SN4Mobile has several competitors in the mobile survey sector, one of which is giant Questback. But Jukka Hyttinen, SN4Mobile’s young CEO, sees the major threat to be elsewhere. “I would say the biggest competitor is thinking,” he says. “Companies tend to think about efficiency and costs in management but concentrate on customers mainly once or twice a year. This is the thinking we need to change.”
Hyttinen conceptual approach to the market reflects SN4Mobile’s dedication to leading-edge technology, in a mission to corner the market in optimizing companies’ customer services offerings. Its concepts and systems have helped customers in a wild variety of industries, from automotive to energy, retail to air traffic control. SN4Mobile currently serves customers in the Nordic states, Baltic region and Russia.
SN4Mobile is located in the Finnish city of Espoo, the country’s second-largest and just 19km from the capital, Helsinki. It has a revenue of around $1 million, and has been collecting some of the continent’s most prestigious awards. Last year the company was voted one of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Finland 2013 Rising Stars. And this term it became one of 21 Finnish outfits to make the Red Herring Top 100 Europe in Amsterdam.
Among the cornerstones of SN4Mobile’s business is the fact that 86% of customers would pay more for a better customer experience. Combine that with the longstanding adage that one satisfied customer tells five people about his or her experience – a statistic that can be multiplied infinitely in the social media age – and it becomes clear why a growing number of firms are turning to SN4Mobile for its electronic solutions “in all phases of the customer life cycle.” These include models for marketing, sales and customer service.
“What makes us different is that we don’t provide software for surveys but management,” says Hyttinen. The traditional way of doing IT is giving a company a software that they will then figure out how to use. We have knowledge, competence and know-how to guide our customer how to measure customer experience, what to measure and how to turn the information into development of personnel and organization’s functions and processes.
“Our customers gain results,” he adds. “Last year 80% of our customers improved their customer experience on average by 19%. If you consider that monetary-wise, that kind of increase is quite often equal to resolution rates in customer service or hit-rate in sales. Depending on the company size, 19% increase is a lot of money.”
SN4Mobile, Hyttinen is quick to assert, has never received funding from private investors. Instead, the company got a small initial boost upon its foundation in 2002 from TEKES, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, in the form of a loan. Now that loan has been paid back, and the company is funded by its positive cash flows. In fact Hyttinen is rather critical of the European venture capital market, which he feels is hampered by a lack of risk-taking.
“We have never had funding from private investors,” he says. “I would say that finding the right VC seems quite challenging in Europe, especially when you start a business. Later receiving funding becomes easier but then it’s a question of relevance and if taking venture capital seems the right way of backing up the growth for a business.”
With awards and customers in the bank, Hyttinen is planning this year to expand SN4Mobile’s reach throughout its existing markets, and perhaps to move into new European regions. Globalization, he feels, will dictate which markets the company enters in force: “I expect the voice of customer markets to grow especially within the industries where global competition arises and new means are needed to ensure customer loyalty.”
Then, the next step is for SN4Mobile to be made a truly international outfit. It’s something that Hyttinen thinks his brand can achieve, and something he is relishing the opportunity to try: “My personal plan is and ambition is to internationalize the company. That I can see as a great and really interesting challenge.”