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Service Innovation and Design – Help me help you …

November 30th, 2011 Comments off

Service Innovation - Help me help youRecognizing co-production as the core concept of service innovation leads service providers to rich deposits of waste, the extraction of which adds tremendous value to a customer relationship.  And, failing to recognize the interdependence leads to suboptimal solutions.

When providing a service, whether B2B or B2C, we too often view the flow of activity as simply going one way.  In actuality, there is a constant flow of information and activity in both directions as you and your customer move along the continuum of operations that deliver the ultimate job.  This is especially true in B2B businesses that have another end consumer to a co-produced good or service.

Too often we give the notion of this relationship a friendly nod but fail to incorporate it into our work.  We fail to respect this interdependence because we all look for control in our work.  The introduction of the notion of reliance on the interrelationship with our customer brings a highly uncontrollable input.  We have a difficult time telling the person to whom or entity to which we are attempting to satisfy a need that we need something from them.

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a short .ppt dealing with tollgate reviews in the service design process …

Service Innovation - Customer RequirementsBut as iconic movie star Tom Cruise, while playing sports agent Jerry McGuire, says to Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Rod Tidwell, playing his client, “Help Me Help You”.  It was when Jerry McGuire recognized the interdependence between his actions and his clients that success accrued to both of them.  Your clients’ actions as your partner may be uncontrollable but they remain undeniable.  And when they are recognized, great opportunities open to provide more value and earn more profit by capturing a portion of it themselves.

The first step in recognizing this co-production is to give it visibility.  The best way to do this is with various mapping activities.  You can value stream map the overall process, including both the service provider and clients’ activities.  This can be pursued further with customer mapping.  Another alternative is to perform service blueprinting, which specifically focuses on a service provider’s interactions with its customers.

For a further discussion on how to identify the interrelationships between you and your customer’s co-production so as to add value to your customer and capture value for your company, please contact me.

Service Innovation Points of Differentiation

November 15th, 2011 1 comment

Service Innovation for DifferentiationA service provider seeking to grow by innovating new services must have a competitive advantage versus existing service providers, whether internal or external, when positioning new services. In services, with its low barriers to entry, it’s not good enough to simply say I’m the largest. And when perceived quality is the final measure it is also not good enough to say I’m the cheapest. A service provider must be able to provide a good value for the best work. And to meet that sort of test, it must design processes to do jobs and achieve outcomes better than whoever is doing them today.

Service and/or process design is a core capability that can be built. With stronger process design, companies can offer better deliverables at a lower price. If gaining scale is one of the service designers goals, process design can produce more scalable services since an element of scalability is consistency which can be enhanced with better process design. Process design is also an easier core capability to develop than many others because it can be contained in a small group of people that are leveraged across an entire organization. It is the service business equivalent of an R&D function whose output is leveraged by manufacturing, sales, marketing and distribution.

It is also the building of such a capability that can be promoted to change a company’s brand image. Many equipment manufacturers provide services in conjunction with equipment sales. However, they are still viewed by their clients, employees and, most importantly, customers as equipment makers. If the vision is to move from being an equipment maker, with all its inherent cycles, to a service provider that has greater stability and growth, expertise is designing and executing services is a key roadmap.

Download service innovation a short .ppt on service innovation ….

In a previous post, I wrote how service innovation is different from service excellence. The latter requires knowledge of your processes while the former requires you to know your client’s and/or competitor’s processes. I also wrote how even though you must have service excellence to establish the credibility to be given the opportunity to provide new services, expertise in delivery isn’t a guarantee to be able to define and design solutions that ensure better outcomes. This article adds that one of the two basis on which you can differentiate yourself as a service provider is to design better solutions.

If you’d like to speak more about this, feel free to contact me.

Service Innovation and Service Delivery – Together but Apart ….

November 11th, 2011 1 comment

Service innovation and Service Delivery ExcellenceService organizations must grow by offering new solutions to customer needs.  The trust needed for a consumer of services to buy a new offering is obviously highly dependent on their perception of the service quality they are experiencing on current services.  If the customer has issues with service delivery on existing services, it is no surprise there will be a lack of confidence in buying new services.  However, service delivery excellence, while critical to successfully expanding new services, is a different capability from service innovation.

Successful service innovation depends on (i) defining unmet VOC for which the customer has not contracted as they currently are doing it themselves or have other vendors doing it and (ii) the ability to design better processes as measured by the customer than the customer or an existing third party provider can design.  Service delivery is about executing against customer expectations on existing contracts and internal processes.    Improving service delivery is about understanding the service provider’s processes.  Succeeding with new services about understanding the customer’s or a third parties processes.

Download service innovation a short overview of our service innovation approach ….

Never assume excellent service delivery ensures the ability to define, design and deliver new services.  In the end, the muscle tissue a service organization builds by improving service delivery will improve perception for new services but not necessarily the ability to define, design and deliver new services or to innovate. Service innovation must be addressed separately from Service delivery.  The upside of building service innovation ability is that if the service provider succeeds it will be able to extend beyond providing existing services.

If you’d like to speak more about this, feel free to contact me.