31 Mar 2021
Jeremy Larkins, Executive Director, CSIA, shares how the International Customer Service Standard supports customer-lead service design.
Every company wants to deliver a better product or service to its customers. It's simple to see why considering that a better product means more sales and more revenue.
Now, there are many ways to achieve this, but one of the best is customer collaboration in the design process. In simple terms, if a company wants a better product or service, why not listen to the people who’ll pay for it and make changes according to their feedback? If the customer feedback is incorporated into the product or service, it will improve the customer experience and increase sales.
But what are some of the benefits of customer collaboration during the product or service design phase and how can companies go about implementing customer collaboration? This post looks at this question in more detail.
Why Customer Collaboration?
Just think about it, the success of a product or service lies in how well that product or service meets customers’ needs and how it solves their problems. So, it makes sense to involve customers in the design process to ensure a successful new product.
In simple terms, customer collaboration is the key to developing a better product or service and improving the customer experience. In fact, the International Customer Service Standard (ICSS) states that a best practise in customer service is that an organisation collaborates with its customers in creating and optimising its products and services.
Customer collaboration goes further than just the design of the product or service, though. If customers are involved in the design process, companies build stronger relationships with these customers which means, in turn, these customers are more loyal. In this sense, customer collaboration also benefits both companies and customers.
How to Collaborate
There are several ways in which companies can implement customer collaboration in their design process.
These can include:
Getting feedback from customers early in the product lifecycle. When a company plans a new product or an update to an existing one, it can get feedback from customers early on in the design process to make sure that the product or service adequately meets the customers’ needs.
Establishing a user group. By establishing a user group to evaluate a product or service, the company in effect encourages feedback and learns what issues concern customers regarding the product.
Inviting customers to evaluate new products. Customers in a programme to evaluate new products can identify any problems or concerns before the product is fully released to the market.
Issuing new product announcements. By issuing new product announcements well ahead of a product release, companies can request feedback from customers on what they would like to see in the product or service.
Working in partnership with customers. In this way, product or service design becomes a joint initiative where a company works with specific customers to develop a product that effectively meets their needs.
Using an existing product to make improvements. By listening to feedback from customers during the customer service process, companies can effectively develop updates to existing products or services to make them better meet the needs of the customers.
Customer collaboration is vital if a company wants to offer the best product or service to the market. It's capable of a total transformation of a company’s design processes, its customer relationships, and customer loyalty.