Giving service experiences steroids to consume less stuff!
Mapping and visualizing the expressive and emotional value-in-use of products promises to be a interesting approach to delivering greater value in services. Research at AHO is starting this investigation.
It is suggested that a move to servitisation could help consumers to change from the environmentally costly use of products to services that offer the same levels of value. It would negate the need of companies to be constantly tempting consumers to buy new stuff to remain profitable, where new features and upgrades could be offered through the services they offer.
Meroni and Sangiorgi (2013) suggest that this could offer a ‘revolution in efficiency’ and it could even save us money. A recent article in Wfteconomy entitled; ‘I don't own I own I Uber’, suggested that car ownership costs more than twice as much as using Uber in the course of the year. Plus with Uber you’re chauffer driven!
All good, but how do we get consumers to make the switch?
CSI Partner Live Work who is one the worlds leading service design agencies has recently published a series of white papers on the subject. They suggest the move from products to services will demand a mind-set change for both consumers and business alike but with consumers predominantly interested in value in use this move will be possible.
However where Service Dominant Logic might suggest that there is no real difference between products and services as both offer ‘Value in Use’ there is no getting away from the fact that we have been programmed to own and unfortunately the service alternative is not always as good an experience as owning.
But what if we tried to understand from the consumers point of view, the value in use created through ownership of products and then designed for service experiences that are not just as good but better?
So this is exactly what we tried to do in a preliminary project that would map value in use for a BMW owner and then give that experience steroids in a service solution.
To do this we mapped out a customer’s experience (in this case a middle aged guy with 2 kids) of using their beloved BMW. We visualized several scenarios of value in use. Some scenarios we deemed functional and utilitarian whilst others experiential and expressive.
To understand what type of value being delivered from using the car, we assessed experience at each touchpoint; sense of freedom, convenience, comfort, self-expression to name but a few.
What was interesting was to see the customer journey unfold in use of the product over time and then to go into what kinds of emotional value was created. We then had a basis to know what kind of experiences to design for in the service offering that would replace the product. This approach also helped us to make the creative leap to think of better experiences to deliver to the customer.
2 scenarios were focused on. One was the common scenario of having to suddenly drive to the local store to buy milk and bread late at night for kids’ breakfasts the day after. The other was the scenario of having a weekend away for the parents without the kids. In both scenarios we really tried to boost the experience.
Instead of driving to the store late at night, how about a partner in BMW’s imagined actor network deliver you fresh crusty bread and milk on your doorstep the next day in a nice BMW bag?
Instead of driving your 7-seater family BMW to the hotel, how about being given the option of three alternative routes to your destination each one with a recommended car that will heighten your experience! A sporty 2-seater or even a classic from the 1970’s. Perhaps BMW could also work with their imagined music streaming service that recommends the perfect playlist for your perfect car as you drive along that coastal route. Out of that family car parents get a break from being parents and feel ‘Cool’! BMW are able to deliver more experiential value through this kind of imagined service.
This was just a limited design trial and obviously for such solutions to be viable many different scenarios would have to be mapped for many different user groups, technical challenges solved and subscription fees resolved amongst many other things. However we presented the work recently at the Medinge conference at Esade Business school in Barcelona to much interest and a fruitful conversation on how we can make such solutions work.
Further work is being planned for the Autumn when we hope to work with partners to do much more comprehensive mapping with several different user groups.
Perhaps in the future consuming less could be about experiencing more!