The way to the customer’s heart is through better leadership

A few years ago, Vianor took a great strategic step forward when it decided to expand its service selection from tyre maintenance to providing versatile overall service for car owners. Vianor realized that it could distinguish itself from its competitors by offering more versatile services to make driving safer. In addition to tyre changes, the company also wanted to be able to offer car owners other kinds of maintenance and vehicle inspection all in the same place.

Business impact

  • The personnel’s attitude has become more service-oriented and the operations more efficient
  • Tidiness and order at the sites has improved, thus processes run more quickly and safety has improved
  • Now Vianor has the development tools with which to carry the change forward

In addition to a new strategy, success required that the personnel really put their heart into serving the customers. ‘We wanted our employees to take initiative in solving problems for the customers’, says Vesa Laitinen, Business Area Manager at Vianor.

The company didn’t just want to develop service attitude, but it also wanted to harmonize its policies and make chain management more effective. That’s why the company launched an extensive programme to develop customer experience.

It all starts with the management

Vianor realized that establishing a culture of taking initiative would require a thorough change in management practices. Developing customer experience presupposed improving employee experience. ‘We wanted to reorient the operations towards coaching leadership where the employees are authorized to do a good job on their own initiative’, summarizes Laitinen. Even though developing leadership creates the basis for a good customer experience, customer service also requires targeted training. Talent Vectia’s Good Decision game, which the entire service point personnel played, proved to be an important instrument. The aim of the game was to bring up practical situations that the personnel come across in their work.

The third important part of the training, in addition to coaching management and the development of customer service, was improving cleanliness and safety. To achieve this, the company utilized the 5S method, the aim of which is to make workplaces organized and work methods standardized.

Five service points were included in the first pilot stage. After the first pilot round, the training programme was developed based on the experiences. After that the programme was expanded to cover other service points in Finland and in other Nordic countries.

Same steps for the rest of the North

The first notable change is the cleanliness and orderliness of the service points. However, even more important changes have taken place.

A great change has occurred in the employees’ attitude, interest in work, and the way they bring up new ideas. The processes have also, in many respects, become smoother" — Aki Nevalainen, Service point manager, Vianor

One of the most significant results of the entire development project was that the company now has the tools required for development. ‘We have been provided with good tools for developing the service points. This is important, as we are only at the start of our change journey’, says Päkkilä.

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