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Hymy feedback service is a driver for Kesko’s strategy

Published in Business

Written by

Tommi Laitila
Chief Technology Officer


March 1, 2017 · 4 min read time

Hymy is Kesko’s modern, omni-channel feedback service that collects and processes customer feedback. Together with Nitor, Kesko created a cloud based system that drives the customer experience and continuous development for the whole K-Group. Hymy was launched in August 2016.

Hymy is a modern, omni-channel customer feedback service 

Feedback service Hymy opens a dialogue between the customers and retailers and directly supports Kesko in developing its strategy in customer experience. 


More than a million daily customers require a scalable solution 

Kesko has an impressive customer base: everyday, around 1.2 million people visit its stores. Striving for world class customer experience, Kesko needed a scalable solution that can receive and automatically process feedback – making replying easier for Kesko retailers. With Hymy, a digital omni-channel dialogue was opened between Kesko’s customers and its retailers. 

Hymy processes vast amounts of feedback automatically 

The microservice-based architecture provides a reliable and resilient system. Hymy collects and processes customer messages from numerous platforms. The feedback is automatically directed to the correct recipient inside the K-Group, enabling a significantly faster communication loop.  

A trading sector pioneer Kesko 

K Group, formed by Kesko and its retailers, operates in the grocery trade, in the building and technical trade and in the car trade. K Group offers a seamless customer experience with extensive digital services and some 1,800 stores in Finland, Nordics, and the Baltics. 

A resilient and business critical solution 

Cloud guarantees scalability 

Hymy’s microservice architecture is realiable and resilient. The cloud based solution is perfectly suitable for a business critical system that has many dependencies.  

Hymy is built with open source technologies such as The Spring Framework, which provides a comprehensive programming and configuration model for modern Java-based enterprise applications. Java framework nFlow was used for managing workflows and orchestrating business processes. 

Hymy is built with modern UI technologies 

Hymy is built with modern UI technologies like React. Customers can access Hymy feedback form from multiple sources in the web or in app. Hymy can support specific situations and contexts. The system includes multiple APIs for collecting feedbacks and related attachments. 

The internal view is mobile optimized. The dashboard allows Kesko users to reply to messages in thread or analyze the overall feedback more closely. It also includes an admin view that has organisation-level analytics tools.  

Designed simplicity for on-the-go feedback 

The system behind Hymy may be complex, but the service need not be. Hymy is fully accessible and unnecessary user flow steps have been removed. The internal side of Hymy is designed and built mobile first, which enables faster on-the-go replies from the field. 

Everybody wins in human-centric design 

Hymy has also improved the daily work of the Kesko retailers. All the messages and feedback they have received are stored in one place, and can be replied to on-the-go.  

The team worked in close collaboration with K Group’s different stakeholders to ensure Hymy creates value for all important user groups. Service design methods were used to align common goals and increase visibility between different stakeholders.  

Hymy’s ability to process a variety of feedback sources and attachments was prioritized. Now – instead of toiling with a system – the retailer can focus on serving the customer.  

The agile team created a frequent feedback loop 

The agile development team 

Nitor worked close collaborations with Kesko’s experts. Stakeholders such as store managers were kept in the loop to ensure the Hymy matches their needs.   

Service design aligned goals   

The project kicked off with a strong service design focus to make sure we are creating value for the user. Design iterations and improvements in Hymy are based on user testing findings.  

Continuous deployment creates rapid incremental value 

Hymy’s beta version was released five months after the development started. Continuous deployment generated a feedback loop and testing in real environment.  

Prototyping set design and development to right path 

Early on, the team created multiple prototypes to validate and enhance the concept. User tests and interviews were used as a basis for the MVP scope. Frequent feedback loop ensured we were creating the product for a real customer need. For example, the busy retailers appreciate that with Hymy, they can process feedback on the go with any device. 

5,000 % increase in digitally collected feedback 

Between 2015 and 2017 the amount of digitally collected feedback has increased over 5000 %. The response time has shortened by 50 % when comparing 2017 and 2016. In 2017, Kesko received over one million feedback messages out of which around 10 % was open feedback. Dialogue is a bridge to successful customer experience. Retailers can make data-driven improvements and the customer has a sense of impact. Kesko also notes that the amount of positive comments from customers have been a pleasant surprise.  


Kesko's feedback numbers 

1,2 Million 

Daily grocery store customers 

1 Million 

Amount of feedback during 2017 


Amount of digitally collected feedback 

Hymy is a world class customer insight software. 

Johanna Kontio 

Senior Vice President 


Hymy offers insight from customer experience to strategy 

Customer feedback is essential for the development of customer experience. Hymy provides insights on different levels starting from an individual customer and store specific reports, all the way to chain and group levels and therefore supporting the whole K-Group in its strategy work.  

Written by

Tommi Laitila
Chief Technology Officer