The following list represents the Key Service Objectives (KSO) for the Appleton Greene Value Innovation service.
The purpose of this service objective is to help companies rethink marketing, and rethink customer. Marketing is one of the most misunderstood management disciplines; it is often equated with selling and advertising. Traditional marketing views customers as essentially a source of revenue and profits. As a result, companies tend to focus more on their products, services, and technologies, and are more inclined to conduct business on their own terms than make allowance for customer preferences. In today’s interconnected, digitally empowered, global world this company-dictating-to-customer attitude could have deleterious consequences on a company’s long term health. Today’s customers are more educated and increasingly unwilling to be passive recipients of what companies decide is best for them. They have a voice and want to be heard, they want to have a say in the types of products, services, and communications that are targeted at them. Consequently, there is a need to rethink marketing from being product-centric to customer-centric. The goal is not push products and services at customers but to serve them. Customers are not mere wallets who have to be won at the expense of competition but collaborators and co-creators of value. A number of case studies and examples will be provided from a variety of companies, industries, and countries to help illustrate how the leading exponents of marketing treat their customers as assets, and how they actively invest in listening, engaging, and responding to their customers.
The purpose of this service objective is to help companies understand the importance of seeing the world from an external, customer-centered lens, as opposed to an internal product/service-focused lens. Customer value and experiences are always designed for specific market segments and target markets, never for a general market, because one size doesn’t fit all. Consequently, value innovation must begin with a deep understanding of customer needs and behaviors. Companies need to step out of their own operating frames and step into the shoes of the customer. The crucial issue is not what products and services companies can offer, the crucial issue is how customers use the myriad of products and services offered to them to make their lives better, easier, and simpler. Consequently, value innovation focuses on how companies can make the lives of customers in selected segments and target markets better, easier, more convenient, and more satisfying. Concepts, methodologies, and frameworks that companies can use to step into the experiential world of the customer will be presented and explained so that participating executives can put aside their own biases and preconceived notions and focus instead on understanding the broader context of customers’ lives and/or business customers’ enterprises.
The purpose of this service objective is to help clients relate to the strategic management of customer value and customer experience as a structured business process. Compelling customer value and experiences do not happen by accident; they are intentional, the result of investments in time, money, effort, and people by companies to fulfill a wide variety of functional, economic, emotional, and aesthetic customer needs. In order to achieve this goal, and as with any business process, a structured, systematic framework is necessary. All companies have aspirations concerning how they would like customers to perceive them and their products and services. Customers in turn have experience and outcome expectations. The two, company aspirations and customer expectations, can often conflict. Consciously and systematically designing value enables companies to engage with customers in such a way that potential conflict is either avoided or minimized, and instead customer delight, satisfaction, and loyalty are maximized. Inputs from the rethinking marketing and customer insights service objectives will be used as inputs to help design targeted value and experiences that can meet, or exceed, customer expectations, and deliver on company objectives.
The purpose of this objective is to impress on clients that investment in ongoing innovation of customer experience is a non-negotiable business necessity for the future survival and well-being of the company. Today’s business world is often described as a VUCA world – volatile, uncertain, ambiguous, complex. In such a world, where the pace of change in markets, technologies, nature of competition, and customer needs and preferences has quickened dramatically, it is impossible for any company to take business success for granted. Being best at something today is no guarantee for future success; the only thing that #1 guarantees a company is a bigger target on its back. Given this scenario, the most prudent options is to invest in continuous innovation to constantly renovate, augment, and enhance customer experience, so that companies can not only keep pace with emerging competition and changing customer needs, but be one step ahead. Getting there early where customers and markets are headed is an enormous competitive advantage in today’s VUCA world. Concepts and strategies used by the world’s leading customer experience innovators will be presented and explained to inspire participating executives to embrace and adopt continuous innovation of customer experience in their own workplace.
