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Figuring out the market value of feedback
As part of the EEX Journey entrepreneurial leadership program, Papula-Nevinpat’s Trademark Department Director Riikka Palmos has been paired up with Finnish startup No No No – a service that turns customer complaints into marketing opportunity.
For many people – if not most – giving feedback in a constructive manner is not easy. One may be afraid to cause offense, or come across as rude. If the feedback is delivered badly, or if the receiving party is not open to it, then the result could be even further deterioration of the subject of the feedback.
Yet feedback is essential to encouragement and improvement. Without feedback, how can the restaurant manager know if the food was delivered to the table cold? Or how can the employee or partner make that small change in behavior that would boost performance, or improve a relationship?
Finnish entrepreneur Jaakko Timonen spotted a business opportunity in all this, so he created No No No: a public complaint-escalation platform that helps businesses turn feedback into testimonials. The company has already done pilot projects in the United States with both JCPenney and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
“I’ve always had a knack for feedback – whether giving or receiving it,” says Timonen. “But the vast majority of people don’t have the guts to say what they really think. No No No gives them an opportunity to do so in a way that can help companies to actually gain from a negative situation.”
Learning together on the EEX Journey
Timonen is now working with Papula-Nevinpat trademark lawyer Riikka Palmos. The two have been paired up as part of the EEX Journey – a program that brings startup entrepreneurs together with experienced executives. Papula-Nevinpat is sending several lawyers and patent attorneys through the program during 2021.
“Papula-Nevinpat is very active on the startup scene. We have many startups as clients and we are part of several startup communities, helping these young companies with IPR issues,” says Palmos. “So the EEX Journey is a very natural way for us to continue this cooperation.”
As part of the EEX Journey model, Palmos sits on a diverse five-person Advisory Board that meets once a month to help No No No. Other leaders come from KONE, OP Helsinki, the Finnish Tax Administration, and Patria. The advisors’ goal is to help the startup while at the same time developing themselves as change makers. As the entrepreneurial growth mindset cannot be taught in a classroom, “learning by doing” is at the core of EEX’s method.
The Advisory Board has recently condensed a one-page business model for No No No, and works on its customer-case studies too. They’ve also been identifying different companies’ pain points and bouncing around ideas on solid value propositions.
The platform for companies to prove their trust
Timonen came up with the idea for No No No in 2014 when he had a potentially injurious experience on a train in Finland (read the article here). He realized then that customers often receive automated responses to complaints, and that handling feedback in a public forum may yield better results – for both parties.
“My vision is for No No No to be a website you can go to for help to resolve any issue with any company. Through our service you will be able to see which companies you can trust based on resolution ratings and reviews from other consumers,” says Timonen. “You go to Trip Advisor to choose a hotel, Yelp for a restaurant, and No No No to assess the trust of a company”.
“When companies handle complaints through our platform, anyone can see the interaction and how the company resolved the complaint. In this way No No No is an opportunity for companies to market themselves based on the quality of their customer service,” he says.
Finding the right revenue model
No No No is still experimenting with the appropriate revenue models for different markets. In the United States, the company has been using a consumer-based business model, but in Finland No No No has had early successes with a campaign-based model. A campaign for Finnish parcel delivery company Matkahuolto was so popular that it was even featured on several local TV, radio and online news channels.
“After two years of selling the No No No service to American companies, I realized that the way corporations behave in Finland is different. So I wanted an advisory board to help me understand the market,” says Timonen.
“The Matkahuolto campaign proved that businesses would benefit from being open and transparent. But the concept requires that the brand really is customer-oriented and courageous – not just in their words, but also their actions. So our plan is to test if we found something repeatable or not.”