It takes more than two to tango

You don’t need to break down the silo’s, you need to let them work together. For me, that is the accelerator needed for creating value and an excellent customer experience on one hand and innovation and change in doing business on the other.

Last time we outlined the Service Design approach, which consists of seven phases. In this blog, we will dive deeper into the value of this approach.

Real Customer Centricity and the end of Resistance

We all have assumptions about a lot of things. Why not just simply ask our customers and each other to find out what is really going on. Make a real effort to truly understand each other to be able to create new ideas and solve challenges. Do this by changing your perspective, immerse yourself in empathy and work together. This way of working is called design thinking. And you know what? Using this process automatically creates a shift towards real customer centricity and organizational buy-in without you realizing it! People don’t feel they are asked to change something. The change happens along the way in the process. It does not feel like something that must be done but more like something that comes naturally and you want to get done. Isn’t that great!

Service Design Thinking, in brief

At the heart of Design for Services is the application of Systems Thinking. What is going on end to end? What does the customer need, feel or is afraid of? How does he go about it? In this first phase: alignment, you focus on really understanding the needs and motives of your customers. A few examples of tools to use are: drawing up empathy/stakeholder/persona maps, a business canvas model, value proposition canvasses and customer journeys. The next step is determining the challenge, generate ideas and make low fidelity prototypes to validate with customers. And finally, we prioritize, set up actionable roadmaps and blueprint the nitty gritty to design for improvement and to create customer value.

Working together is key

Key in this approach and working with these tools is to work with customers and in cross organizational/functional teams. You don’t need to break down the silo’s, you need to let them work together. Make sure the customer is sitting at the very heart by involving at least all customer interacting and insights departments. It is most valuable to go through all the stages together. This can be a challenge. Everybody is always busy and to free up resources to join a set of time consuming events can be a big hurdle to overtake. It is an option to spread activities over time since change and innovation is a process and takes time. You can use time to your advantage. Besides this, going through the process together attributes to getting to the same level of customer understanding. It is important to be at the same level of customer understanding to start moving into new directions. This can sometimes feel intense since you need to align, engage and discuss a lot with different people before you really hit the right string, pick up speed and feel the new flow of energy and fun.

The Design Thinking process has its ups and downs so prepare the future ambassadors for this way of working, for the roller coaster ride coming up! If this way of working is new in an organization it takes courage, commitment and belief to just do it! As an ambassador of this way of working, you spread your belief to others by onboarding them on this journey. They will become believing ambassadors by being part of this process, by doing. This way of working is really satisfying because you are focusing 100% on your challenge. Your dedicated time and effort is well spent.

In summary, the design thinking approach is promoting working together with customers and between organizational silo’s. It is intense and feels like a roller coaster at times but in the end results in ideas and solutions for change much quicker and more valuable for your customers and your organization. Be persistent in keeping the cross disciplinary team together and keep working together. This way you will be able to really create value for your customers and improve their experiences with your brand.

Oxyma has embraced this way of working. You want to go through this experience and create value for your customers send me a message and we will consider what we can do for you.

Karen Pot – Consultant @Oxyma, a Merkle company, passionate about delivering customer value and experience by applying Service Design Thinking.

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