Vikan: How the customer centricity became tangible at Vikan
Through uniform, deliberate and fantastic customer experiences, Vikan aims to maintain its position as market leader and create growth among existing customers. Defining the kind of customer experiences required to ensure this marked the start of a journey. Along the way, Vikan used customer journeys, customer surveys, workshops with customers and involved the entire organisation. Join the journey.
The company, with its 250 or so employees, exports to 90 countries and is the world’s leading supplier of hygienic cleaning tools to the food and beverage industry. For a century, Vikan has been building up an enormous knowledge base on hygiene, and the goal is to deliver the world’s most efficient professional cleaning tools so that customers can produce food with peace of mind. However, although Vikan’s innovation and service has always targeted customer needs, the company has only recently begun focusing on the customer experience itself.
We care about our customer experience
”We wanted to define the great customer experience, and ensure that all our customers enjoy the same great customer experience across geography and distribution channels,” says Group Marketing Director, Lotte Jensen.
“Now we have a better grasp of our customer experience. The consultants from Customer Agency still help us, and we call them in when we need experienced experts to help further strengthen customer satisfaction,” she says.
Vikan began by mapping customer journeys, and the management became aware that customers’ various functions are in contact with many different employees at Vikan.
Great experiences require different treatment
“Of course, we know our customers. We know who they are, what they buy and where they are on the planet. But often, we are in contact with both procurement functions, quality departments and cleaning/hygiene at the customer. Each of these different functions has its own needs, requirements and interests, and in order to give them all the best customer experience, they must be treated differently,” explains Lotte Jensen.
Vikan’s work on obtaining better knowledge about customers and using that knowledge in everyday work comprised several elements. For example, Vikan outlined an ambition for its customer experience that describes the general principles for how Vikan wants to meet customers and which experiences customers should be left with after the meeting. Personas were used to define each function’s primary work areas; who it works with in the company, and how much focus this function applies to subjects such as hygiene, work routines, documentation and prices.
All these aspects equip Vikan’s employees for the relevant dialogue with customer representatives. Vikan also uses customer journey mapping in an app that helps salespeople to understand the customer journey and add facts to the dialogue with customers. This app has also been a tool for distributors, who are an important part of Vikan’s global distribution. The distributors have become more aware of where they can make a difference to their end customers’ satisfaction.
Heads held high in the distribution chain
A sub-project aimed at improving Vikan’s order management. At a workshop for both customers and employees, improvement initiatives for order management were generated and tested. It became clear that both the distribution centre and the finance function were central players in successful order management for customers.
“For example, before, our employees in the distribution centre had not considered themselves central for the customer experience. Yet after the workshop, they held their heads high, because now they knew they were also central for the customer experience at Vikan,” explains Lotte Jensen.
Global customer surveys
Based on its customer journey, Vikan is now conducting a global customer survey that is providing insight into customer loyalty, and the rational and emotional factors that play a role in our customers’ loyalty. The surveys also provide us with knowledge about how customers perceive Vikan compared with its competitors. One discovery revealed the potential for seven per cent growth in turnover with existing customers if the less satisfied customers received the same great experience as the loyal customers.
Like many other B2B-companies, Vikan also markets its products through distributors. It therefore also faces the challenge of how to safeguard that distributors make an active effort to market Vikan’s products in particular. Here, the customer journey provided Vikan with a structured approach to developing its business together with the distributors. One specific initiative involved site surveys through which Vikan, together with individual customers, reviews the production system at the customer to identify hygiene problems and optimise hygiene routines. Distributors can also participate in site surveys.
Win-win-win with distributors
“Site surveys facilitate customers’ focus on hygiene. However, site surveys also give distributors the opportunity to sell other Vikan products to customers. This could include cleaning agents and other products in far higher volumes for the distributors than our brooms and buckets. So it’s a win-win-win situation,” explains Lotte Jensen.
It all started with a “Customer Experience project” anchored in the management team with Customer Agency as an advisor. Along the way, it became clear to everyone that it was not a project. It’s a never-ending journey. It also became clear that working on customer experiences involves working on the corporate culture.
“Unless we do things differently, customers do not notice any change,” concludes the Group Marketing Director from Vikan.
The next customer survey will show whether our customers can feel the difference.
Advanced hygiene solutions marketed through distributor channel (Sales via distributors)
Customer Journey Mapping, Customer Journey Analysis, Management workshops, Customer Centric Process Optimization, Customer Journey App
Maintaining market leader position, Stronger differentiation in the market through uniform, deliberate and fantastic customer experiences
Clearer picture throughout the organisation of who the customers are and what experiences to improve to drive overall experience
Clearer awareness that great customer experiences contribute to the bottom line. Loyal as well as critical customers with potential are strongly addressed in sales process