Tuesday, October 30, 2012

User experience should be at the core of your shop

Last week there was an assignment for the Crash Course in Creativity (Stanford) to generally observe six stores (before entering, environment, personnel, products, customers, other).
This was fun to do, but also very useful. I was quite shocked by the findings. Here you can see my full report - http://www.slideshare.net/beekes/assignment-2-observation-lab

The conclusion is that it can be extremely helpful to be a detached observer and to check out your stores, your operations, your customer service, your garage, your gallery etc. In this way you can see and feel and thus experience what your customer is experiencing.

Clearly there are (user-experience) opportunities in these three areas:

  •        Signs (they should be at eyes-height, readable, providing useful info, and less is best)
  •         Displays (they should be easy to see and reach the products, show the products from a distance)
  •        Employees (they should also be available on the shop floor and assist customers)
  •         Check-outs and counters should be designed facing the customer

How did you design your store, with the user at the heart of your facility?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

Featured in Alltop

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Are you helping your customers to save money or to add value?

Yesterday I did have am meeting with a large IT company. We did discuss the possibility to create an integrated solution for great customer service.

It is clear from many sources that great customer service is one of the few real and sustainable differentiators for your business.
However, one of the participants was only interested in finding ways to help his customer to save costs. This is both limiting and not innovative.

If you position your self as a provider to help your customers to save money, then you can be assured that that is the way you will be treated as well. If your customer can find another provider who is just slightly cheaper then they will choose that other provider.

If you position your self as a real partner who thinks about new ways in which your customer can add value to his customers, then you will get a total different treatment! Then you will also be highly valued, both in the relationship and in finances.

This requires a new innovative way of thinking and deep knowledge of your customer, its market and the needs of its customers. Also you need to keep up to date on the latest developments in other markets.

So, are you a cost saver or a value-adding partner?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

Featured in Alltop

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Industrial concepts are hindering the creative economy

I have just finished reading the great book “ What Matters Now” by Gary Hamel. The book is centered around five fundamental, make-or0break challenges that will determine whether your organization thrives or dives in the years ahead! These issues are:

  •        Values
  •         Innovation
  •         Adaptability
  •         Passion
  •         Ideology

It became clear to me that most institutions are still build upon concepts form the industrial revolution (or even older). The most visible expression of which is its command & control style. In my case these institutions were my upbringing, school and university (which concepts started in the Middle Ages), military service, sports teams and big Corporations.
This command & control style is hindering the most needed creativity.

In order to change this, a change in dominant beliefs is crucial. Without a change in beliefs all the changes will merely be window-dressing. This can certainly be done but requires a lot of work and determination.

Here is an example of old beliefs (from the industrial age) and new beliefs (from the creative age).

Attitudes about
In the past are limiting
For the 21st century are energizing
To make as much profit as possible
There is  meaning, a purpose in the organization and in the work itself

Work Definition
Work is performance only; work equals doing
Work is performance, learning and enjoyment; Work equals doing and being

Managers are more valuable than employees
Everyone’s specialties are valuable
Managers have more experience and knowhow than  employees

Knowledge is more important than position
Management Style
Managers  give commands to employees on what, when and how to accomplish goals. Managers control employees

Managers coach their employees  as and when asked for. Employees determine how they will reach their goals. Employees are given responsibility and trust.
All employees have the same needs and behalve in the same manner

Employees have different needs, especially per generation

Product out. Transaction focussed
Needs driven. Life time value
Managers determine what needs to be changed and drive change top down

There is a collective ownership and understanding of change

Predefined goal and deadline; Control
Open activity (20% of available time); Trust
Performance Measurement
Managers measure the performance of employees; focus is on weaknesses and presence
Managers, team members and peers measure the performance of employees; focus is on strenghts and merit

People are only interested in their salary

Employees want more than a great salary.  They are interested in having a more fulfilled life, less stress, and more decision-making authority within their job
Mainly financial; profit and shareholder value
People, planet, profit and stakeholder value
This is so crucial, that all has to be done inhouse
This critical activity needs external resources as well
Everyone should behave in the same way according to the culture

There is respect for  each other’s difference
People are hired, based upon past job experience and fit into current job description
People are hired, based upon organizational and personal match of mission/vision/values, what their passion is and how they can contribute to organizational goals.
The standard workplace is defined by managers
Employees define/design their own workplace
Working Hours
9-5, 40 hours per week, on-site
Defined by employees, based upon goals achievement, on-site or remote/mobile
Procedures are mandatory
There are clear ‘rules of engagement’, rule 1= use your common sense
You have to be busy continuously
There is enough time for fun and relaxing, which generates new ideas as well
There is limited room for professional development
If people grow (professionally and personally), the business grows
You grow within a functional silo
You grow based upon results and added value
Job Titles
You work according to your job description
You work according to your (various) roles and goals
Info is distributed according to your position
Info is distributed according to your needs
After you are 65 years old

When you want to use the funds
Your appearance should be in line with company rules
Your appearance is in line with your personal preferences.

What are you doing in order to change your old beliefs?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

Featured in Alltop