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What Matters for Customers in Grocery Stores?

December 14, 2015

We all love shopping. Some more than others. But all of us need to engage with grocery stores if we want to eat at home. So, what does matter for us as customers of Grocery stores? This article looks into key drivers of store choices people make. There are five key factors that make us choose the store we want to go in. Read further to know what they are and how to apply them into your business!

Get inspiring ideas on customer-centric process leadership

November 5, 2015

Business Process Management (BPM) is about managing everything that is done in an organisation to provide successful customer outcomes (hence it is a customer-centric effort). You need a plan, which includes a description from the organisation regarding how it will roll out and upkeep the Business Process Management (BPM) initiative, select processes for development and train people to lead the actual implementation. All this requires professional, leadership and communication skills. Janne Ohtonen has published a new book called “You Think You Are Doing Well? Become a Winner With Customer-Centric Process Leadership!” which is aimed to help you to grow those skills on a weekly basis. There’s no book available that can tell you what exactly has to be done in your specific situation. Therefore getting new and inspiring ideas on how to take your personal skills and the organisation forward are valuable. For example, in the early twentieth century, Henry Ford wanted to expand the market for his cars. His approach was to make his workers more productive through better-designed processes. He could then pay them better, which he did— instituting an unheard-of $5 a day minimum wage at his factories in 1914, thereby doubling the wages of many of his workers. This then led to a larger market for his cars, as many workers were now able to afford cars for the first time. The point here is that Mr. Ford developed a sustainable solution based on novel ideas (which people at his time thought were crazy) that lasted for years. Increasing your skills on continuing basis to generate inspiring ideas will bring you better results in the long run. To get inspiring ideas on customer-centric process leadership, download this new book and inspire yourself into new actions. The book includes important topics such as: How do you meaningfully align your revenue, costs and service strategy? What are the problems in leadership? How can you think your way to success? What are the important questions in process management projects? Does more interaction mean improved customer experience?Prominent business blogger and author Janne Ohtonen has published a new book called “You Think You Are Doing Well? Become a Winner With Customer-Centric Process Leadership!” which helps contemporary leaders to improve their process flows and personal leadership skills.This book is available as a downloadable version at

How Customer Centricity Creates Significant Competitive Advantage?

May 18, 2015

Competitive advantage has been a great buzzword for a long-time. That is something any company in an established market is searching for. And I suppose that makes sense in a world, where USP means Unique Selling Proposition rather than Service (not to mention Value). Companies that create true value through customer-centric efforts will have automatically a competitive advantage. Simply, clients will perceive them more valuable than other options in the market.

Strategies Guaranteed to Increase Your Productivity

May 15, 2015

Have you ever felt exhausted at the end of the day, knowing you worked your butt off and yet wondering what the heck you actually accomplished or, worse yet, wondering why nothing has been crossed off your “to do” list? It’s frustrating to say the least. Here are seven strategies guaranteed to increase your productivity…

Why revenues depend on the customer experience you provide?

May 11, 2015

One of the most common questions I hear from senior leaders is that how we can build a business case from customer experience improvement efforts. And that is a valid question since even though it is only logical to make more money from serving clients better, we need to see the hard evidence. There are several components in customer experiences that are highly appealing to clients and yet the highest impact comes through emotions.

Customer Centricity – How To Move From Talk To Action

April 30, 2015

We all know the old idiom: “Talk is cheap.” It is easier to say you will do something than to actually do it. This same applies to Customer Centricity also. Leaders talk about importance of Customer Centricity and Experiences, but then when it is time to put the resources to support that talk, very little happens. So, what do we need to move Customer Centricity from talk to action in any organisation?

Can Voice of Customer Mislead Our Business?

April 13, 2015

Voice of Customer, Customer Feedback and many kinds of customer satisfaction scores are very popular today. There are hundreds of technology companies offering various solutions to listening to the voice of the customer.

Does the Brand Promise Matter For The Customers?

March 24, 2015

Before getting into details of brand promises, let’s take few seconds and think about it. Do brand promises mean anything to you? Do you hold companies accountable for them or are they just part of the marketing noise? And what about people working in your company, do they care about the brand promises your business gives?

Messy Processes – Messy Customer Experiences?

March 11, 2015

Yeah, I am sure you have heard it at least once in your life: “Sorry, it is against our policy”. Lately I have head too many times “It is against regulations”. How is it against regulations when others are doing it? Nah, it is just a easy escape from offering bad customer experiences. How many companies actually mix bad internal processes with regulations? Quite many it seems!

What Matters for Customers in Grocery Stores?

