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Our 2018 Annual Review

Centre on your customer

In 2018, we showed the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world. And we highlighted how organisational agility unlocks this power. Our research found a key aspect to agility is centring on customers, something that’s been at the fore of our business model for 75 years.
 

Centre on your customer

What’s the biggest threat facing organisations in the next few years? Is it the competition? Is it technological change? Is it uncertainty in politics or scarce resources? All good answers – organisations do worry about these things. But their biggest concern is their customers. Nearly three-quarters of the leaders we talked to for our 2018 research on organisational agility said changing customer needs and expectations would be the biggest challenge facing them by 2023.

Now more than ever, organisations can’t ignore their customers’ experience for a second. Why? As individuals, we’re increasingly subject to what has become known as expectation transfer. That means if we have an ingenious experience in one aspect of our lives, we rapidly expect that to be the new norm, regardless of product or sector.

The bar has been set high, both by big names and smaller, disruptive and innovative brands. With simple and slick customer interfaces, contextual data and insight, and personalised interactions, they’ve made themselves super-relevant in our lives. These brands raise customer expectations and provide a new lens for what constitutes a good customer experience for everyone else. In an increasingly subscription-based world, that could have a big impact fast.

As customers have an ingenious experience in one aspect of their lives, they rapidly expect that to be the new norm, regardless of product or sector

Most organisations we talk to know they need to become more agile. Specifically, 7 out of 10 said it would be about being faster – faster at finding out what customers want, faster at getting new products and services to market, and faster at getting a grip on new technologies. They must become part of their customers’ universe, understanding the individuals and organisations that inspire them. This is a new reality we call Customer 4.0.

7/10 organisations said agile is about being faster

Whether you’re an established heavyweight, or a disruptive digital native, the central challenge is the same. You need your own ingenious ways of creating value for customers and helping them achieve the outcomes they’re after – and all this while keeping the day-to-day plates spinning to stay on top of business as usual. For many, it will mean learning to reinvent and reorganise themselves.

Who is your customer? What do they want and how can you help them get it? Alongside these questions, there’s another one to answer: how do you find your way into their world, now that it’s no longer just a case of enticing them into yours?

Think why, not what

Plotting customers’ buying habits used to be a good way to find out what to sell them next. But now the magic piece of knowledge isn’t so much what they’re buying but why they’re buying it. We’ve worked with a major financial services company on how to stay relevant and hold on to market share. Among other things, it’s meant looking at why customers are in the market. They want savings accounts, but are they saving to send their children to university, buy a house or fund a comfortable retirement? The answers hold the key to insights about what goals are driving customers’ behaviour, and what the business can do to help.

Data analytics makes this increasingly possible. We’ve helped an airline integrate and analyse data from different sources to challenge assumptions about their customers. By scrutinising frequent flyer and booking data alongside complaints and satisfaction surveys, we built a clearer view of customer segments that highlighted a previously unknown £35 million revenue opportunity.

Explore the universe

The customer’s universe has three zones that can influence how they go about achieving their goals.

The authority zone is full of organisations that set the rules, like regulators.

The advisory zone is made up of organisations offering free or paid-for advice to fit customers’ specific circumstances, whether it’s independent financial advisors giving information on mortgages or Citizens Advice centres helping with debts.

The advocacy zone comprises formal or informal contacts who influence how customers feel about what’s in the market. Bloggers, celebrities or business associates all make up this space, along with friends, colleagues and the reviews of online strangers.

Mapping how you create value for your customer means exploring all these layers. Only then can you enter your customer’s universe. When we helped a public sector client redesign their business model, we mapped all these forces to show how customers came to use and recommend their service. The insights led us, among other things, to cut the time between signing up for the service and using it. This helped drive a threefold increase in users.

So, as well as segmenting customers by demographics and postcodes, you must probe what outcomes they’re looking for – and organise around them. Only then can you hope to centre on your customers in the way truly ingenious organisations do.

Our client work in action

Picture of ING

ING

Planning to become the leading financial services platform through powerful innovation

ING

Planning to become the leading financial services platform through powerful innovation

As specialists in innovation, we’re working with global bank ING to help them innovate for future success. Our work spans everything from exploring ways to improve the bank’s core business to nurturing emerging businesses that will help make ING the go-to platform for financial services.

On top of this, we’re helping ING discover completely new business opportunities ‘beyond banking’. These could see the bank collaborating with a range of very different organisations to offer services that help customers stay one step ahead. As banking takes on a bold, new direction, we’re helping ING chart a clear course through an unfamiliar landscape.

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Picture of Norwegian municipal authorities

Norwegian municipal authorities

Creating efficient and effective public services by sharing a bold vision

Norwegian municipal authorities

Creating efficient and effective public services by sharing a bold vision

In Norway local authorities are collaborating to improve services. They want to make them as user-friendly and efficient as possible for residents and for staff – but within tighter budgets. Four municipalities in mid-Norway asked us to work with them to set out their ambitions and how to achieve them.

With evidence on what residents and staff wanted, we worked with management teams to establish a detailed shared vision. That included the type of services to offer, their priorities, how to organise themselves and how IT could support their plans. Having established these priorities, we created a comprehensive roadmap of future projects to achieve them. That included recommendations for re-organisation so they could provide services cost-efficiently.

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St Andrew’s Healthcare

Blazing a trail for mental health care by prioritising patients’ needs

St Andrew’s Healthcare

Blazing a trail for mental health care by prioritising patients’ needs

We’ve helped put the UK’s biggest mental health charity, St Andrew’s Healthcare, on the road to improving care by re-organising it around patients. They’re the first mental health care provider that has adopted value-based healthcare holistically, which measures success based on outcomes for patients, not its own activity.

Groups of specialist wards are now responsible for care plans and budgets in a move away from top-down management and bureaucratic decision-making. We designed the system of Integrated Practice Units (IPUs), helped recruit their new leaders and supported teams through the culture change needed to become autonomous. The IPUs are at different stages of development planned to take two years. But already there are significant positive results.

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