As the old saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating; companies can claim all day long that they are delivering best in class customer value and customer experience, but at the end of the day what customers believe and perceive they have received is what really matters. Consequently, the purpose of this objective is to acquaint clients with major vehicles of value and experience delivery, like platforms, brands, customer service, digital interfaces, apps, websites, and content, so that there is minimal loss between what value and experience companies want to deliver and what value and experience customers actually receive. Even delivery vehicles can be the object of value innovation as we see so readily in banking (digital wallets), healthcare (tele-medicine), and education (hybrid and online courses). There is also the need to establish perspective concerning the roles played by humans and technology in the delivery of customer value and experience. Despite the phenomenal increase in digital disruption and how technology is used to engage customers and drive business transactions, humans are not irrelevant in the value innovation equation, especially when it comes to delivering and executing. The issue is not of replacement – technology vs. humans, it is one of augmentation and coupling – how best to combine technology and human beings to deliver the optimum customer value and experience, either remotely or proximally, across all touch points and through all phases of the customer decision making journey. A variety of concepts and case studies from several companies, industrial sectors, and geographies will be used to illustrate leading edge thinking concerning how customers consume and use value in their daily lives, and how they engage with and experience companies and their offerings. Participating executives will also be exposed to contemporary methodologies like customer touchpoint analysis, customer journey mapping, service blueprinting, brand equity assessment, and four quadrant analysis to analyze how their companies are delivering value and how best to build on current strengths and fix/eliminate weaknesses.
Technology is all pervasive and omnipresent in today’s world, and is radically reshaping all aspects of work and life from everyday essentialities of cooking, cleaning, transportation, and security to discretionary needs, such as healthcare, education, and entertainment. In the business world, technology is the backbone of the operations of virtually every business, and is also helping shape business strategy, and transforming business, revenue, and growth models. There was a time when technology was equated with the IT department and the hardware that sat on our desks and the software that helped us operate the hardware. Today, there is scarcely a department in any business that doesn’t use technology; even HR departments uses technology for managing and developing the human potential of their respective organizations. In fact, according to Gartner, marketing, not IT, will be the largest buyer of technology by 2018. Additionally, technology is also ubiquitous and essential to the day to day lives of typical customers. Cars today have more code than the computers of a few years ago…and there is no turning back. We live in an era of digital disruption, an era in which technology simultaneously creates and destroys customer value and customer experience. Consequently, it is important for companies to embrace technology and leverage it so that the value and experience they are providing to customers doesn’t become obsolete.
We use technology as if it were a common noun, it is anything but that. Cloud computing is technology, as is a common app, as is virtual reality, and as is IoT (Internet of things). However, each of them are a source of differentiated customer value and the basis of a differentiated customer experience. Which is why as the world of technology expands and dominates businesses and people’s lives, the all important question of value innovation will become even more relevant. As Steve Jobs likes to remind technology fanatics, “Smart companies don’t push technologies on unsuspecting customers, they work backwards. They begin by asking what great value and experiences they should deliver customers and then ask their engineers and designers to develop and deliver the targeted value and experience.” The number of trends that characterize technology – robotics, AI, nanotechnology, etc. – are too numerous to enumerate and discuss here. What is important to note though is that the world of technology is constantly morphing and converging, making it even more demanding for companies to stay connected with the customer and tackle issues related to value innovation.
Like education, entertainment, and a host of other industries, healthcare is in the throes of radical transformation. The industry is being asked to cater to exponentially increasing demand, which is both varied and complex, without passing on ever increasing costs to the end user. Not surprising therefore, that for several years now, the pharma companies have been urging themselves to migrate from being pill centric to becoming patient centric. Hospitals and other healthcare providers have been seriously rethinking their business models and moving away from treating diseases to championing wellness, and payers have been focused on pharmacoeconomics to balance costs and relative efficacy of alternate treatments. The number of moving parts grabbing the industry’s attention have increased dramatically in the past few years. New technologies, ranging from electronic health records, and digital tools for supporting diagnosis to telemedicine and robotics are being embraced aggressively to cater to the burgeoning demand. The changing demographics of the population, especially the needs of the elderly and the terminally ill, are posing fresh caregiving challenges, which are not easy to solve. Costs show no signs of abating, even as voices in support of individualized medicine are getting louder. Not only are new specialty drugs highly costly to produce, new viruses, like the Zika virus, and old standards like the flu, which have adapted and become more resistant to commonly available antibiotics, are stressing the system constantly, diminishing the ability of the healthcare system and industry to provide real, meaningful, timely, and tangible value at an affordable price.
