Business Management
5 min read

How to spot promising new opportunities during service design

Franck Louveau
Written by

The hospitality and service industry involves developing and adapting solutions and services that create better value and user experience –services that improve customers' satsifaction, thus quality of life. One of the best ways to achieve this is through service design with processes like rigorous service concept validation. However, you must identify an opportunity or gap in market first before designing a service as the solution. You must be able to identify the best opportunities and develop the best and most viable solutions with service excellence at the core of your service design.

After aligning your vision and goals with the service you want to deliver, identifying opportunities or loopholes from which you can develop concepts or solutions is the second key activity during service design. These opportunities are tied to customers' needs in the market. While opportunities are limitless, and anyone can identify and utilize them, success depends on finding the new and most promising ones. Opportunities that will make customers see you as a viable and indispensable service provider to their needs.

The issue is that not everyone can identify and take advantage of these opportunities. It's even more challenging when you are interested and want to discover and venture into a new field –it requires inspiration and extensive research to increase your chances of success.  But, that doesn't have to be the case with you. With the proper knowledge and tips, you can find the best places or areas to channel your investment, design and implement an effective service, succeed and have a lucrative bottom line.

Then how do I find these opportunities? How and where do I get started? Don't Worry!

In this article, we explore various ways you can find new promising opportunities when venturing into a new field.

Let's get into it!

1. Set Your Vision and Goals

Before you do anything else, you must set a clear vision and goals of what you want to achieve. Otherwise, you'll just be undertaking a vain project that will end up wasting your time and resources. This is where you pose the idea to your teammates, informing them of whatever you aim to accomplish based on customer needs. To achieve this, it's essential to think of an opportunity or service that aligns with the company's overall goals, vision, and mission.

2.    Explore Brand New Horizons

Now that you have a clear picture of what you want to achieve, the next thing is to gather with every team member and communicate the idea to them. Generate hypotheses and assumptions around the needs and behaviors of your defined audience group or target customers, and develop or propose solutions that could help address these needs. You can use various hypothesis testing methods such as what if provocations or how might we statements to develop a workable hypothesis using hypothesis generation tools.

This stage involves brainstorming ideas and shaping solutions to address the existing customer needs by combining existing knowledge and assumptions around the market niche you want to venture in, clustering the emerging hypothesis into key assumptions and initial concepts to be verified as the research proceeds. Remember, allow everyone to participate and pitch their ideas.

3.    Conduct a Field Study

It's your target customers or audience's needs that present the new promising opportunities you want to find. Therefore, you have to engage on a one-on-one level. Plan a field study to learn more about your target audience. That way, you'll get additional ideas to help challenge, validate, or refine the initial hypothesis.

Using a well-defined research plan, you can then refine your goals, vision, and methodologies for your research. You can also find the best recruitment strategy to find the right participants, key locations, and a timeline for your project. The success of your research or project depends on your creativity when recruiting participants –the secret is to recruit and engage highly-motivated and responsive participants. Social platforms and online traces can help achieve this. Your recruitment strategy shouldn't violate any legal and ethical considerations.

The research plan helps clearly define every detail of your research, including goals, research methodology(s), timeline, location, participant types, and participant recruitment methods or tools. After determining your research methodologies and recruitment strategy, you can proceed to work out all the logistic details required to conduct the fieldwork.

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4.    Turn the Assumptions into Questions

At this stage, the hypothesis is well-refined and in place. It's now time to develop it further and turn it into questions for research in the field. While there are various research methodologies you can use to gather information or data from your target audience, in-depth interviewing is one of the best techniques whenever you're conducting research aimed at understanding user values, met or unmet needs, and less known or unknown behaviors, and patterns.

You can liken this stage to the market analysis stage of the service design process. To have a successful exercise, you must engage your participants and keep them highly motivated through hands-on activities, especially when dealing with abstract or sensitive topics. Write down a detailed and well-articulated interview guide or discussion guide, defining the structure for the individual interviews. It's common for interviews to stray or go in many different directions. That's where the interview guide comes in –it will help you remember everything you need to cover.

Using each participant's feedback, you'll be able to develop a deeper understanding of what they need. You'll refine your study and identify more gaps in the market, thus better and more promising opportunities.

5.    Establish Personas

After a successful field study, it's now time to map out your insights and the key differences in the participants' behaviors you identified. This process will help you create a user profile based on how each will use the service and what their expectations are from you. You can use personas to group participants with similar characteristics and narrate stuff about them. Each persona is a reference model representative that captures different participant behaviors. Clustering will also help you comprehensively tell their details like approach, needs, problems, and potentially their experiences with similar or alternative services in the market.

The best way to go about creating user profiles or personas is to build a four-by-four map to display the different personas to help explain by highlighting their main differences. That way, you can easily and effectively tailor solutions to match everyone's needs and establish dominance in your market niche. To come up with an effective four-by-four map:

  • Develop different personality types or user profiles for all the participants.
  • Consider every user's needs, problems, and experience(s) with existing services, and endow these traits accordingly.
  • List down the users' intentions of using your service. Also, do so for when they have other options. That's where you find an opportunity.

6.    Develop the Best Strategy to Move Forward

You already know that there is a gap in the market that you can fill with your service. The next thing is to develop a service concept, validate it, and test it before launching it fully into the market. But we aren't entirely there yet. You need to translate the needs and behaviors of the participants into design opportunities and start generating ideas for the new service.

The best way to go about this is to build a detailed offering map with all the merged opportunities.  This map is a starting point for developing ideas under each opportunity. It helps give an overview of all the options you have for developing the solutions. The map also enables you to reflect on the overall strategy, allowing you to make necessary changes before further incorporating more ideas or developing one specific opportunity.

There are no limitations when it comes to presenting your ideas on the offering map –you can present them in whichever way is convenient and easy enough for you and your teammates to understand. It can be in words, images, or graphs. You can refine and narrow ideas further as services become more complex.

The Bottom Line

It's impossible to ignore the significance of service design in helping you, a service designer or manager, develop and deliver better services to target customers. To design these services, you must find new promising opportunities by conducting research and interacting with your target audience.

This article provides sufficient knowledge for finding new promising opportunities before designing and implementing, or adapting a service. Employing suitable design concepts and knowing how to identify new opportunities gives is highly beneficial. Your service idea has a 55% more chance of succeeding, according to a 2019 product manager survey from Gartner. You won't waste your precious time and resources on unfruitful projects. You can also generate 32% more revenue by adapting your service(s) to a new opportunity, according to UX Collective.

However, the steps might be overwhelming, especially if you lack expertise in service design. There's no need to worry. You can get in touch with us, EHL Advisory Services, today for all the help you need. We have 46 years of experience in service design and implementation.

Please don't hesitate to visit our website to learn how we can help innovate your processes and maximize your resources with tailor-made solutions.

 
Written by

Consultant - Service DNA at EHL Advisory Services

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Acquiring a new customer costs 7 times more than maintaining an existing one!

Whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, consultant, (Vice-)President, CxO, etc.... this seven-step process, you will have all the tools you need to make Customer Service Excellence work.