Many of us have a deep-seated desire to turn back time and become students once again. KONE employees have a chance to do just that once a year – on People Flow Day. The event conceptualised six years ago and has become a tradition at KONE now. Last year, over 1,000 employees across 30 countries went on a field visit to understand what happens on the ground. While some interacted with customers, others observed the flow of people in various locations.
“We deepened our understanding of how maintenance works on site, how we are currently communicating with facility managers and building users, and how this knowledge will help us understand customer needs even better,” says Pekka Kemppainen, Executive Vice President, Service Business at KONE.
SHARPENING THE SERVICE FOCUS
The timing is perfect, as KONE is moving from being not only a tech-company to an even more service-oriented one. Kemppainen believes the insights gathered from People Flow Day are invaluable in making this transition. For instance, the People Flow Day 2015 findings showed that consistency, personalised service, attention to detail and availability of spare parts are some of the most important cornerstones of great service delivery. It was also observed that technical expertise needs to be balanced with an accessible and trusted relationship with KONE service professionals.
KONE is on the right track on this count. About 70% of the customers interviewed during the day believed KONE listens to them and their needs and KONE representatives provide pro-active consultancy service.
But Kemppainen sounds a note of caution. “Some customers place a higher value on human interactions with KONE representatives, whereas others value a “silent service” premised on smooth operations with little interaction,” explains Kemppainen, hinting at the need to identify which customer needs what and deliver accordingly.
The dichotomy is not as simple as it sounds though. On one hand, it was noticed that at 30% of the surveyed sites, KONE’s maintenance activities went unnoticed by the building’s users, which means there was no interaction whatsoever. But on the other, facility and building managers expressed their wishes to be informed - even educated – about all planned, ongoing and completed service activities, on time, regularly and pro-actively.
BETTING ON DIGITALISATION
To strike a balance between the varied needs of customers, and help KONE professionals increase their productivity, KONE aims to 'capture the digital opportunity’. It will use analytics and mobile & digital tools more effectively to improve services and provide enhanced experiences.
An event like People Flow Day and the findings help steer the company in the right direction. For example, service engineers get an even better understanding of customer needs, and research and development teams gather ideas to develop unique people flow solutions. There’s a learning and take-away for every team.
“On a strategic level, 2015 People Flow Day directly supported development in three key areas: developing a service culture, putting the customer in the centre, and capturing the digital opportunity,” says Kemppainen summing up the essence and purpose of the event.