Designing a service strategy in a product oriented environment

How do you make the transition from a company that thinks, talks and sells products to a company that is focussed on delivering value through services? At 31Volts we have worked with several companies on this challenge. From this we’ve learned that the single biggest successfactor is the realization that you need to approach this as a cross company effort. Although the size of this task might scare some people off, the good news is that you can start tomorrow and start small.

The daily price discussion

Product oriented companies are looking for strategies to get out of their daily price discussions. Services offer an opportunity to create new value instead of squeezing the margins out of current products. Successful service business models inspire boardroom management to put service strategy high on their agenda. Service design agencies can play an essential role in the next phase; turning this service strategy into an actionable roadmap that leads to sustainable growth.

It’s service but not as we know it

In a product oriented organization “service” actually means “customer service”. From our projects we have learned that building a service mindset and culture within a company is just as essential as designing the actual service strategy. A powerful way to create awareness on what defines great services is to let people reflect on their real-life service experiences. Time and time again we have seen that by starting the conversation you see an immediate shift in the perspective on what services truly are.

Building the service vocabulary

In the early phase of these projects we organize co-creation workshops in which we let stakeholders from different departments work with the building blocks of successful service. The workshops provide a hands-on experience which captures the intangible aspect of services and makes it concrete. Alongside the workshops we design homework assignments that help the participants to become aware of services in their daily life. These first steps help to define the service vocabulary within the company.

Embody your strategy

Designing a service strategy in a product oriented environment is about getting the whole company in a different mindset as much as it is about new business models and service roadmaps. Involve people in the change and your return on investment will multiply in every way. You can’t become a great service organization on paper, you have to be one.

Marc Fonteijn

Marc Fonteijn

Marc is co-founder of 31Volts and helps major private and public organizations to grow by designing services that cultivate a sustainable relationship with customers.

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31Volts [Service Design]