Get to know your customers before you digitalize2020-03-25
Digital services can make physical places more attractive and competitive. But, to digitalize just because it is possible might have an opposite effect. To be successful it is necessary to understand the customers, says researchers at CTF who have developed a new method that can provide companies and organizations with an increased understanding of how digital services can be used in the best way.
New technology and increased mobile phone usage have created entirely new contact areas between service providers and customers in the retail- and hospitality industry. It has changed customers' behavior and needs as well as the importance of the physical place. Digital services can make physical places, such as shops or amusement parks, more attractive and competitive, but to succeed a genuine understanding of the customers is needed.
"Today, there is a bigger demand for holistic experiences than ever before. We want to be entertained, inspired and surprised. It motivates us to go to physical places where these services are provided," says Erik Wästlund, Project Manager and Associate Professor of Psychology.
Investing in digital services costs both time and money. Therefore, it is important to know what works. Find out what the customers like and involve them in the development process, says the researchers. To digitalize solely because it is possible can lead to negative customer experiences.
Based on customers' driving force to buy a product or service
The new method aims to create and better understanding of the user areas, opportunities, and development potential of digitalization. The purpose is to identify and create a map of the value landscape, that is, the actual place where service providers and customers meet or where value is created. The method is based on the customers' driving force to buy a product or service: goal fulfillment, relationships and experiences
"In order to create the highest possible value, we need to understand what drives the customer. It is important to let the customer be in "their" driving force. If the customer walks toward a store, based on the driving force of goal fulfillment, they want support in reaching the planned goal and completing their mission. Inviting to a digital quiz in this situation doesn’t create value for the customer and doesn’t contribute to a positive customer experience," says Erik Wästlund.
The method also contains various strategies that can be used in the development of a digital service. By matching service providers’ actions with customers' driving forces, it is possible to identify the best development strategy for each service.
The research was conducted within the research project "Future customer experiences: Digitization of services in physical meeting places as a way to create added value for both company and customer" in collaboration with Centrum Karlstad Development, Visit Karlstad Member, Karlstad Handel and Infid AB. The project was funded by the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Council and the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth Development Fund during 2017-2019.