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Q&A: Sami Hero, Chief Operating Officer, HappyOrNot

Sami Hero joined HappyOrNot as Chief Operating Officer on April 2018 and moved to Finland from the United States. He manages the entire spectrum of Operations… View Article


Q&A: Sami Hero, Chief Operating Officer, HappyOrNot

Sami Hero joined HappyOrNot as Chief Operating Officer on April 2018 and moved to Finland from the United States. He manages the entire spectrum of Operations including Marketing. 

What does your company do? / What is your USP?

We enable companies to become better for their customers and employees by leveraging their feedback data and turning them into actionable insights.

What’s special about the platform and your approach?

A simple yet very effective way to capture your customer’s emotions at any point of experience. Our famous smileys allow for maximum collection of feedback data. These are then converted to real-time analytics which can be easily broken down by time and location. In short, with HappyOrNot you know when and where something went right or wrong so you can immediately address it and better understand the trends in your operations.

How does a product/service implementation actually look like and how do you measure success?

Implementation is as easy as 1,2,3. Both our physical terminals and Smiley Digital super easy to setup. They are supported with detailed instructions developed from our customer support team. The reporting is prepared beforehand, so upon delivery, our smileys products are ready to be used immediately.

How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage and what does best practice look like?

Retailers aim to use our smiley products at every experience touchpoint, either that being online or at their brick-and-mortar. By doing so, they have a holistic view of what works and what they can optimise. The recipe for success is when there is clear communication from the executives on the goals of the smileys.

Probably the best practice we have seen is when employers utilise our product’s reporting and insights when setting their employee’s targets or KPIs. We have seen that by doing so, front-line employees care more about the customer’s experience than they ever did before.

What advantage does it add?

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated and if their experience is bad, 91% simply leave and never come back.

From a customer’s perspective, being able to provide feedback easily at the point of the experience is invaluable and our products are a great way to give a voice to your customers. From the retailer’s perspective, you’re being given the opportunity to convert a negative experience into a positive by adopting a proactive approach! In addition, retailers can also test concepts and learn rapidly what is working from customer’s perspective. For example, we have some retailers that utilise HappyOrNot to do multivariate testing in physical stores. This was nearly impossible in the past, where they were reserved to only receiving feedback online.

What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2020 / What challenges are retailers facing in 2020?

2020 can be defined as the year of uncertainty, especially for the UK. With Brexit and the current outbreak, it is completely understandable that companies are in a state of shock. We can see that many important things are being put on hold as companies build their business continuity plans.

What we are anticipating is that customer experience management will experience a dramatic increase in the next months. Now more than ever it is highly important for companies to focus on their customers and continuously understand and improve their experience. It is also essential for companies to share their results and work in better defining customer expectations.

How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?

Companies need to ensure customer centricity, so they won’t further harm their business. As people are now easier to find online, our Smiley Digital can help businesses still listen to their customers wherever they sit. It is a great way to add a personal touch while giving a voice to all your online visitors. By adopting an omnichannel approach, you can optimise your operations regardless of the customer’s preferred channel of engagement – whether it’s in a brick & mortar or online.

What is on the horizon for you as a company?

Our core focus is on developing and advancing even further our products and analytics offerings. We recently launched real-time collaboration – an advanced, yet easy-to-use, frontline engagement solution. We expect that our attention in the following months will turn greatly to our digital solution, the Smiley Digital. This will be to support companies who are turning their focus to the digital side of things, either because their customers are there or because their employees are working remotely.

Any final thoughts?

We are experiencing an undoubtedly challenging 2020. We believe it is now more important than ever, for companies to provide a space for their employees and customers to express their emotions.


Before joining HappyOrNot Sami had a long global career spanning the United States, Canada, France, UK, Sweden and Finland, and was Global Vice President of Customer Experience & Engagement at Wolters Kluwer Health. He has a degree in Industrial Economy, Psychology & Management from Helsinki University of Technology, and completed executive education programs at the Harvard Business School, Instead and the London Business School.

Contact Details:

HappyOrNot Ltd: Offices in Tampere, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and operating globally.
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