March 4, 2015

We all love shopping. Some more than others. But all of us need to engage with grocery stores if we want to eat at home. So, what does matter for us as customers of Grocery stores? This article looks into key drivers of store choices people make. There are five key factors that make us choose the store we want to go in. Read further to know what they are and how to apply them into your business!

WATCH: How Understanding The Customer Journey Saved £800,000

February 20, 2015

At this drop-in, Janne spoke on how a practical approach to customer experience management can create significant results for companies. He also explained a powerful Customer Experience Innovation method which has been applied to tens of companies globally to create double-digit performance improvements in all of them. Janne has delivered tens of challenging change programs, with double-digit performance […]

3 reasons why customer complaints are your friends

February 16, 2015

We like to see customer complaints as our enemies when in fact they should be our friends. Of course in an ideal world you would not receive any complaints, but until then it is wise to learn from the customers. As they say, what does not kill you, makes you stronger. That is if you learn from all experiences.

3 Ways To Turn Mediocre Customer Experiences Into Remarkable Ones

February 4, 2015

When you think about remarkable customer experiences, what kind of companies come into your mind? The ones that create remarkable experiences or the ones that are mediocre? I bet the remarkable ones! So, how do you turn mediocre experiences into remarkable? Read this article for 3 key principles.

5 Things Every Executive Should Do to Build Customer Experiences

February 3, 2015

There is no substitute for leadership. If executives won’t care about the customers of a company, no one will. And this includes also the self-fallacy of already being customer-centric, since only very few companies really are. So, what are the five key things every executive should do to build customer experiences of a company?

Test the pulse of your processes – and see if they are still alive!

January 30, 2015

Many processes are like automatons. They wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, take the train to work and start toiling . For four hours they check their emails, put out fires and curse the work they do. Then, finally, it’s time for a lunch break. They grab something to eat, read the latest news, check Facebook and begin to feel sad about going back for their afternoon session at work. They head back to the desk, work for four more hours, take the train home and watch TV until going to sleep.

