This change is an essential part of Alko’s strategy, and strongly supported by the management. Investments in personnel and leadership development have been crucial. Kari Pennanen, Service Director at Alko, believes that this extensive commitment has been an important reason for success. Commitment has been equally important in the partnership with Delficon. Support from a training partner that knows the organization, the culture and the personnel has really altered the ways of working and built a basis for true renewal.
Delficon has produced tailored customer service trainings for Alko’s personnel during several years already. Managers have had a central role in the change, because they have taken the customer-oriented strategy into practice. According to Pennanen, managers have ”translated the strategy into an understandable and inspiring message. People act, when they know what to do and what matters.” The managers have developed their leadership and coaching skills in the trainings, but it is the entire personnel that deserves appreciation for their enthusiasm and willingness to develop themselves.
Every day, customers notice the difference. Finns frequenting Alko have been able to experience the new corporate culture. Service is proactive, friendly, natural and knowledgeable, and one gets the impression that the personnel enjoys working and communicating with customers. This attitude and competence makes customer dialogue genuine and rewarding, and the positive spin guarantees both customer and personnel satisfaction.
Service-mindedness has been defined as a corporate value in Alko, and it is also written in the company mission. Alko aims at being Finland’s best retail chain measured by customer service. Customer satisfaction is carefully measured and analyzed. The change that has taken place in the company during the past decades has been significant and very visible to customers, who have – especially in recent years – experienced a genuine change in Alko’s service culture. Indeed, it is very common and natural that the personnel in Alko’s stores proactively offers their assistance.