Consequently, the industry is under greater public and legislative scrutiny. As more health care data, particularly financial, such as physician fees, comparison of insurance plan premiums, and payments by drug and medical device manufacturers to physicians and other care providers, becomes public, the power of the public to influence important medical policies and decisions is increasing, eroding the power and sole authority status of traditional gatekeepers, like physicians and hospitals. As the focus of the industry shifts from treatment to prevention and wellness, from individual health to social and community health, issues related to value innovation – customer value and customer experience – will become even more important. The word customer is used deliberately, because not everybody the healthcare industry will and should engage will be a patient. The system will need to experiment with new models of wellness, treatment, and payment to meet customer needs, so increasing healthcare value, which is both relevant and timely, can be delivered unaccompanied by soaring costs.
Banking & Financial Services
In the next three to five years, banking and financial services is likely to be disrupted more than any other sector. The nature of money is changing, as is the world of payments. It will not be cash, currency, and coins as we know it today. A host of innovations, like digital wallets, blockchains, cryptocurrencies, automation of cash and money flows, payment embedded in the Internet of Things, where Toyota cars pay for gas, and Nespresso machines pay for coffee, and Electrolux fridges pay for milk delivery are already beginning to rear their heads. In this fragmented environment where cash will largely be invisible and payments highly distributed, often in closed-loops, third party institutions like banks and financial services that currently handle cash and payment transactions will have to rethink their role and purpose; they won’t have an option.
Paradoxically, as the reach of technology grows and innovations radically transform the structure of banking and financial services, customers will increasingly want to be treated as unique individuals, and not as a nameless, faceless statistic in the company’s database. Customizing customer value and customer experiences will be at a premium, making value innovation even more critical. We are already getting a glimpse of this with the rise of big data and analytics. Banks and financial service companies are pursuing micro-segmentation zealously so they can convince their customers that they do care about them as individuals. Lastly, with the convergence of financial instruments, cash, credit, savings, investments, etc., customer loyalties will either be distributed across a number of players, or highly concentrated with one or two. In such an environment, value innovation will become even more critical for customer acquisition and retention, and therefore for the long term well-being of the organization.
Even though all forms and levels of education are changing, this section will focus only on higher education (bachelor’s degree and above) delivered by colleges and universities throughout the world. Several factors are turning higher education on its head. On the demand side, the demographics of students, especially in terms of age, income, and diversity has changed and is unlikely to reverse. Today’s students are likely to be older, are more likely to come from poorer families, and from ethnic backgrounds where parents may not have gone to college. They also have different attitudes and expectations, notably, they have an unrealistically high opinion of their own abilities, and are not merely interested in learning – they want a variety of entertaining experiences during their tenure at college. The changing mix and experience expectations of students will continue to pose challenges for colleges and universities. Additionally, not all students want to be full time students, or be physically present in the class room. Part-time, evening, and weekend students are definitely on the rise, as are those who want to obtain their degree in digital and online forums.
On the supply side the number of institutions offering degrees, especially those popular with recruiters, like MBA, have increased dramatically. In India, for example, in the 1980s there were only five major MBA degree granting colleges. Today, virtually every mid-to-large sized city can boast of colleges that grant an MBA degree. Privately owned colleges and universities that operate for profit, and smaller community colleges that cater to students in specific geographies has also increased. However, quality of education has not kept pace with the proliferation of institutions globally; the biggest constraints being funding, quality of trained teachers, and the nature of the curriculum. Several colleges and universities are experimenting with technology in the class room to augment and boost student and teaching experience, with the hope of raising the quality and relevance of education delivered. More students participate in MOOCs, distance learning through online courses, and hybrid formats. While the jury is still out on whether technology will help bring greater student engagement and improve the quality of learning, questions concerning relevance of current higher education to the needs and demands of the changing workplace are being asked more frequently. Employers don’t believe colleges and universities are turning out the kinds of candidates they need, which is why globally, many companies, and governments, are investing in their own training and education programs. In a scenario like this an understanding and application of value innovation with its focus on customer value and experience is critical, if the system is to create positive value and experiences for all stakeholders – students, teachers, employers, and those providing the funds.
