Fit for purpose

31st Aug 2017

In the latest issue of Customer Focus, we spoke with Tom Wormald, MD of Deliberata. As the sister organisation to The Institute of Customer Service, Deliberata works with businesses to help them design customer service experiences that improve performance and save money.

Wormald says that, for many businesses, a better approach to personalisation is key. Here are some of our top takeaways from his comments. 

Avoid unhelpful segmentation
“What I’m increasingly seeing is that, while there can often be a form of segmentation that can be applied, I don’t think it stacks up in reality,” says Wormald. “When you try to impose segmentation, you just end up cutting people up into groups.”

The ambition of Deliberata is to look beyond all this; to bring back the notion of seeing a customer for what they actually want, rather than the type of person they might (or might not) be. “I think sometimes we forget that customers are trying to achieve something,” he says.

Focus on outcomes
“What we need to do is acknowledge that the reason why people make decisions is complex and dependent on the situation – we need to know what they want to achieve,” continues Wormald.

For example, he argues that there are probably 150 different reasons why people buy a pair of shoes. What he says brands need to do is narrow this long list down to around 50, and then – perhaps controversially – the brand needs to decide which of these it actually stands for, and which of them it doesn’t. “This will help companies focus on what outcomes customers want to achieve,” he says.

Use the data available now
The good news is that Wormald believes many organisations actually have a lot of the data they need to use to start thinking about customers in this way.

“Say you’ve got two people living on a housing association estate,” he explains. “The fence between their houses has blown down. Person A might be worried about their prize roses and so wants it fixed straight away. Person B might also want it fixed immediately, but they might be worried about security, because they’ve got kids. That’s the two different reasons people have about the same required outcome – in this case, a new fence. The point is, the person they call at the housing association probably knows one of them is a family, and so it shouldn’t be such a leap of the imagination for them to assess why a resolution is needed.

“So, as well as good data, what we really need is empowerment for the agent, so that they can deliver an intuitive service that meets their customers’ needs – or wants.”

Ask the right questions
“Ultimately, what I want to do with Deliberata is help organisations see the things they didn’t know they needed to ask customers,” he concludes. “This allows them to see themselves and their markets as the customer sees them and takes much of the uncertainty and risk out of decisions over where to invest or where to cut costs on big questions like personalisation. Understand where customers feel under-served and you know where investing in new kinds of services will deliver a positive return. Or, on the flip side, know where customers feel over-served and you know where you can safely automate processes, achieving efficiency without taking away things customers care about. It’s about the win-win situation.”

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