In aiming for excellence in customer experience amid a pandemic and the work-from-anywhere future, sense of control feels a bit hard to get. On top of any organization, critical thinking on evolving customer needs is needed on different timelines simultaneously. What really matters is agility and love behind the scenes.
I recently participated in the virtual launch of “Leaders who Change the World”, a behind the scenes documentary on Nordic Business Forum. While I am not a big fan of webinars, this virtual event was a perfect example of excellence in customer experience in today’s world.
As an advocate for careful designing of customer journeys myself, I was not surprised that NBF pulled it off so well in digital format too. Everything that happens on their customer journey at their live events has always been deliberately planned and executed with attention to detail. Remember how they shook hands with everyone or sowed back the loose button in your coat while you were listening to Barack Obama?
“Customer experience is always a reflection of what happens behind the scenes. If you want customers to love your firm, love your employees and colleagues first. That really matters.”
– Katja Hollmén, Director of Client Relations
I have genuinely enjoyed attending NBF conferences. Why? I felt inspired and being looked after. One of their fundamental principles is “treat the customer like she or he was their friend”. Another principle is to focus on delivering a phenomenal experience to everyone involved: customers, speakers and their employees. “Just common sense”, replied Hans-Peter Siefen, the other founder of NBF, when asked about this. I agree 100%.
Customer experience is always a reflection of what happens behind the scenes. If you want customers to love your fi rm, love your employees and colleagues first. People-centric strategies are that simple. Just like the ratio of the time needed for writing a column to someone actually reading it, delivering that phenomenal customer experience takes a lot of action behind the scenes. At NBF it took 2 years of work behind the scenes before the customers got their 2 amazing days. Result: tickets for the next year’s event were sold-out before the cloakroom was empty! Today, still empty. In 2020, the whole event business fell down on its knees. The core business, events and their customer journeys all needed rethinking. What’s the biggest change behind the NBF scenes right now? Agility.
Change of scenery to law fi rms. Our core business has not vanished. For D&I this has been a busy year. In H1/2020 Mergermarket ranked us #1 in the number of deals and TOP3 in deal value in Finland. With no live-seminars and less live-meetings, our clients have gotten what has really mattered to them: new alternatives, efficient processes and frequent discussions with their strategic speaking partners. I would say that the changes brought to our customer journey by COVID-19 have been minor. When it really mattered, we had no elephants behind the scenes. At the time of the stay-at-home order in March 2020, we had a fully operational remote office system with efficient collaboration tools at use.
Spring was all about survival. Today we are adjusting to the new normal and so are our expectations. Overall, the shock probably made us more accepting first, but that may not be the case in the long-run. Like in private relationships, things that have been bubbling under will make it to the surface. I would bet on innovation and differentiation becoming all the more crucial in the professional services business, especially for the young and more diverse than ever workforce and client base.
On the cover of this D&I Quarterly, we “turn the world on”. We plan to do it by building upon our “korkea tavoitetaso” (= high standards of excellence). This two-word code is familiar to everyone at D&I. Its core is made of stellar legal thinking, but the code applies to everything we do, such as Client Understanding and Being in the Forefront of Digital Services – both categories where large Finnish buyers of legal services ranked us #1 in the Prospera Tier 1 Law Firm review 2020. Sure, I would like us to renew those exact #1 positions. But I would love us to win the long-term categories of agility and love.