Published 02. Nov. 2016

The Best Customer Service Combines Digital and Human Elements

Digital Business

by Markku Rimpiläinen


What customers want today are seamless service and fast response on their channel of choice. Despite the growing preference for self-service, customers still look for human interaction from time to time.

The biggest challenge in designing a modern service structure according to Joonas Tunturi‎, Head of Digital Services at If P&C Insurance, is perhaps how to cost-effectively integrate human and digital services, “Companies must be able to develop digital and human services side by side in the future. The users must be able to transfer seamlessly from one service mode to another.”

For Tunturi, the most important thing from the customer’s point of view is to get assistance whenever it’s needed, “A good example is a well-working callback service. Digital service should be able to give the customer a precise time when a service personnel calls back.”

The P&C Insurance digital service head comes from the world of insurance where personalization is paramount. As they get get a wide-range of service cases, wherein in some situations they deal with small and practical issues, and then talk about life-changing matters in others, he has this advice, “In solving practical problems, digital services work well, but in bigger issues human touch and emotion are still needed.”

But there are also those who took the fully digitalized option.

“We were the first ones to deliver a 100 % digital and mobile service for forest owners. Today, our customers can run all their affairs regarding forest ownership and timber trade with our service model,” shares Juha Jumppanen, Senior Vice President, Member services, Metsä Forest at Metsä Group.

Let’s take timber trade as an example. It has been a rather complicated transaction requiring several contacts with various specialists, traditionally but, “Today, the forest owner can accomplish all steps in our digital service including estimates, offers, the trade, and taxation.”

The service is groundbreaking in many ways. For example, large sums of money are transferred with the help of the service,“The value of a typical timber trade is often tens of thousands of Euros. It´s the same thing as buying a car from the Internet.”

The primary driver in developing the service was a significant structural change among forest owners, “Traditionally, forest owners have been farmers living in the countryside. The relation to the forest has been close and personal. Today, many forest owners live in the city. They see their forest as an investment. They are also very familiar with digital services.”

To accomplish the service, Metsä Forest gathered together a network of dedicated companies, “Together we have worked hard to accomplish the task. If you do something this big, the result must be the best possible and not only in Finland but also globally.”

How to Develop a World-Class Digital Service:

  • Raise the bar and set ambitious goals.
  • Draw up a roadmap.
  • Let the customers attend – they know what they need.

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