There was a time when entertainment took place at fixed times, in fixed formats, and at fixed venues – TV, radio, movie theaters, jazz clubs, music concerts, and comedy clubs. Customers took what they were offered and if they missed their favorite show they kicked cans and tried finding solace in profanity. That was truly a long time ago, the entertainment industry unrecognizable today. It changes every time a new song is released – Uptown Funk; every time a new video is released – Gangnam Style; every time a new genre takes off – reality TV, hip hop rap. Today, entertainment is truly a multidimensional, multidirectional collaboration between content producers, content providers and content consumers. Any and every content can be entertainment; the old brick walls between information, education, and pure entertainment have crumbled. TED talks are entertainment, as are improve comedy shows, as are funny home videos on YouTube. Further, this content can be consumed anywhere, anytime, on any screen, frequently without payment. Additionally, the content is often consumed in ways the originator had not intended – Harry Potter theme parks and Lego blocks, or Star Wars light sabre toys, or a mash up of history and science fiction as video games.
The proliferation of devices and venues, traditional TV sets, smart TVs, smart phones, tablets, TV screens at airports, in bars, lounges, and waiting areas, such as hospital and hotel lobbies, accelerates the change the industry and customers are experiencing. Even buildings and walls can be a delivery channel for entertainment – a trip to the Ginza district in Japan, or to Times Square in New York can attest to that. Add to that the ability to watch anything asynchronously and you have an entertainment landscape that rarely stands still. Take the example of Hulu. It was born out of the YouTube category, where people flocked for quick snippets of video. Now, however, a whopping 73 percent of Hulu-goers use the service specifically for watching television shows. In this panoramic landscape it is equally difficult to say what competencies qualify a company to be called an entertainment company. Ostensibly, Microsoft, makers of Xbox is an entertainment company. Hallmark started off as a greeting card company, but is an entertainment company. Netflix started off as a DVD retailer, but is an entertainment company, as is Amazon. In this dynamic environment, of constantly evolving technologies and content, where entertainment is the outcome of active collaboration between content producers, device manufacturers, and delivery companies (Comcast), and the meaning and value of which is co-created with customers, who pick the time, venue, and vehicle of consumption, value innovation – creating, delivering, and innovating the right value and experience for the right customer at the right time takes on even greater importance.
Monthly cost: USD $1,500.00
Time limit: 5 hours per month
Contract period: 12 months
Bronze service includes:
01. Email support
02. Telephone support
03. Questions & answers
04. Professional advice
05. Communication management
The Bronze Client Service (BCS) for Value Innovation provides clients with an entry level option and enables client contacts to become personally acquainted with Dr. Bhalla over a sustainable period of time. We suggest that clients allocate up to a maximum of 5 Key Employees for this service. Your Key Employees can then contact the consultant via email, whenever they feel that they need specific advice or support in relation to the consultant’s specialist subject. The consultant will also be proactive about opening and maintaining communications with your Key Employees. Your Key Employees can list and number any questions that they would like to ask and they will then receive specific answers to each and every query that they may have. Your Key Employees can then retain these communications on file for future reference. General support inquiries will usually receive replies within 48 hours, but please allow a period of up to 10 business days during busy periods. The Bronze Client Service (BCS) enables your Key Employees to get to know their designated Appleton Greene consultant and to benefit from the consultant’s specialist skills, knowledge and experience.
Monthly cost: USD $3,000.00
Time limit: 10 hours per month
Contract period: 12 months
Bronze service plus
01. Research analysis
02. Management analysis
03. Performance analysis
04. Business process analysis
05. Training analysis
The Silver Client Service (SCS) for Value Innovation provides more time for research and development. If you require Dr. Bhalla to undertake research on your behalf, or on behalf of your Key Employees, then this would understandably require more time and the Silver Client Service (SCS) accommodates this. For example, you may want your consultant to undertake some research into your management, performance, business, or training processes, with a view towards providing an independent analysis and recommendations for improvement. If any research and development, or business analysis is required, then the Silver Client Service (SCS) is for you.