Delivering Great Services: Merge the best of people and technology (Part I)

In the last few decades of service design we’ve gone from one extreme (people serving people without computers – *engaged tone*), through an intermediate stage (people serving people with computers – “Sorry, the system’s down at the moment”) to another extreme (computers serving people without people – “Error. Invalid service request.” or the exasperated frustration of millions in front of their computer screens).

This is often hailed as progress – yet services today are just as frustrating to deal with and customer satisfaction is poor. Everyone has their own computerised service nightmare story.

Why is this? It’s because in our haste to believe that technology would solve all our problems, we’ve misunderstood how services work and jumped straight to the wrong solution.



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How do you Build Trust and get Executive Sponsorship?

In this Transformation Dialogues video, Ann Blythman interviews me to understand how to build trust when implementing change and how to get executive sponsorship for bigger changes.

I discuss how trust can be built through a series of small successful steps and how significant changes can be implemented without jeopardising existing targets and performance standards.

Through the example of a new Customer Service System, we explore how to find out early what customers need and whether expensive new solutions will provide them. We finish up discussing how managers can get executive sponsorship for changes that they want to implement.

I hope you enjoy this video and more that follow soon in the Transformation Dialogues series.


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How do you Involve Customers in Improving Services?

In this Transformation Dialogues video, Ann Blythman interviews me to understand how to improve services by involving customers and building them into the development of the service.

I discuss how to bring customers in to the service design and development process, the importance of understanding variation and variability and why accommodating both in service design is so important. We cover the importance of testing out theories with real customers to find out if they work – not getting stuck in a “Theory Space”.

Through the example of Customer Segmentation we explore typical problems and their solutions including how to break down improvements into small discrete steps. I discuss the twin follies of thinking of process improvement as a process engineering problem and local optimisations – we cover how to put customers first and, how to re-organise internally to take big steps forward.

I hope you enjoy this video and more that follow soon in the Transformation Dialogues series.


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Understanding demand is essential for delivering solutions that meet real customer needs

Improving existing services or creating new ones is only effective with a thorough end-to-end understanding of the demand from customers. This understanding must be anchored in empirical data on past, present and future demand and real customers.

You can’t fly blind. You might get lucky but more than likely won’t.

Taking a responsible approach to service design means demand first has to be understood. So many organisations forget to do this, or just make it someone’s job in the hope that they will do it well.



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