Listening to Alko customers during service development

Our customers expect continual improvements in service, more service channels, and a product selection that is perfectly suited to them.  We want to listen carefully to our customers and meet their expectations to the greatest possible extent.

An excellent customer experience is close to our heart. We continuously develop our operations by listening to and working with our customers. It is important for us to meet our customers’ needs in the best way possible.

We are enthusiastic about developing customer service. A variety of customer satisfaction surveys provide us with valuable data on what contributes to customer satisfaction and how we should develop our services and selection. We want to understand our customers and identify the factors that determine consumer behaviour and habits, as this will help us to better meet our customers’ needs. On the basis of customer feedback, we have introduced services such as “Alko wish” shelf labels, which indicate that the store stocked that particular product on the basis of a customer’s wish.

We are also developing our services and selection in collaboration with a panel of customers that currently has more than 4,500 members. We organise customer events for the advisors on the panel, and their feedback on a number of topics is also requested using email surveys. Workshop topics have included Alko’s mobile app, the content of our magazine Etiketti, and transparency in the supply chain. Feedback survey topics have included “event markets” at Premium Stores, the content of the food & drink section of Alko’s website, transparency in the supply chain and product traceability.

Emotions and contacts play a major role

Emotions, customer contacts and impressions play a major role in customer satisfaction. Our customers praise our sales staff’s knowledge and approachability – many people find it quicker and easier to make a choice with a salesperson’s help. However, emotions also affect customer experience. Sales staff must know the facts, but their attitude and communication skills must also be in order. We strongly invest in professional development, with respect to both customer service and product expertise.

According to Alko’s survey results, curiosity (“oh, how interesting...”) describes the feelings of Alko customers when they choose a new product for themselves. Other emotions include reassurance (I know what I want and where to find it) and reliability (I can find what I want at Alko), and a pleasant shopping experience.

Products are also selected on the basis of customer wishes

In addition to spontaneous feedback, we also encourage our customers to respond to our ‘How well did we do?’ survey three times a year. In this survey, customers give us their views on their last store visit, as well as feedback on Alko’s selection and customer service. Customers can also give feedback via a cash register survey.  The cash register survey analyses customers’ satisfaction with the store’s selection, or whether their store visit was worthy of praise. The results help us to identify variations in our customer experience, either daily or during the week, as store-specific results are available in our reporting system.

Selection and service go hand in hand

Alko’s good customer experience consists of considerate and friendly service combined with a selection that meets our customers’ needs. We measure customer satisfaction with Alko’s selection twice a year using our Selection Satisfaction Survey. Our latest score was 8.57 (on a scale of 4–10).

Generally speaking, Alko’s selection of more than 10,000 products is considered good. Customers have praised our special editions, seasonal products, and new-season products. Some respondents hoped for more products in a specific category or faster turnover. Interest in responsible and ecological products is clearly rising.