How Sainsburys Bank lost a customer

November 23, 2014

All this started 4 weeks ago, when I saw an appealing advertisement for getting a Sainsburys Credit Card with 18 months 0% purchases offer… Little did I know how bad choice that will end up being already before even ever getting that card!This case story is a great example of companies offering such a bad customer experiences that they end up losing clients just because their processes are built their own internal processes and rules in mind, forgetting the end-customer. Today there are so many credit card operators and competition is hard that these companies should all they can do to ease up the on-boarding process. Instead, Sainsburys Bank has decided to make the on-boarding as difficult as possible. Maybe that is the reason why they have to offer potential new clients 18 months 0% purchases, so that they could get any?This is how the process went and and ended up for Sainsburys Bank to lose a new potential client. I saw the advertisement of that credit card somewhere. Then I went online to see that how I could apply for the card. It was possible to do the application online, which was convenient. It took me about 20 minutes to complete the application. So I did and started to wait for their decision whether they will give me the card or not.Couple of weeks later I got a mail from Sainsburys Bank saying that my application has been approved. The letter also stated that I need to deliver them certified copies of my electricity bill and passport. This is when everything started to fall in part from Sainsbury’s side.My first challenge was that I don’t have any paper copies of my electricity, gas, etc. bills because I have changed them all into electronic invoicing and they don’t mail paper copies anymore (including bank statements also). And Sainsburys accepts only certified copy of ORIGINAL PAPER STATEMENTS, not electronic ones. There’s no way to round it since all my bills are electronic ones. I was instructed that I can just print my electric bill out and claim it to be original paper copy and it will be fine. This instruction came from Sainsburys itself. In other words they were advising customer on how to round their own rigid rules…Sainsburys Bank accepts only certification done by another bank. They do not have their own branches to go in to. Now, I thought that this is easy, I will just go to my bank and ask them to give me one. Well, that didn’t work out. They told me that they have stopped giving certifications of passports, bills, etc. 3 years ago due to some fraud cases. I thought that this may now get a bit tricky since I can’t get it from my own bank.In total I went to HSBC, Natwest, Virgin Money, Metro Bank and none of them agreed to give me a certified copy of my passport and self-printed electricity bill. All them said the same thing as my bank, they do not give certified copies anymore.What can I do? Well, I thought that I will go out and ask from a solicitor if they could give me a copy. The cheapest one I found was £35. I think that’s a bit steep price for taking a photocopy of a paper and putting a stamp on it. So, I decided not to take that route.Then I found out that Post Office is offering certified copies with fairly affordable price. They take only £8,50 for copies and you get 3 of them with that money. That’s great, I thought! I took the copies, attached them with a letter to Sainsburys Bank and sent it out. So far I have spent over 4 hours getting all this done in total… What a waste of time!I waited and Sainsburys Bank get on mailing me the same exact letter than on the first time saying that I need to send a copy of my utility bill and passport. I thought that their IT system has messed up and is sending those letters until they receive my papers. Some time later I received another letter from Sainsburys Bank thanking for the documents I had sent earlier and saying that they will come back to me with my fresh credit card soon. Looks like a good situation for me, right?Well, for some reason the card didn’t come but I did keep receiving same standard letter stating that I need to deliver my documents (which I had sent and already received back from Sainsburys also). My thinking was still that there’s a mistake in their system and I will get the card soon… Little did I know.Several weeks and 4 letters later I decided to call them. Their number costs me 40 pence per minute since I don’t have a landline and mobile operators take extra charge to call their number. I still called them. I was greeted with over 5 minutes long automatic recording that I had to listen to. At the end of the recording the system said “there’s a long queue of over 4 minutes currently, we advice you to call us back some other, less busy time”. That sounded a bit weird… I decided to wait for that 4 minutes rather than call back later. Luckily that recording didn’t say that my call was important to them, because it clearly wasn’t!This horrible customer experience just kept on going when person called Anthony answered. He said that they cannot accept my documents since they were certified by Post Office and not by another bank. I friendly explained this same story as here to him and told him that there is no bank in London that will give me those certified copies since all of them had stopped doing it. Anthony was kind enough to tell me how he had no problems certifying his documents somewhere in Scotland in another bank. I suggested that it’s a bit too far to go to Scotland for me to get that done. He said that I need to choose whether I get those certified copies from a bank or not to receive the card.Even though the discussion with Anthony was friendly, I asked for his manager. I thought he could understand my situation better. He promised to get the manager on the phone and put me on hold. I was on hold for couple of minutes and Anthony came back. He said the manager was too busy to discuss with me.At this point it was already very clearly to me that Sainsburys Bank couldn’t care less for their new clients and I had lost my trust towards Sainsburys completely. Anthony said that they can give me Sainsburys vouchers that will reimburse the £35 solicitor fee that I would need to pay to get the copies from them. For me that was same as me spending that money in Sainsburys instead of solicitor. Kind offer but not good enough. I didn’t want to spend the time it would take me to find a solicitor, go there to get the copies, pay for them and wait for the Sainsburys vouchers to come in so that I can then go into a Sainsburys and spend them there… No, too much effort.I asked Sainsburys Bank to cancel my application and I started writing this blog… It will be read by over 50,000 people by the time I am done with this. I have also promoted this post to over 20,000 people in social media. What do you think that is going to do for those people who thought about getting a credit card from Sainsburys?What can we learn from this? We can learn a lot. First is that avoid Sainsburys Bank until they can figure out how to treat clients properly.Second, customer experience and effort does matter. Even if you offer services that require approval from business side to become a customer, you still need to treat your clients respectfully and make sure your own incompetence, rigid processes and bad customer service won’t get on the way.We can also learn that even though highly regulated industries like banking can still make sure that they don’t put customers through unnecessary pain.Social media and blogs are a popular platform nowadays to share stories about companies who treat customers badly (or well). It matters more and more how you deal with your clients so that they do not feel mistreated so badly that they need to write blogs like this. Another thing is also than when they do, will your business know about it and do you have processes in place to do anything about it in a constructive way?What happened afterwards?Tesco was more than happy to accept those same Post Office certified copies of my papers that I received back from Sainsburys Bank. They also gave the same 18 months 0% purchases offer. I should have gone with them  to begin with!Now, do you have similar experiences to this? Please share them in the comment field, we would love to hear from you!

Process excellence infographics

October 22, 2014

Process excellence is a way to produce successful customer outcomes. In a service economy, what you make is not the competitive differentiator, it is why your organisation exists, how you deliver your services and what you do for your customer…

How to develop as a process leader?

