A New Way of Looking at Customer Service

Posted 8/24/2017 7:34 PM by Brandon Carter

This blog was submitted by Virginia Hamilton.

WIOA presents the opportunity for us to re-think the way we serve our customers. We have a chance to redesign our systems, our processes, even our brick and mortar centers.  Your region may already be tackling big issues and tough questions.

So here’s a question for you: What’s your guiding principle on redesigning your system?

We’d like to offer a set of principles that will help you design a more effective and responsive system. It’s called Customer-Centered Design (CCD).

Customer-centered design is a methodology used by design firms, companies across the globe, and increasingly, government and non-profit organizations.  It is a human-centered approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow.

Customer-centered design means believing that the people we serve are the ones who know best what they need. It requires us to work hard at understanding our customers, then meeting them where they are with solutions that meet their needs.  

Customer-centered design requires a new mindset as we approach challenges. It’s not a linear process. You’ll spend a lot of time asking questions. You’ll get used to not knowing the answers and trying things that don’t work. You’ll learn to embrace creativity and messiness (which often look a lot alike).

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

One benefit of adopting this approach to design is that you’ll build creative confidence. You’ll begin to believe you can trust your instincts and dare to take a leap - even if you don’t know where you’ll land. You won’t be afraid to try new things. You won’t be afraid to fail. Failure, in fact, is a powerful tool for learning.

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

Thomas A. Edison

As you embrace customer-centered design, we’ll support you with tools and suggestions to help you  along the way.  Every customer-centered design process has three phases: Inspiration, Ideation, and prototyping and testing. During the inspiration phase, you’ll spend time listening to your customers, putting yourself in their shoes, listening for clues to what they really need.  Your customers become more than merely users of your system; they become part of your design team.

In the ideation phase, you’ll be generating lots of ideas. Some of them will work; some will quickly fail. You’ll learn to be open to any solution rather than searching for the one right answer. In fact, the sooner you let go of trying for the right answer, the better off you are. You’ll become confident that a solution is out there somewhere, even if you can’t imagine what it is right now.

By the way, even good solutions might not be perfect. In fact, they almost never are. That’s why prototyping and testing is a process that can take some time. Iteration – the cycle of trying, tweaking and testing – is how you learn and improve.  Customer-centered design gives you the skill and confidence to respond to changes when they’re needed or when our customers ask for them.

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Views: 423
Posted: 8/24/2017 3:34 PM
Posted By: Brandon Carter
Posted In: ION - Innovation and Opportunity Network
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