Can Service Design increase Customer demand?

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Design and Customer Experience, incorporated in Service Design Thinking are not the future but already upon us as the new norm for being successful in business. These principles address the demand side of the equation. Examples being Amazon, Starbucks, Xerox and IBM to name a few high profile companies. As a side note these companies are also driven internally by continuous improvement.

Lean Thinking can lead the way using the external principles of Service Design. But the internal planning focus of many Lean Companies prevents that. Viewing PDCA as a way to identify the knowledge gaps that exist between the customer and your organizations and closing them is actually what Toyota has done in their supplier management programs (Use that as a template and think of yourself as the supplier). You move up the supply chain with your customer through cooperation, co-producing, co-creation. You create the demand with your customer and Lean (PDCA) is the best way to achieve this.

I wrote a blog post The Death OF PDCA (don’t take literally) where I thought the P prompted us to internalized planning versus using (CDSA) a C to promote the elements of the Co…. (mentioned above) and more of a CoCreate-Do-Study-Adjust.

In Europe, Toyota used EDCA (Explore), PDCA, SDCA in the CRM systems very successfully and the latest extension of that theory is embedded in Service Design Thinking or Service-Dominant Logic theories where the belief that value of your product/service is not obtained till it is put into use. When viewed from that vantage point, “Value in Use” it opens an entirely different view of your product/services and as a result “Demand.”

I am very passionate about the subject of bringing continuous improvement to sales and marketing. I believe that Lean is the best vehicle to do this but is bogged down in the thoughts of only improving processes and more specifically internal processes. When viewed as a knowledge creation vehicle, which is all PDCA is anyway and focused outside the organization it becomes a way to create demand. Design Thinking can be a great conduit to achieve this (Had a Great podcast on this subject with Tim Ogilvie co-author of Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers)

Working on internal processes is not creating business opportunities. Working on supply side economics is not solving anything. We must simply focus on Demand through Service Design and Customer Experience and why not use Lean to lead the way?

In a LinkedIn conversation, Pablo Alvarez Flores furnished an article on TOC’s Viable Vision concepts which is an example of how focusing on Demand side can be the key to growth.

From the article: “Fleetguard developed a decisive competitive edge through its guarantee of availability, wherein the OEMs can pick up any products they want at any time without being bound by prior schedules.”

Again, where I believe so many continuous efforts fail, they are concentrating on supply. Though this same scenario could happen by doing this without it being tied to a competitive advantage in the marketplace it accomplishes little if anything.

From the article: “Fleetguard marketing professionals developed a “solutions for sales” proposal, which guaranteed 100 percent delivery performance and reduction by half of the current project lead times for the export market segment. Fleetguard’s decisive competitive edge for this sector is its commitment to availability.”

Another example: Look as you drive by empty Coffee Shops and you see lines at the Starbucks? Do they have better coffee? Or better Customer Experience?

Another Example: I had to go to the ATT store Friday and with the release of new iPhone it was literally like Christmas. The store manager told me that they were fully staffed and everyone had to come in at 7 AM to prepare, move stock around, etc. They looked at selling out of their stock by that afternoon and that was for a $200 to $500 phone not counting additional services.

Another Example: Xerox uses Lean Six Sigma to assist in-house printers to create better internal efficiencies. This allows the printers to operate more efficiently in small batches and giving them a decided advantage over out sourcing the printing needs.

These are just 4 examples of companies focusing on the demand side of the equation through Service Design, Customer Experience and Design Thinking. Just as in Agile development, Lean Thinking can be the umbrella over these processes. It will provide the culture that is embedded in the principles of Kaizen (PDCA) and Respect for People for the entire organization.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.

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