During our own Company Future Journey, we have received valuable gifts from our customers. They let us know openly and willingly what really matters to them when it comes to an effective cooperation with a service provider. We are very grateful for this and have learned a lot during this process. We are happy to share these experiences with you here. Especially since we are convinced that they can be multiplied infinitely.

The Journey towards Understanding

In the course of our own realignment, we also set out to fully understand our (potential) customers. To do so, we spent dedicated time in an observer position, taking a metaphorical perspective. What moves our customers, how do they act, what is important to them – and what is not. What might they value and what makes them feel disturbed? Next, we formed hypotheses and verified each of them in discussions with a sample consisting of both, our customers as well as potential interested parties. This was an educational process. Some hypotheses turned out to be correct, while others were just over the top. And some other perspectives we had not even grasped yet. We therefore describe our impressions as a valuable gift from our customers.

The Canvas of Significant Insights

The results of our observations and survey – the described valuable gifts – were depicted on a TCJG Customer Value Proposition Canvas. All findings were first sorted according to “tasks” (customer jobs), “needs” (gains) and “pain” (pains). This process step was extremely clarifying, because it triggered a change of perspective. Above all, an overview over “pain” ensured that ideas for customer-specific solutions could emerge.

Today, valuable gifts from our customers such as these are the foundation for the design of all our services. We verify every idea to see whether it is in line with our clients’ perspective. And we always first focus on the benefits, which our work brings to our customers. And which set us apart from other providers in the long term. This is what we understand by customer centricity.

At our customers I am currently observing an ardent desire towards more customer-centric service processes. Primarily, this transformation aims to increase external brand loyalty. For me, this demand is created by the feeling of uncertainty when being exposed to and forced to deal with rapid changes and developments of the future. If no one can tell how industries such as the automotive, finance or retail sector are going to change, then an individual and strong brand loyalty reduces the risk of losing customers immediately to the most innovative competitors. One of our customers, an international automotive manufacturer of exclusive sports cars, approached us at the beginning of the year, asking if we could develop an innovative management workshop for them. This workshop was supposed to sensitize senior managers for the needs of their customers and to enable them to implement customer-centric processes at their dealership. During the initial needs analysis, we realised quickly that rather a holistic approach is needed to comply with the given strategic goals. From our perspective, it was not only about a one-shot workshop but rather about enabling the dealer staff itself, to question existing processes on one’s own responsibility and subsequently align them with the needs of the customer. From our experience, it would be ideal if ideas for more customer-centric processes are not only developed by individuals with direct customer contact but, moreover, customers get the chance to give feedback on the ideas as well. In addition, the concept we developed should also be applicable to other topics. Therefore, we developed, in collaboration with the customer, a holistic concept of several, consecutive (mini) workshops, that contained valuable components from Design Thinking: a fixed number of employees volunteer to participate at the initial workshop and every participant chooses a tandem partner from the organisation to go jointly on a customer journey. For this journey, the participants receive typical personas with characteristics derived from the customer base. From the viewpoint of these personas, the participants explore the online and offline brand representation of several exclusive brands and own competitors. The findings are brought into the next workshop and based on positive and negative experiences, ideas for implementation at the dealer evolve. In a next step, these ideas are presented to the whole dealer staff and refined by all employees in creative sessions. Shortly after, the best ideas are presented to selected customers to test them on attractiveness, usability and customer orientation. Finally, iterated selected ideas are implemented at the dealership. Unlike familiar process and KPI-oriented measures, this approach was completely new to the organisation and revealed the main challenge: All workshops are not designed to reach a defined goal, but the outcome of the workshop is totally dependent on the intrinsic commitment of the participants. This requires a precise facilitation of the process and all participants need to be constantly motivated to push their own creativity. For pilot testing, we accompanied our client to two European markets to support local adaption of the concept without losing the focus on a consecutive process. We also conducted a Train-the-Facilitator event for market key account manager to impart a new understanding of roles. Moving from a process consultant towards a facilitator who steers a process that enables the participants to question existing processes and align them with the needs of the customer. Changes in the future do not only apply to organisations but are even more relevant on an individual level. We are best prepared to handle upcoming changes by focusing on distinct self-responsibility and self-guidance. Individually and within our organisations. A contribution from:

Andreas Grotekemper Senior Consultant of TCJG

It’s amazing how the Internet of Things is capturing our daily lives more and more. Have you noticed that over the last several years every generation, from primary schoolchildren to retirees, can be observed with their digital companions? I also often catch myself looking at my iPhone to pass the boredom by.

How exciting is it, that the technical developments through the autonomous driving will soon allow us to give up this temptation while driving? Over the last few years, automobile manufacturers have come up with more and more features to better connect vehicles with the digital world. It can be assumed that these “connect” services won’t be used intuitively by every generation, and can be a challenge for some users.

An international, 20-person-strong call center team, is to cover the future support needs of these “connect” services for one of our premium automotive customers. A unique challenge: the team was set up by a supplier and, therefore, served two groups. On one side, the actual employer and, on the other side, the automobile manufacturer, whose brand they should represent to the outside customers. Thus, in a kick-off workshop, it was necessary to communicate not only basic knowledge about the history, strategy and portfolio of the automotive manufacturer, but, most importantly, to create an identification with the brand. The brand values need to be represented by the employee to the customer constantly.

Therefore, it was necessary to develop a suitable concept to inspire the team to connect to the brand. In the development and implementation of this four-day kick-off workshop, I was able to combine many components of my previous professional background: several years of experience in the consultant sector in project and change management, experience as a trainer and facilitator in international projects, as well as, the personal development of people. To see others grow, feel their joy and motivation after a training session, and experience how they want to tackle things, is certainly one of the most rewarding moments in my job.

So how do you unleash the joy of a brand and motivate employees to live up to the brand values in the workplace? Well, I admit, this time it wasn’t very difficult. How could one experience driving a fast sports car on a race track and not be enthusiastic about the brand? Despite all this, we also had to create a transfer, from the exciting experiences with the products to the transition of the brand characteristics to the daily work life of supporting the customer.

The participants were divided into the different brand values and discussed their ideas on how to translate “innovation,” “exclusivity” and other values to personal attitudes, as well as, specific actions. The results yielded astonishing insights into simple ways in which the concept of service can be delivered specifically for this brand.

Therefore, the challenge was successful. My goal was achieved when, after creating the concept and implementing it with the customer, the participants carry out their enthusiasm about the brand in their daily contact with the customer.

I’m also pleased to continue to be involved in the field of classical consulting for implementing international projects, as well as, for personnel diagnostics. Frequently, our clients’ needs require a combination of these different priorities. A guarantee that this job is certainly one thing: never boring.

 

A contribution from:
Andreas Grotekemper
Senior Consultant der TCJG

Consultant Profile Andreas Grotekemper