I’ve just previewed a recently released book titled Business Model Shifts – Six Ways to Create New Value for Customers. The authors who are associated with Business Model Inc. suggest that business leaders must shift their perspective from what creates value for their business to what creates value for their customers. According to the authors, six ways for creating new value for customers involves shifting from:
- Products to Services
- Shareholder to Stakeholder
- Physical to Digital
- Pipeline to Platform
- Incremental to Exponential
- Linear to Circular
Some of the authors’ assertions seem self-evident. For example, the shareholder is not the only customer of a business, and catering extensively to that group can come at the expense of a business’s long-term success. Other conceptual shifts championed by the authors are more nuanced. For example, in highlighting the importance of shifting from a linear to circular approach, the authors note:
“Our traditional economy has limits to growth because linear business models use up resources to make products that eventually go to waste. Circular business models overcome these limits and build an economy where business growth and a positive socio-environmental impact reinforce each other.”
While I agree with the keen insights reflected in the book’s preview, I’ll offer a few nuances of my own. For example, I believe that even greater customer value comes from moving from services to experiences (rather than from products to services). I also believe physical and digital service experiences are not mutually exclusive. In other words, service is table stakes in the value equation of most customers, and well-designed branded, emotionally enveloping experiences are differentiators. Further, the future success of a business depends on a shift to digital self-serve bolstered by elevated human experience delivery – not a choice of digital versus physical.
In my recently released book Stronger Through Adversity, Brien Convery, the National Director of Early Talent Acquisition at the RoyalBank of Canada (RBC), shared how leaders at RBC create value not only for customers but also for prospective team members and new hires. Moreover, Brien highlights RBC’s focus on both digital and human assets, “A couple of years ago, we defined the branded universal experience we wanted to provide to college students who we were recruiting, hiring, and bringing into our culture. By taking the time to lay out an optimal end-to-end journey (complete with the tools needed and the people who would be accountable), we identified gaps and technologies needed to digitally enhance relationships, growth, and the engagement of prospects and new hires.”
Brien reported, “The pandemic accelerated the use of digital platforms like our RBC Canada Student Café—a structured networking program where we emulate office collisions. Collisions are those moments in an office environment where new hires naturally come in contact with executives or colleagues in the hallway or the lunch areas. We have been intentional with virtual coffees and office hours to connect our students and new hires with leaders who will get to know them, answer their questions, share our culture, and mentor them.”
Brien and his team realized that in a physical office environment, new hires learn about a company’s culture through formal activities like orientation training and informal interactions with the leaders they meet during hallway and cafeteria encounters. A senior leader can also make a point of stopping by a new hire’s desk to welcome him or her. Since many of those naturally occurring interactions aren’t possible in work from home settings, RBC coordinated those “collisions” in the form of virtual coffees and leader office hours. Effectively “caring for” and “caring about” team members requires those leaders to think about the employee experience from the team members’ vantage point. It then requires investment in tools and processes (like virtual coffees) to fill gaps and drive engagement. In the context of the pandemic, many of those gaps were technology-aided but leader-powered.
Inspired by the authors of Business Model Shifts and Brien Convery at RBC, here are three challenge questions for you this week:
- Are you creating new customer value by shifting from products to experiences?
- Have you established a business that is both digital AND personal?
- How are you leveraging technology and human interactions to generate value for all stakeholders (not just shareholders)?
For more about the role of value creation in the future of customer experience success, please pick up or gift a copy of my book Stronger Through Adversity or you can download one of my complimentary eBooks including one I just wrote about Stronger Through Adversity.