Ayan Bandyopadhyay: Know Your Speaker- Futurist Business Conclave 2018

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A certified Design Thinking Professional, trained on Train-the-Trainer, innovation literature, capacity building and having multicultural experience, Ayan’s mission is to accelerate growth of organizations and individuals by providing them with knowledge, network and platform.

1. How do you deal with rising customer expectations?

Problems move targets! With rising customer expectations, newer opportunities just get created.

Feasibility and Viability. Yes we check them. But we check one more thing!

How many of us jump to solutions as soon as we hear problems? Almost all of us! Now that’s a kind of a false start we keep doing. To add to the misery, we even do a feasibility and viability study and find out positive results. These add up to our confirmation bias and we end up with mediocrity. Sad, but true.

We force our products and services into the throat of our customers without even realizing whether they need them or not. We thus end up ‘Doing The Things Right’ but alas… We miss out on an important aspect and that is ‘Doing The Right Things.’ This is a catch 22 situation and we fail to deliver on customer expectations because we ignore the most important parameter. Desirability! Do our customers really want our product or service? Is it ‘Desirable’ apart from being ‘Feasible’ and ‘Viable?’ The moment we ask ourselves this question, the only option we have is to take a more human-centered approach.

Hence, check one more thing to deliver on rising customer expectations. ‘Is my product or service Desirable?’

Do we really take care of our Customers Needs?

The other way we deal with rising customer expectations is that we understand what our Customers NEED and deliver exactly that. Easier said than done. Interestingly, Prof. Noriaki Kano proposed a very interesting model to understand customer needs. He says that there are 3 kinds of needs and they are. Basic needs, Performance needs and Excitement needs.

Basic needs are such that their presence doesn’t contribute towards customer satisfaction but their absence create high dissatisfaction. These needs need to be taken care of first.

Performance needs are the performance attributes that the products or services promises. If they perform better or at par as promised, they create higher satisfaction. However, failing to do so creates dissatisfaction.

Lastly, excitement needs are the ones that create high satisfaction if present, but their absence doesn’t create dissatisfaction.

With rising customer expectations, we should be in a position to identify these customer needs and fulfill them accordingly.

But there is a catch! With time and technology advancement, what seemed an excitement need yesterday becomes a performance need today and what seemed like a performance need yesterday becomes a basic need in the future.

A smart marketeer would quickly understand the pulse of the rising expectations only when he or she knows the art of empathizing with their customers and understand their Basic, Performance and Excitement needs.

Customers don’t need our products or services!

One common mistake that we all do is to assume that our customers want more features and more product attributes. However, actually customers do not bother about these things at all.

Customers want products or services that get their Jobs Done. Failing to understand this, creates the mismatch of expectations. The art lies in deploying Outcome Driven Innovation. Provide them with features that get their functional, emotional or social work done, pain relievers that reduces their current state of dissatisfaction with whatever solutions exists and with gain creators that accentuates their current state of surprises and wows.

These are a few ways we believe can help deal rising customer expectations.

2. What are 3 important points to remember when creating a digital customer experience?

When creating a digital customer experience, simplicity should be the key. We need to flatten the learning curve to decrease the barriers of adoption. It should be a no-brainer, simple plug and play.
Let’s not ask people to do something that we ourselves will not do. Filling up a dozen fields for that meager free movie ticket doesn’t work anymore.
Lastly, let’s not chase our customers to death. Let’s stay with them to give them an experience. Personalization works but the key is to add that surprise element that our customers would love us for. It’s not about conversions only, it is about Customer Lifetime Value and NPS.

3. What according to you will be the key trends in design thinking of the future?

Design Thinking revolutionizes the way solutions are built. The key trends will be not to solve problems, but to find them. And that is possible when the Design Thinking minds ask ‘Why’ more often than ‘How’ and ‘What.’
The other aspect is that disruption needs controlled chaos. The belief that it is ok to make mistakes will find the way. Fail early, fail cheap will be the key to succeed.
Design Thinking, since it is human centered, will find ways to create meaning and that in turn will forge meaningful experiences and products / services for our Customers.

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