What can Clas teach us about Experience thinking?

Transformation and Automation Blogg

What can Clas teach us about Experience thinking?

Now by Clas I mean Clas Ohlson - the Swedish high street chain. So this is my story of how I went to hire a drill and realised how far many companies are from customer experience thinking.



It's Saturday morning. I have two hexagonal mirrors leaning up against a wall in the hallway. It's time to get them up and hanging, from dust collectors to functional accessories. The weekend prior I had been at a friend's christening and understood through the casual conversations that followed, that Clas Ohlson hard started hiring tools. Great! no need to splash out 2500kr on a hammer drill I will probably use once or at best twice. So off I trundled to Clas Ohlson (just a 5 min walk from my apartment).

Sadly already it was here the service experience was lacking. I looked online for any mention of such a "hire service" but came up short. Nadda. Not a thing. Maybe it wasn't true after all? Of course I could phone the shop - but it's 2018 - who does that anymore? No I behave like all other young modern consumers (ok I'm 40 so technically I'm not young. But if I was to die tomorrow people would probably say I died young so that's good enough for me) - if it's not online then it doesn't exist. So not only was there no mention of the service, there was no app to book the drill either. I really was rolling the digital dice of fate. Still the thought of driving to Bauhaus (a DIY shop - who incidentally have copied their price policy from Arlanda airport) was a pain I was not prepared to endure. Clas Ohlson it was. It was a sunny day, and a platform visionary gets his best ideas when he is just thinking.

At Clas Ohlson I was met by friendly service, and they quickly confirmed the truth of the rumours. They did indeed hire tools. A quick completion of a paper form (yep no digital here) and a few minutes later I was walking back home with drill in hand. Right let's get to work! Oh wait - no drill bits. This is a SQS-plus drill. I don't have those. Back I go to the shop. "There aren't any drill bits" - "No. You need to buy those." Jaha. Now you tell me. So another 80kr and I am once again wondering back down the road. Drill bit in hand, safe in the knowledge this drill bit will probably never see daylight again. This time thinking about how this happened, how Clas Ohlson haven't understood customer experience thinking at all. You see the crux of the matter is...


I didn't want a drill. I wanted a hole in the wall.


So what can we learn from Clas Ohlson. Quite a lot actually...

  • No E2E experience thinking. They thought about products, not about solutions. Their thinking was internal not about the consumer experience.
  • Imagine how different it would be with an experience thinking hat on: I would have been able to book the drill via an app. I could have signed in with BankID and therefore no need for paper signatures. During the booking process they could have offered me the opportunity to hire drill bits and even overalls. Easy up-sell. When I got the drill it should have included a user guide. An experts guide to drilling holes. Perhaps I didn't even need to stand in line to hand it back either.
  • Companies just aren't thinking service. This type of digital service could be have so easily been done by Clas Ohlson. But it stopped in the boardroom with - "lets hire out our tools". They opened themselves up for any of their competitors to come along and do it better, instantly. Suddenly what was a good idea, was pointless. Everyone goes somewhere else. Generation Z wouldn't even bother. An entire customer base who isn't experienced in wall drilling who aren't even going to consider your service.
  • It is not enough just to be polite or have a good product. The drill was great by the way, it drilled two holes in a concrete wall with consummate ease. Would I go back to Clas Ohlson, no probably not. I'll take my business to a better experience.

All companies can learn a lot from Clas. It's time to move from Customer Service to Customer Experience. Put yourselves in the shoes of the customer for every service you offer. What do those interactions look like? are they pleasant or painful? overly complicated or effortless?

What is your customer experience strategy?


//Elliot West


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