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Lessons from Lego Group

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Your smartest people don’t work in your company 

Conny Kalcher, Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Experiences, recalls how one of their adult fans became so angry that he actually contacted the owner of LEGO Group, Kjeld Kirk, and their CEO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. The customer asked how LEGO could be so indifferent to the fact that he had cancelled an order, and why hadn’t they even asked him why he had cancelled?

Customers are being listened to and the quality of their experiences at the various LEGO touchpoints are being measured.

LEGO Group is today such a showcase example that they are referenced again and again by the founder of NPS®, Fred Reichheld, in his book, The Ultimate Question 2.0.

The LEGO Group is also working intensively to engage their many adult LEGO fans (AFOLS’s). They have even developed a special ambassador program with 105 ambassadors in 35 counties, each with their own LEGO User Groups (LUGS) representing more than 200.000 members.

Conny Kalcher continues: “Our consumer focus has become much sharper as a part of the turnaround we had. As it turns out, we weren’t good enough at understanding our consumers in that period, so we pursued our own strategic plans, without listening to the children.

“It has certainly been a part of our turnaround story, that we are currently far more outside in today than we’ve ever been. There were some very distinct buttons we had to turn to create that transformation. A consumer perspective also helps to create change internally in the company: making something excellent for the consumer is a great beacon to navigate towards. So when you are in a process of change, it is a really great thing to bring into the game.

“Our founder, Ole Kirk Christiansen, was always very customer-orientated. It’s part of our inheritance. He said, ‘Only the best is good enough.’ When he introduced it, he knew that if we made high-quality toys, then the consumer would spread the word and this in turn would become our marketing machine. We also believe that the only way to create growth and success is by understanding the consumers on a deep level, and delivering what they ask for.

“We lost our way during the economic crisis. We believed our brand was strong enough to save us. We lost focus on our consumers’ core needs: what five to nine-year-old boys want, and then what the girls wanted, to have a good experience. During the crisis, we spent a lot of energy getting back to what is the core experience that they want, and how can we deliver it and constantly improve it? This has been the path to success for us during our turnaround process.

“Another challenge was that we had simply become too large for our own good and were no longer able to clearly see where we were creating value and where we were not creating value. We went in too many different directions because we forgot that we have a core, our bread and butter, that we must never lose focus of. We can do other things around that core, but if we lose the core, then we can no longer create growth.”