Although we are now in the “Amazon era”, in many sectors companies still have a traditional approach to customer relations, based on a reactive customer services and traditional communication channels (e.g. fax, telephone, …), that is clearly not effective nor efficient.
To deal with digital customers, companies must turn into a “Customer Company”, able to put the customer at the center of their world and adapt their internal organization and processes accordingly.
Companies must then rethink their approach to Customer Service through a transformation of the way services are offered and delivered, in order to meet customers’ needs and anticipate ever faster changes in customer expectations.
But how to design this transformation process? Where to begin?
Based on our experience, a paradigm shift is needed:
- Focus on a “persona” instead of on a generic customer – thinking to a specific person can help identify the real problems that your customer is facing in everyday life and work. Ask yourself: “Who is him/her? What are his/her values and priorities? What are the problems he/she faces every day?”
- From long term benefits to instant gratification: in the digital era, people are used to find immediate solution to all their problems: if you need to know something, you Google it; if you want to see a movie, you just logon on a streaming platform; if you need to buy something, you go on Amazon and it arrives the next day. Customers cannot expect days to see a perceived need satisfied. Companies need to find quick win solution to meet their customers’ expectations
- Dare to go “beyond the current needs”: the most effective innovations have brought solutions to problems not yet perceived: did you know that the most used smart-phone app is the torch? When the torch app was launched, for sure it was not in the top of mind of any of us. Digital solutions can be really disruptive and change customer behaviors beyond current needs
- From rigid to agile environment: evolution is going so fast that is not anymore possible to make a long-term plan and foresee all possible background evolutions. An agile approach is more effective and consists in starting with a short-term plan and adapting and extending the plan day by day, week by week: think about weekly updates of mobile apps, they are improved based on customers’ feedback
Companies therefore need to develop future oriented solutions that can be released in a short-term period, to avoid the risk to deploy something that is already obsolete.
But how to identify solutions that are immediately implementable and that meet everyone’s consent?
We developed and successfully applied the “Customer Service Innovation Day” based on Hackathon methodology and tailored through our approach.
Participants with different background and roles, interacting in many ways with the customer, work in groups helped by facilitators and challenged by digital hackers. Groups are guided through a structured path starting from the profiling of the “persona=customer” and the identification of his/her pains and needs, going on to the identification of innovative ideas, ending with the development of prototypes that are presented and voted.
Customer Service Innovation Day helped different companies to improve their relations with their Key Customers through the identification of innovative ideas and the fast development of prototypes in a stimulating environment.
It can be applied to all the companies, organizations or situations in which the relation with the customer (internal or external) is crucial for the business effectiveness.
Which are the benefits?
- Fast development of innovative solutions tailored on customer needs
- Internal and external visibility of the team/company who organizes the event
- Employees motivation, empowerment and commitment
- Talent selection: observing the behavior of employees in team working occasion, can help identify new talents
- Awareness on common needs: putting together people from different company units can help info circulation and the identification of needs that have been already perceived from different actors