Making a Service Design Breakthrough – the 10 questions to address

Fjord Family

We believe the reward for great service design is the connection of organisations with customers to create value for both. At Fjord, we do this everyday through what we call ‘breakthrough‘ projects.

Why ‘breakthrough’? Well, todays service delivery landscapes are not only noisy and intertwined, but organisationally muti-facetted. By ‘breaking through’, we aim to move businesses rapidly through this misty and rapidly shifting terrain, by creating ultimate clarity of everything that services are built upon – the market, the organisational brand, a business case, routes to market, operating model, and more.

As such, our engagements typically start by delivering a breakthrough set of artefacts and tangible prototypes that not only visualise a service proposition, but address un-traditionally diverse but serious questions that may stop it becoming a reality.

1. Opportunities in multichannel
Q. What opportunities exist for your organisation to connect with customers in new ways through a multichannel service environment?
This is a question that affects most organisations, including governments. Over the past few years, The UK government has been developing a multi channel delivery of its services via an internal ‘startup’ called the Government Digital Service 

2. Disrupters
Q. Which start ups or other industries are cannibalising your business? What is the sustainable strategy for competing?
UK Bank Barclays identified how the Digital Payments startup industry would offer a great service to consumers, leaving open an opportunity for shifting their attention away from establish banks. They responded with Ping, which had a transformative effect with the established banking brands

3. Trends
Q. Which consumer, technology, or business modeling trends affect how the organisation conducts its business? 
When Skype was launched, it offered FREE audio and video through a computer. This was one of the services that kick started the ‘freemium’ business model, a major software business model disruptor that is still prevalent.

4. Customer insight
Q. Where do customers assign the most value to & what criteria do they use to compare the market?
Paypal knew for years what consumers valued; getting in and out of an online shop ASAP. They placed their faith in the insight of how customers compared the market of payment methods, and developed a winning proposition that has disrupted this traditional market.

5. Brand
Q. How will the organisation’s brand behave coherently across multiple touchpoints?
Although the BBC’s iPlayer pervades across multiple platforms and contexts, there’s always a consistent pattern of behavior of the service, exemplified in the iPlayer ‘play’ logo. It’s a branded component that offers confidence in not only in the service itself, but also in how to use it. multichannel brand also means multichannel usability.

6. Marketing
Q. How do consumers discover the service? How can your service be self-promoting? What’s your ‘network effect’?
In the world of Startups, the ‘network effect’ is one of the most valuable ways of gaining customers. Draw something and other asynchronous games  building an entire mobile games around this effect. Players can only play with those who they invite from their network, exploiting the exponential opportunities of the network.

7. User Experience
Q. How are customers supported when moving between touchpoints?
Along with DropBox and Microsoft Exchange, Evernote is one of the leading ‘cloud’ services, on a mission to provide a customer experience that in a few years time will be as taken for granted as a remote control for a TV. Providing a liquid experience in this way offers value in itself: confidence in the security of personal data, and the peace of mind that it is accessible from anywhere.

8. Technology operation
Q. How is the organisation set up to develop and deliver services that have the potential to lead the market?
After several months of work to overhaul their payroll system, General Motors decided to measure wastage on the project. They found major flaws in the project planning process, which lead to major changes in how their development operation ran. It resulted in something that is prevalent today in technology circles: The Agile methodology.

9. Strategy
Q. How can the multichannel and technology strategy be shaped to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future?
When Amazon first imagined the Kindle, it was a proprietary device, effectively providing a walled garden to their published content. Then the market of smartphones and tablets exploded, forcing Amazon to shift direction, open their doors, and offer their content on any device consumers wish to use. The result? Access to a far greater market who value what Amazon do best; digital content.

10. Sustainability & growth
Q. How can the business case be enhanced – and how will success be measured?
When Pearson Education measured consumer spend on text books, they realised they were in a race to the bottom. This lead to a revolutionary shift in their proposition and an enhancement of their business case. They began offering a flexible rights management model, enabling institutions to purchase granular parts of a text, rather than the entire publication. And with it, a major shift in technology operation.

As you can see, the questions cover the broad spectrum of how organisations are set up to deliver new services. But it’s clear that they’re all interdependent; designing services to accelerate business transformation requires an unprecedented level of collaboration across business units. By focussing on this kind of cross department cooperation (including considering  restructuring incentives to encourage this), breakthrough can become reality, and significant impact can become tangible.

Fjord Family

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