Face to Face with Change at Posti’s Customer Service
Future of Growth
Any government-owned organization will always be subject to a special kind of scrutiny – and Posti is no exception. Looking in from the customer interface of things, there is always something that could be better, easier or more convenient. And you know what? Posti agrees.
The analogue days are truly over. With the massive changes happening in the overall logistics landscape and the on-going internal development of the organization itself, Posti’s customer service is at the very core of change when it comes to understanding, anticipating and developing solutions to end users’ needs.
Problem-solving at the heart of the issue
“Posti is continuously changing,” says Sales Coach Kristiina Oksanen. “And change always equals possibility. Internal development reaches those of us working on the customer interface as well: customer service data is monitored daily to pinpoint recurring issues and find solutions to prevent them.”
Kristiina herself recently celebrated ten years at Posti. After starting at the organization as a Customer Service Specialist, she now coaches and supports customer support employees throughout their careers. Customer service at Posti is problem solving on many levels, always striving towards one goal: creating more added value to the customer. As they are closely in tune with current customer needs, service employees also participate in trial groups for new service and product developments. The job requires great communication skills, in-depth product and service knowledge, and more than its fair share of detective work.
“You need to keep a cool head and stay alert,” says Kristiina. “You need to be able to read the situation and ask the right questions to get to the heart of the issue. And as we develop as an organization, the need to deepen our know-how also grows.
Tensions sometimes run high when things go wrong. But while some things may be out of customer service’s hands, each employee at Posti is responsible for taking important issues up with management or those working on the field – so making that call or going online to chat always counts.
“We are always on the customer’s side and truly work to fix the problems they may have,” Kristiina says. “There is also great camaraderie among Posti staff – we once uncovered a lost passport four hours before takeoff and located a missing wedding dress just in time for the wedding.”
Where’s my parcel?
Some of the most frequent customer service contacts concern pickup hiccups with parcel lockers and issues concerning changes of delivery address. These are where real problem-solving skills step in.
“We need to find the real cause of the issue. Is the customer at the right locker, is there a problem with the locker itself or has the locker code not activated? With delivery issues, we first need to make sure we’re not being mixed up with another courier service – which happens more often than you’d think. If there’s been an issue on our end regarding a wrong delivery address, it has most likely been a simple human error,” Kristiina says. “There is still a surprisingly large amount of manual work involved with sorting letters.”
Since the start of the on-going pandemic, Posti has been dealing with an overwhelming volume of parcels. Due to the limited capacity of pickup points, customer service has been dealing with one particular query on a daily basis: why has my parcel been redirected to a pickup point different from the one I’ve chosen?
“We always prioritise getting the parcel to the recipient as quickly as possible, so packages are directed to the closest pickup point with capacity rather than left to wait,” Kristiina explains. “You can disable this or choose preferred pickup points, for example through OmaPosti.”
A new issue brought forth by the exceptional spring of 2020 has been quarantines – meaning many quarantined recipients have been physically unable to pick up their parcels. This new challenge, among others, has revealed new opportunities to further develop Posti’s services. “We’re unable to redirect parcels to home delivery over the phone because couriers can’t currently charge on delivery,” Kristiina says. “We can direct customers to OmaPosti, but payment through the app can be a challenge for senior citizens who are most affected by the situation. We’re thinking about how these situations could be solved in the future."
Innovation at the grassroots level – literally
We’ve all heard the jokes, delivered in exasperation over a long-awaited letter: are mailmen now too busy cutting grass to actually deliver the mail? Grumbles over Posti’s past experiment in broadening its services were heard loud and clear.
“This one is legendary,” laughs Kristiina. “Posti is a very courageous organization when it comes to trying new things, and somebody saw an opportunity in how Posti reaches millions of people and businesses every day. But of course it wasn’t the same employees cutting grass and delivering mail.
Courage is a priceless asset for any business. Innovation can’t exist without an organizational culture that allows ideas to be developed, tested and yes – sometimes humbly taken back to the drawing board after trial. “Letters keep giving way to parcels. Services and products, such as innovations within OmaPosti, are continuously developed and we keep renewing ourselves,” Kristiina confirms.
While lawn mowing has been removed from the roster, Posti’s innovative culture persists - from field to customer front line. The mission to seek solutions for a nation’s daily life and to create value through change is what makes Posti a treasure trove of possibilities for the organization’s curious minds. And where there is ever an issue, there is always an opportunity beyond making it right: the opportunity to become better.
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