Hi, I'm Paul from FieldInsight and this is our #TuesdayTalk.
Today I'm going to talk about something that service businesses don't think about heaps - that is the definition and creation of a Product.
A product is something you can brand, bundle up to sell in to a market but it can also be a service. It can be a maintenance service or a series of services. Thinking about the creation of a product can really supercharge services work and allow you to differentiate.
If you can create a product that you can sell as part of your business that gives you an ability to be different in the market then you are one step ahead of the pack.
You can use this for marketing and promotion on your social media pages etc.
Like the Goop Guys created goop for their windows.
It can be a standard to adhere and deliver to or something that gives you more credibility in delivery of your services.
How can you Achieve this in your Business?
Coming up with a product is not a trivial activity and there's lots of books about brainstorming, creating and coming up with ideas. But they fall down in a really common way and that is they don't spend enough time understanding or defining the problem to solve - this involves breaking it up in a smaller pieces.
They all dive into solution mode. You want to sit down and spend some time to find the problems you're trying to solve. Articulate them, try and identify the core problem and secondary problems because sometimes you find you're working on a secondary problem.
If you identify the core problem that secondary problem may change or it may go away completely and you'll probably get different secondary problems.
Step 1: Time to Think
- Dedicate time to capturing the core problem you're trying to solve
- Look at different solutions that are out in the market
- You want to see how well you meet an actual problem
Step 2: What does Different Look like?
- Look at solutions that currently solve that problem in a different market.
This is critical, your solution may come from a completely different industry but can be easily applied (dont think you are constrained by industry); an example is up-sell, cross-sell or bundling with a different industry
- Brainstorm different solutions and validate with the team
- Write down what you think the solution looks like and then take a critical eye to it
- a hyper critical view of it (pick it to pieces)
- a white hat angel view of it (best scenario) and really see what's good about it
- Try and get a balanced view; ie whether you think your solution is a good solution for the market
Step 3: Create and Test
- Design (or create) the smallest version of a solution that you can from within your business
- Test it with a set of customers and get feedback
- Refine until you hit the mark
Outcomes must be Customer focussed!
You want something that is meaningful to the customer that moves the needle for them and helps them solve that problem and then talk to them and iterate. Customer feedback will drive evolution, you wont get it right first time but you can modify and change as you go.
Listening to the customer carefully they might tell you what they want (or not so directly) but more importantly what they need, what they will use and what they will engage with.
This is a very high level view of concepts from a brilliant book called, "Borrowing Brilliance." I have included the reference and review of it below. I highly recommended it from a design point of view.
Wondering how Product design is relevant to a Services business?
Think about product as how you bundle up your services as something to sell. Do you call it just a Service or Maintenance offer? Could you present this differently that solves the actual problem a customer has? A customer doesn't think about servicing of their units the same way you do.....its a hassle and a problem they don't think about UNTIL something goes wrong and when it goes wrong they aren't happy?
Follow the above process to think about it differently. It's an excellent way to think about product. Once you have a view of it test it through different mediums (facebook, how you answer the phone, how you Quote work etc)
I've done product design and been involved in development for over twenty years, and most people don't do it this way so you would be one of the top five percent in your industry who think about product packaging this way.
Have a great week, lovely talking to you today and catch you next week; bye.
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Book reference: Borrowing Brillance: The six steps to business innovation by building on the ideas of others by David Kord Murray. Read a review of this book here