1. Key to innovation
The rising demands of the customer could mean that they are looking for ease, comfort, or a wide variety of things. Understanding your customer segmentation and attaching them to the appropriate services is vitally important.
The key to innovation is slicing and dicing data to gain a better understanding of your customer and their journey. You have to know which customer base to sell that product to and where that product sells.
For instance, while working for a top DTH service provider, we decided to launch a line of products. In collaborated with Nielsen and after extensive market surveys, we found out the kind of content customers wanted to consume.
The majority of customers told us they would love to see acting or dancing and the actors and actresses they preferred. We now had a segmented customer base. We created a range of products with a human angle that the customer could buy as a package and learn from.
Where does innovation come from? It comes from Outside-In thinking. Human-Centered Design (HCD) allows products to be designed in collaboration with the customer to resonate more deeply with the audience. HCD tools ensure that the customer remains part of the entire product lifecycle or decision making life cycle.
Once the customer angle is brought in, that is when differentiation is possible. Be it airlines, automotive or consumer durables, when we say innovation, it means a customer demand for a product that needs to be seen to.
3. Customer Journey
When approaching the design of the product, it is vital that the customer be part of the entire product lifecycle. Questions need to be asked, surveys conducted and focus groups need to be conducted to check if the product is on the right or wrong path.
Look at the evolution of BFSI products. Previously, it would take a week or even two for a loan to be disbursed. Someone thought about it and realized it was a very primitive way of working. Enter Fintech. Today, all a customer need do is log in to a Fintech company, upload their documents and, if their loan is approved, receive the money in minutes. That is how innovation has changed the life of a regular banking process.
4. Prioritising Innovation
Understand the design thinking process to solving problems, where the entire leadership of an organization sits and understands the nuances of the customer. You need to be proactive. When coming up with a product, you need to see which pain points are an impediment to the NPS or CSAT scores. When you put your heads together, innovative ideas come about to address any deterrent to a smooth customer experience. Xiaomi is a great example of a positive customer experience. Despite their minimal marketing expenses, they are able to innovate and collaborate with the customers in their product range. Conversely, Meru Cabs, a previous incumbent taxi service, lost their first-mover advantage and market share when they failed to innovate as Ola and Uber stepped in.
5. The Big Winner
Whichever way innovation leads us, it will be the customer who ends up on top because, ultimately, everything we do is for the ease of the end user. Innovation will continue to remove biases from our minds and provides greater earning opportunities but the opportunities might not all be what you expect. When banks innovate, they might not want to hire more accountants. Instead, they might hire an algorithmic trader or creative genius. The future is bright and the possibilities endless as innovation continues to ensure our lives become more comfortable than they are right now.