Jyri Häkämies: Who are MEE customers?
As sales director for an SME during the recession of the early 1990s, I never had any difficulties in recognising a customer. The customer was the king who brought in the money. I spent a lot of time with customers and urged the entire organisation to do so.
This went to such lengths that I came up with the idea of all employees – accountants, telephone exchange operators and drivers – making three sales visits. They were trained and the results were excellent. Not only because of actual sales, but because everyone understood who the customers were and how important sales work actually is.
It might be worth giving thought to doing the same at the MEE. Who are our customers? Other ministries? Colleagues asking for help or support? For sure, those applying for a mining permit are our customers, as are companies striving to go international and asking for help and support. Or firms who think they have good ideas and seek support from the Ministry, for instance via Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. Could a long-term unemployed person, waiting for a TE Office to offer a suitable job or training that leads to work, be one of our customers?
How do we spend time with these customers? Do we spend too much time in in-house meetings? Do we fill in too many forms and surveys required by the Prime Minister’s Office, for instance?
Would now be the time to analyse our time management and what we spend our time on? Everyone could also consider issues that prevent us from focussing on customers.
I would be pleased to get feedback on this issue. What could the Ministry management do in this respect? What kinds of futile administrative matters prevent us from spending time with customers? Please feel free to comment.
Minister of Economic Affairs