Living services – flexing around the ‘customer as operating system’

Mark Curtis

Diginomica: This is the second of a two-part series in which Fjord’s Chief Client Officer Mark Curtis discusses the emergence of Living Services, the next era of digital evolution. In this piece, he focuses on the opportunities and challenges Living Services pose for organizations.

The first challenge is the age-old one of knowing your customer, says Curtis:

“Data is absolutely essential to understanding your customer better than anyone else understands your customers. This is the key strategic pivot.

Knowing your customer is not only about data, but also about quality and ethnographic research as well. Clients are saying ‘we do need to understand our clients in detail’. It can’t all be extracted from data, some of it has to be insight-driven as well. Knowing your customer is about a combination of the data and about insights and observing your customer as well.

I ran a start-up with millions of customers and remember looking at the data and wondering what it might. Typically I could see patterns in the data but didn’t know why they were there. The way to understand why they were there was to go to the head of our customer care team. Every single time he would say, because he’d been on the phone to customers, ‘This is what’s going on’. Nine times out of ten he was exactly right.”

This essential data element reaches out to the design principles themselves, with Curtis suggesting that Living Services are as much of a challenge to designers as they are to organizations:

“The facility to work with data will be a primary requisite for all designers going forward. They will have to be able to think about data and they will have to be able to think about data in a number of different contexts. That’s not just data visualization. It is also about thinking about data when you are creating a service.

It’s also, most importantly, about creating a service with data points that can be gathered while the service is live. Only by creating that flow of data out of the service can you then begin to understand the customer context, feed it back into the service and change the service in real time. So data really lies at the heart of living services.

From a design perspective, this is like moving from sheet music to jazz. That’s a major change for a musician; it’s a major change for the way we think about products and services together.”

To read entire article, please click here.

Mark Curtis

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