- Category: September 2012 - Performance Marketing
In order to stand out from the crowd of identical or similar offers, companies have to perform their best and be outstanding. The basis for their extraordinary performance should be continuous development of new values and services for their clients. In other words, the future role of fruitful marketing is to put the customer at the center of development.
Indeed, a company's success arises only when its thoughts and actions, the so-called corporate culture, are geared methodically and exclusively to the ongoing creation of specific customer values. This requires, on one hand, traditional marketing activities, like the collection and management of information about customers, competitors and other key market influencers, and on the other hand, the development of the service design that plays a crucial role nowadays.
Service design can be described as a process that includes the development of the essential elements of a service, the delivery by the company and the related communication between company and customers. Core objective is to provide user-friendly, competitive and relevant service to the customers and to improve the quality of service as well as the interaction between service provider and customers by understanding consumers’ behavior, their needs and motivations.
To achieve all that, service designers draw on the methodologies of fields such as ethnography and journalism to gather customer insights through interviews and by shadowing service users. Tools used, generally aim at producing a blueprint of the service that describes the nature and characteristics of the interaction in the service, including service scenarios or case studies that illustrate the detail of time sequences in a service encounter. Both techniques are already used in software and systems engineering to capture the functional requirements of a system. However, when used in service design, they have been adequately adapted to include more information, concerning material and immaterial components of a service, time sequences and physical flows. It is simply that before products or services are brought to market, they go through different development stages in the field of marketing and service design, similar to technological development. But because of the need to communicate the inner mechanisms of services to clients that are not supposed to be familiar with any technical language or representation techniques, extremely good representation is critical. For this reason storyboards are often used to illustrate the interaction on the front office or techniques to illustrate the system of interactions or a “platform” in a service. Recently, video sketching and video prototypes have also been used to produce quick and effective tools to stimulate customers’ participation in the development of the service and their involvement in the value production process. Only if the service is perfectly designed for the customer, the product development process is complete.
Consequently, while the customer gets relevant and reliable performance through good service design, the company attains adequate revenue, customer satisfaction and long-term success.
Still, you have to make sure that there is no discrepancy between intention and customer service reality, so keep in mind the basics of marketing, namely that products deliver what they promise. You can imagine that when a company spends a lot of money to promote a service that does not actually take place, the disaster is preprogrammed in the dual sense, as the brand suffers both customers and potential prospects. Anyway, the main objective of the service design is customer satisfaction, thus, the nature and purpose of the service should be designed to meet customer requirements optimally. Not to mention that satisfied customers are generally known the best.
Fact is that service design is becoming, next to marketing, an integral part of the commercialization activities of any company. Today’s customers are very well informed and know exactly what they want. Therefore, companies win and retain these "enlightened" clients only through relevant product innovations, a very practical marketing plan and pinpointed service design. If you embed this values triad in your corporate culture, you won’t have any problems to remain permanently successful on the market.
By Daniela La Marca