Thursday, May 21, 2009

Innovation and Customer Experience

Today I want to start this blog with a question: What is impact of introducing innovative services to the customer experience?

I thought about the relationship between innovation and customer experience reading a post in LinkedIn. While innovation is a cornerstone of web interactions - too much innovation too fast can negatively impact the customer experience.

When we were ready to launch the beta version of the first mobile banking service to Wachovia customers many members of the project team felt that introducing a beta version of the service could have a negative impact to the overall customer satisfaction with the web site. As a result of this concern they wanted to wait to launch mobile banking until the service was fully tested.

However, the beta version of mobile banking was a result of the “Test and Learn” approach to propel innovation across the organization and to engage customers in the innovation process.

The team did 3 important things to mitigate the risk of launching a beta service:

1) Telling customers the TRUE about our intentions for launching a beta version that was not fully developed.
2) Making sure business requirements for security and protection of the account data were taken into consideration during the development of the new services since the beginning.
3) Implementing a customer feedback form to allow customers to participate in the innovation process.

Last but not least, understanding the behaviors of target customer segments should be part of the design of the “Test and Learn” strategy. While some customers are always looking for the next innovative capabilities others like a website that seldom changes.

Invite customers to participate, design a virtual center of innovation where your customers can share ideas and test drive new products and services. Capturing customer feedback allows companies to connect the dots and design products that meet the needs of their customers.

1 comment:

Joan said...

Interesting question. I think you captured the crux of the matter in your statement: too much innovation too fast can negatively impact the customer experience. In fact, when you think about it, innovation and customer experience are two very different things. By its nature, innovation is that creative spark, it is not something developed by consensus. Certainly, include customer feedback to enhance processes or products. However, the customer is not going to be (and should not be) intimately involved in the initial creation. By the time a new and wonderful product (or process) reaches a consumer, it should result in that seamless, delightful experience that will engender customer loyalty. The last thing a customer wants is to feel that he or she is a guinea pig.