February 4, 2014

Some business process leaders are doing much better in changing their work practices compared to others. What do well-performing leaders know about adapting their organisation’s processes swiftly and adequately, that others don’t? And how well you are doing well as a process leader? New book from Janne Ohtonen, takes inspiration from the Greek phrase “panta rhei” (or “everything flows”) once spoken by philosopher Heraclitus, indicating that everything is susceptible to change. This still holds true, 2500 years after these words were first spoken. Organizations are changing constantly, under pressure of market demand, competitive forces, technological inventions and new legislation. This demands also for new kind of leadership. “I wrote this book to help business leaders develop a culture of agility and adapt their way-of-working in response to external impacts on their business and value proposition,” says Ohtonen. With over 150 pages and 52 articles, one for each week throughout the year, the book concisely articulates a number of best practices for business leaders to turn their organizations around towards the new way customers act. Ohtonen continues, “Today’s customers expect to be treated personally, instantly, and through their own preferred channel – be it online or offline. They are members of a socially hyper-connected world with all information right at their fingertips. Organizations simply need to adapt to this new customer, not only by opening an online store or a Twitter account, but also by changing their mind-sets, behaviours and leadership styles to become truly customer-centric. I wanted to share my ideas on how these tools can help with everyday leadership processes.” To find out how you could improve both business and your leadership and to make sure you will be doing financially better this year, get your hands on this book and inspire your thoughts. The first 12 weeks in the book include important topics such as:Are you still working with outdated business methods? Ingredients for process culture that brings the results! How to launch a BPM programme successfully? How to build customer satisfaction into business processes? What could help to make change more sustainable?Prominent business blogger and author Janne Ohtonen has published a new book called “You Think You Are Doing Well? Become a Winner With Customer-Centric Process Leadership!” which helps contemporary leaders to improve their process flows and personal leadership skills.This book is available as a downloadable version at

Spice up the life with weekly process leadership learning

January 16, 2014

A book called “You Think You Are Doing Well? Become a Winner With Customer-Centric Process Leadership!” has been published to help you to develop both your personal leadership and business process management skills with each passing week. Even though this book may initially seem like a random collection of wisdom, it is based on the experience the author has accumulated over the last ten years of working as a professional business process management and leadership coach. The world has become a complex place and many kinds of demands are placed on the people who work in decision-making positions. This book seeks to help you to move forward on your path of personal growth towards better leadership and business improvement skills. What you can expect from this book is a compilation of thought-provoking ideas and reflective questions that will hopefully trigger your mind to generate insight that adds value to your life. Culture is the driving force in business process management. The culture must support the fundamental ideology behind the reason for an organisation to exist. And as we all know, every organisation exists to fulfil customers’ needs and wants in one way or another (hence the need for measuring and increasing customer satisfaction also). Process improvement requires the right kind of organisational culture to support it. This book gives you ideas to building customer-centric process culture in your organisation through you growing as a leader. The benefit of this kind of learning is that you can advance at your own pace and implement the actions that are most relevant in your situation. To spice up your life with weekly process leadership learning, get your hands on this book and inspire yourself into new actions. The book includes important topics such as: How can business coaching help you reach specific goals?  How to motivate employees besides with money? What can you do to create better customer experiences? Are you losing your productivity? Here is how to get it back! How can you gain more influence?Prominent business blogger and author Janne Ohtonen has published a book called “You Think You Are Doing Well? Become a Winner With Customer-Centric Process Leadership!” which helps contemporary leaders to improve their process flows and personal leadership skills.This book is available as a downloadable version at

Buzzwords revisited: NPS & VOC strengths and weaknesses

December 10, 2013

The Voice of customer (VOC) represents a structured way of gaining insights and unpacking customer’s thoughts, beliefs and preferences. If implemented effectively it represents a good method of understanding customer experience and is a key contributor to the customer centricity agenda.A good implementation of VOC needs to include the implications and ramifications of the response and results on the rest of the organisation. This, in most situations means that a process to customer experience alignment is going to be required. Traditional best practice techniques are not so good at addressing this; however there are new approaches, which can create that alignment that is very critical.The Voice of Customer is very good at unpacking beliefs at a moment in time, but it is not able to unfold the full framework of wants and needs for the following reasons:A) The customer is not aware of their true needs, because they extrapolate from their current situation, which is addressing their wants. For example, a great quote from Henry Ford: “If I carried out a VOC campaign on my customers they would have said a faster horse”… Ok readers, he did not say exactly that but you get the point!b) The customers very often give you view points in the context of who they think you are.c) The customers may have needs, but unless the questions are very carefully structured, they neglect to mention them. Therefore the VOC may not reveal the full safety implications of flying because a situation has never arisen in their life to consider it.Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a great way to encapsulate a very vital business measure. This is particularly effective to gain a support, engagement and feedback from key stakeholders in the organisation. All the points mentioned above are also largely applicable to NPS. It has been found that NPS is very effective when used in conjunction with other outcome based thinking and techniques.It is necessary to keep in mind is that NPS is only a simple question: “Would you recommend us to your colleagues or friends?”  There are limits as to how much can be done with it, however it is a great sanity check for the overall business of an organisation. Other methods are needed for finding out what exactly is wrong when the result is a bad score or it becomes apparent that it needs improving.Voice of Customer is great for finding some of the customer wants however a next practice method is needed to understand the needs. Also to overcome the limitation of NPS which un-covers that there is a problem however not how to solve it a new approach is needed. One proven and very practical option is the Successful Customer Outcome technique used within the Customer Experience Innovation Method. 

Janne Ohtonen

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