15 May 2014

Being customer-focused is a state of mind


The importance of being customer-focused is an important issue in almost every area of business today. As companies exist to serve their customers, this should come as no surprise. The most important thing that companies can do is to focus on their customers' needs.

Being customer-focused sounds simple and easy, but it can actually be full of pitfalls. Companies often get caught up in the rhetoric and forget to roll up their sleeves. To avoid this, we at Neste Oil got our hands dirty and started a hands-on development program a while ago to ensure that how we work really creates value for our customers, and for us as well.

Creating customer value is everyone's business

Our Customer Focus program is about taking sales to the next level and adopting a new approach based on co-creating with our customers. Co-creating value calls for a good understanding of customers’ needs and a team approach. Creating value is not just something that sales people do either, it should involve all the relevant people in both organizations. Access to the expertise of the entire organization should also be available to customers, if needed.

Customer value can be created by identifying more optimized logistic solutions, for example, and by providing tailored sustainability data or identifying new ways of working together. High-quality products go without saying today; it’s services and the ability to deliver solutions that bring value to the table.

Since starting our Customer Focus program in 2012, we have renewed our segmentation model, revamped our processes, and created new ways of working designed to co-create value with our customers. Although we have fine-tuned our processes, the core of Customer Focus program is not ultimately about these processes though. Being customer-focused is a state of mind, it’s about seeing the big picture of our own operations and those of our customers – so that we can make one plus one equal more than two.

Matti Lehmus

Executive Vice President, Oil Products and Renewables