Sunday, July 10, 2011

improve the level of innovation

Service innovation that could improve the profitability for a service provider as well as add value from the customer's perspective include:

  • Standardization - turn services that were traditionally custom designed and delivered into a standard-offer, saving production costs that could be passed on in part to the customer. This industrialization of services will yield innovative service products of predictable characteristics and quality, with economies of scale and improved delivery times. - i.e. creating low cost, pre-made, mass produced 'self companies' rather than create one from scratch.
  • Self-service - look for ways to allow customers to self-serve parts of the service and so reduce production costs but improve customer experience through offering better value offer, faster, more convenient service or a more targeted service response. i.e. Automated teller machines.
  • Better allocate expensive/scarce resources - look at ways that the more basic elements of a service product can be performed by lower cost employees or even machine automated. This cost saving could be passed on in part to the customer. i.e. restructuring the work between professionals and paraprofessionals.
  • Customer involvement and interface - introducing the concept of customers as co-producers in advancing the expertise of service suppliers. i.e. the application of Web2.0 concepts like a radio station allowing customers to vote up or down songs on an internet displayed intended play list.
  • New service products - introducing new service products in response to the changes taking place in the social, political, technological or environmental spheres. i.e. investment products solely for environmentally sound enterprises, bank accounts to hold recently introduced government taxes, Bpay directly from bank accounts via the internet, information services that change features in line with emerging social trends (collaborative lifestyles)
  • Electronic delivery - converting expensive one-on-one face-to-face service delivery with cost effective and convenient electronic delivery for the customer. Allow customers to evaluate service options and expected costs via an electronic platform rather than by an expensive face-to-face discussion. Use software to record client requirements and then match it to the most appropriate service product.
  • Turn service into tangible goods - 'kit-up' a service into a tangible product involving booklets, key contact number magnets/mouse pads, DVDs, USBs, customer loyalty cards, “smart” RFID cards for transactions, membership cards and use telematics for ordering, reservation and delivery. There is a greater real and perceived value created for the customer and the supplier in this approach.
  • Innovate your business model - innovate the way your service makes money. i.e. turn pay by the hour into pay by a standardized product or break a service into component parts with different charges and allow more customer choice on what they include and exclude or include a high-priced emergency (after-hours) response option in your service delivery and a strict no change 'no-frills' option for price sensitive customers.
  • Innovate your networks and alliances - develop alliances with other businesses or networks that your customer would benefit from in terms of down stream value-add or additional specialized support.i.e. a personal trainer that forms an alliance with a nutritionist.
  • Adapt services to inventions - constantly monitor the changes taking place with technology and adapt your service to match and add value to the customer's experience. i.e. iPhone apps., Skype consultations.
  • Other - other innovative processes that could be introduced in service products include 'extensions' where the same service product could be adapted to meet different markets (i.e. hotel customer service training being adapted for the delivery of government services) or 'synthesis' where you combine various services into one product offer.(i.e. a 'fix-it-now' service being bundled with a preventative maintenance program - discounted if they pay for both now!)

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