be even more satisfied with Munksjö in the future.

“I am impressed with the high level of engagement we have seen from all participants and the impressive list of actions that have come out of all workshops ranging from quick-wins to important long-term strategic initiatives,” Jan Åström concludes. “Our employees have helped us in taking customer suggestions and translating them into specific actions that we can use to make sure customers will continue to see us as a preferred supplier. Opticom’s method has given us insight into which actions would be of greatest value to our customers and which our organization would like to prioritise.”

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Given our extensive experience in conducting global customer research, clients often rely on Opticom to develop their skills of listening to the market, to base their decisions on market facts and to embed the customer´s voice in their companies DNA. Successful companies do not just focus on what their customers want, but put the customers at the centre of all they do. They strive at finding ways to differentiate themselves from competition. Profits follow from this; they do not lead it. Opticom offers a unique portfolio of consulting services focusing on retaining customers and building loyalty, securing more business and finding ways to differentiate from competition.

Customer satisfaction research

We really need our customers, regardless of the products we sell or the services that we offer, but customers are mostly doing just fine without us. Conducting customer satisfaction research shows that you care about your customers and are interested in what they have to say, but – more importantly – acting upon the results from the survey and suggestions put forward by your customers strengthens their perception of your company as both customer-oriented and trustworthy.

Opticom’s comprehensive model for customer satisfaction research with extensive qualitative in-depth interviews provides detailed feedback on customers’ opinions, expectations and perceptions of the performance of your company and allows you to take action on all relevant levels. Besides enabling direct and short-term improvements for existing clients, the feedback provided from customer satisfaction research allows our clients to become even more market-focused and differentiate themselves through an improved product and service offering.

Best-in-class supplier study

The general purpose of this study is to enhance our clients’ understanding of the future needs and expectations of key potential and current customers. The project scope covers trend analysis, defines critical customer interaction areas, benchmarks against competition and identifies value creation opportunities. The study should ultimately help our client to become a best-in-class supplier with an efficient sales organisation offering an optimal product and service portfolio.

Prospecting for business opportunities

Opticom frequently co-operates with our clients to prospect for business opportunities by mapping potential customers, creating awareness among them and investigating their buying intentions – in both existing and new business segments. Over the years Opticom has helped generate hundreds of million euro in additional revenues to our customers on five continents.

Learning from lost customers

Most businesses – even the best ones – lose customers over time. But if a company can retain customers longer this can make a dramatic change to the bottom line. So crucial insights into why customers take their business elsewhere and what the competitors are up to will help you to increase customer loyalty and thereby save costs and effort needed to find new customers.

The projects focus on why customers have chosen to discontinue their business relationship, what our clients need to do better and different in the future, which elements in our clients’ offering that are still appealing, if our clients still could be considered as a supplier in the future and which customers that are at risk and how losing their business can be avoided. The general purpose of these studies is to enhance our clients’ capabilities in retaining customers over time.

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Some time ago I wanted to rent a car and walked into an Avis office. On the counter there was a sign that read: “Avis needs you. You don’t need Avis”. It can hardly be expressed more simply than that, says Mikael Selling, Opticom International Research, in his column for Papernet.

We really need our customers, regardless of the products we sell or the services that we offer, but customers are mostly doing just fine without us. I find Avis to be an excellent example of a customer and market oriented company!

So what can you say about the level of market and customer orientation within the forest product industry?

I have been a consultant to the forest industry for over 20 years now and my experience is that there are great differences in how different forest companies deal with customer and market orientation.

Most companies have unfortunately not developed this way of looking at things to any greater extent, but it’s about time to rethink!

Based on the results from a survey that Opticom and Nordic Paper Journal presented on November 30, 2009 my viewpoint was confirmed by industry representatives. A majority, 61%, of respondents working within the Swedish forest industry considered “increased market and customer focus” to be the most important factor to a forest company in order to become more successful.

How can it be that so many forest products companies do not understand the values and importance of listening to the market?

Within the forest industry, we prefer to talk about production economy – tons per year and stock levels – but few people see the benefits in scanning the market for information in the way that practically every consumer goods supplier does.

In his article on Papernet, Mikael Selling illustrates why it’s decisive for the forest industry to develop its skills of listening to the market, to base the decisions on market facts and to embed the customer´s voice in the companies DNA. Read the full article here.

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