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You have heard this enough now. The era of the customer, the consumer at the centre and good experiences at all points of contact. Customer service must be improved, customer loyalty programmes introduced, we must automate services and become more efficient in the way we work. And, of course, we must have a robot that welcomes everyone at reception.

Pulling your hair out? You are not alone.

Customers feel that technology and the future have come a little too close for comfort, and that the skeletons are rattling in the server cabinet. They want new solutions, quickly. Their competitors overtake them, and there is little time. The pace is high, money is flying out the window. But then something maybe happens that they’re not expecting when dealing with a technology supplier like Knowit.

We say stop.

Wait a bit. Rewind. Take a deep breath. Sit back and relax. It is not more technology you need – you need better focus. We will take it from there.

If you want a major digital transformation, the most important thing to do is get the right information to allow you to make a decision. You know that you have some outdated technology and solutions. But do you actually know what your customers want – and what your employees need in order to do a better job and enjoy their work more than they are today?

The answer is rarely more digital tools or fancy apps. Equally, most people shy away from spending more time at the bank or the store.

The reality?

The digital patchwork you have been offering for a good while is no longer warm enough. We consumers want to spend less time and be more efficient where we are. But we tend to spend more money and work more when we are actually present, as long as it is easy and simple to make it happen.

An important element in developing new digital services is obviously analysing and assessing technological platforms that already exist: What should be discarded, what can be improved and what must be renewed?

However, before the technical and financial analysis is carried out, there is a more important task concerning the people you want to offer services, products and create a better working day for.

We call this insight.

Insight is about knowing who is going to use the services, how they will reach you and not your competitors. It is about re-familiarising yourself with your customers. 

A customer is not a “Woman in Western Norway (35–55 years of age) with a high income and two children”. The customer could be Ingrid (36), a lawyer at a large company in Bergen with one child in primary school and one in kindergarten. She is married, and her husband is just as busy in his job as she is. Time constraints are a reality from morning to night. There is rarely enough time for proper conversations with the children, and keep-fit classes must be squeezed in between football training for the eldest girl and coffee mornings at kindergarten.

Ingrid is not that concerned about whether she can save 34 kroner on a supermarket shop. Her focus is on the 34 minutes she can save in the store and the 27 minutes it takes to make a delicious dinner with fresh vegetables and organic meat – without this being at the expense of quality.

How do we arouse Ingrid's interest in shopping with us? Shall we do what everybody else does and offer a customer loyalty programme, or shall we explore the landscape and see whether we can create a lasting change for Ingrid?

At Knowit we prefer the latter.

How can we tell which services are relevant to Ingrid? We must familiarise ourselves with her entire life situation. As designers, we do this by observing and reliving the same time constraints together with her and others in similar situations.

We follow her from early in the morning when the children are about to leave; we sit with her in the rush-hour traffic and run with her in the corridors at the office between meetings and lunchtime appointments before continuing towards home for the school run, dinner and, finally, brushing teeth with her children.

Can we find any opportunity or gaps in her schedule that can be developed into a new idea or service that will really change how Ingrid manages her life?

Innovation happens through practice and iterations: We will test ideas and proposals for new services – again and again – on different target groups until we know that we have a product that will appeal to the market. 

In a mobility project for one of our customers, we are testing how to book and borrow electric cars in Amsterdam using an app. 

 

We are testing what it’s like to be a cyclist in Oslo with a punctured rear tyre and little time on your hands. 

For us at Knowit this is the way of creating the products and services of the future. People and life come before technology. The digital world should support actual experiences and make life easier for most people. 

We believe that the digital and technological choices companies make today will determine who survives the next 5–10 years. The focus on who will use your services and how you should offer the best experiences will define the winners in the digital race we are all part of.

Would you like to get to know your customers better? We know how. 

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