Monday, February 22, 2010

New methods, new services

In order to get development to current services, does everything new need to be developed with something new? What´s the value of experience and old school research nowdays when you have social media to collect information directly from customers? Why would any company need to change the way they collect information?

It´s been stated that in order to get better results and increase customer value, companies need to develop closer customer relationships. These relationships are fostered by learning from customer needs and acting on that knowledge. In order to serve customers better there is a need for better and more innovative services. More traditional research such as interviews and surveys are a good way of collecting data, but there´s more available.

In order to get more innovative services you need to involve the customer to the process. More traditional research methods are a logical source of market data, but in order to find latent customer needs and get more innovative ideas, you should work with developing the services with your customers. Let them try and use your service at a real environment, observe and ask them how they use it and what thoughts they have while using it.

This form of customer involvement may bring input and advantages to various functions of the organization, from new service development and design to marketing and processes. It also serves improving organizational learning capabilities.

Limitations? Implementation is everything. A plan is not enough. You need to show attitude, test, try, evaluate, understand, act upon results – and do again. Few supporting techniques are available but best asset is faith in customer knowledge and pressure from the market to improve services to get a better competitive advantage. Systemacy brings a logical continuum of ideas for further improvements.

What´s in it for customers? Better service and education. For companies – competitive advantage through reduced time to market, improved functionalities, process, solutions, better employee motivation and organizational capabilities or profitability.

And utilization of social media? Yes, if that environment brings out relevant data of the usage or a platform through which you can easily communicate on the service.

Hanna Viita
Sources: Matthing, Sandén, Edvardsson:
New service development: learning from and with customers
Jayasimha, Nargundkar and Murugaiah:
New service development: role of customer contact executives