Finnish Customer - a Silent killer
This is the first time I'm writing in English. As a Hotel customer in Southeast Asia, I have started to think about Finnish people as customers. I remember reading Lisa Sounio's blog around 2009-2010 and bumping into some lines telling about Finnish customers. Lisa wrote them as a customer herself. Back then I didn't recognize myself to be the same as her and afterwards i realized that mainly Finnish customers do not complain when we are in the situation, but afterwards. Lisa might have mentioned about it too, but as a customer she did say when it was necessary.
Finnish customer is a silent killer, if you allow me to use such harsh language. If there's a problem with the service, most of the Finns find the situation too awkward to say anything leaving the seller unaware that the customer is unhappy at the first place. Naturally this does not do any good in either side, so it's best to find out if the customer is truly happy. This is why i call Finnish customers a silent killer.
If a foreigner gets a Finnish customer, you better start walkin tipsy toes, or at least adjust your frequency accordingly. If a foreign service provider wishes to make it in Finland and Finnish customer scene, they should learn a few things about Finns as a customer.
1. Be truthful about your product or service quality.
Evaluate your product or service truthfully. DO NOT exaggerate or overstate your product quality. Be truthful and positive, but if your product is not the best in the world, do not say so. This should be automatically every marketeers rule number one. You can say its one of the best in the world but not claim to be the best if it's clearly not. Many Swedish products are average but sell like crazy, in everywhere else but Finland. Why? because the quality is actually not that good. I'm not saying that the products are all bad, but biggest brands actually in Finnish eyes are not that special. If a Finn buys it, it's because of the brand (even if they won't admit it). Finnish people think that others are as honest as ourselves. That's why we are a bit crappy marketeers, but have superior quality of products. So if a Finn is disappointed not getting what has been promised, one might never tell you that they are disappointed, but definitely remembers to mention it in the internet, leading a transaction turning into a PR catastrophe.
2. Be honest with your price
We don't haggle in Finland, ask for the right price right a way. Finn is very disappointed if a service has hidden costs that he or she thought are included the price.
3. Exceed expectations
When you are truthful about your service or product quality (As said in tip n:o 1) you have excellent opportunity to exceed any expectations a Finn has. Besides, Finnish expectations are easy to exceed. We are modest people, so even a small extra gesture during sales will make us very happy, maby even a regular customer.
4. Concentrate on user friendly service
As tech people, Finns are a tad impatient when speaking about getting what they want. We also are very stubborn (Finnish "Sisu" is a real thing). If your customer experience fails, and you are not able to fix the situation most humane way possible, you might lose your customer. So if you have a problem, try to get face to face with the customer, say you are sorry and ask if there's anything to do make him happy. Simple and effective.
5. Be true to your words.
As said before, honesty is very serious business to a Finn. Doing business, Finnish somewhat do understand cultural differences, but you should always assume with Finnish people, that you have to keep your word. If you can't keep your word, be honest about that too, and tell about it to your customer. Worst mistake you can make is keep this info to yourself and not tell about extra expenses (for example) to your customer.
6. Be frank, but polite.
In Finnish customership honesty is a thing you can use to avoid all catastrophes. Just simply ask about the things you want to know. A Finn will answer. Ask a Finn if he/she is happy with the product. If the answer is yes, ask is there anything he/she would like to change about the product. If your Finn customer is hesitant, he will answer after the second question. We sometimes need to be asked twice to answer but when we answer, we tell what's in our mind...well, at least everyone else than eastern Finnish people.
For you to understand us and our behavior better, visit a blog called "Finnish nightmares" (link below). From those comics, you find a good idea about what things Finnish people dislike or even are afraid of.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this blog helps you understand us better. Join a reader, as i will write more interesting posts about marketing and entrepreneurship in Finland