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Thinking from a customer point of view

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“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

As Nietzsche once so excellently wrote, your own personal perspective is essential. One moment you are amazed by someone making crazy movements, the next moment you are the one hearing the music and you cannot understand why the person standing next to you does not feel the urge to move. To place yourself in someone else’s shoes provides a new perspective. This principle seamlessly fits the concept of service design: thinking from the point of view of your customer, your user, enables you to create more value for them.

User centered design: understanding your customer

Using my background in user centred design, I capture the experiences of users by applying methods such as personas and customer journeys. To do so, you sometimes literally take the position of the user. Consider for instance a day of shadowing an installer in the field to understand his daily routine. Another example is to organize a focus group consisting of shop owners in order to utilize their knowledge to visualize a customer journey. By making these results tangible, you create a shared vision. This allows the entire team to better understand the different types of customers.

Insights by means of service design

We should consider applying these types of methods a natural course of action in IT organization transformation projects: yet, more often than not, we don’t. The impact can be huge, and I have noticed that clients crave the insights that can be obtained by service design. A little while ago, during a workshop for a client, we visualized all involved stakeholders in one image. The process of doing so alone led to interesting discussions: “Strange how group X has not yet been involved in this initiative! And what is the impact of this project for person Y?” Follow up will be to approach these groups, in order for us to truly understand their situation and to not solely build upon assumptions.

In other words, different interests often exist in a situation. The challenge is to apply the right (service design) methods to place yourself in other people’s shoes and simultaneously share your own knowledge and experience. By listening closely, you create a new choreography and together you achieve a better result.

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