In the field of entrepreneurship, the word management takes a special meaning. More than a set of procedures carried out to solve issues; management in business implies methodology or a work plan that details step by step all the activities to be followed in each phase of the life cycle of the processes.
Among the many processes that companies deal with in their day to day – and especially in the regards of technology-; we find innovation management.
According to Gartner, innovation management is a business discipline that aims to promote a process or culture of sustainable innovation within an organization.
In other words; Organizations use innovation management as a tool that promotes competitiveness and progress in different scenarios to exert influence and accelerate innovation and technological changes.
And among the areas that benefit the most from the innovation management, customer services occupies a prominent place. We invite you to discover why, and to apply some tips to enhance the management of innovation to put it at the service of your customers.
Innovation Management and Customer Services
Nowadays, customers have evolved at the same pace as technology. Traditional customer profiles have been reconfigured and now; users of older generations also demand innovation: More and better connection channels with their favorite brands. Applications to know the status of their requests. Ecommerce served by trained agents, but not necessarily human trained agents.
However, not all innovations are for all customers, companies and possibilities. This is where innovation management comes into scene to underpin change towards new technologies that truly satisfy all the involved parties.
The most successful strategy for innovation management is using tips that help to establish a data collection methodology.
In this sense, the client’s opinion is collected from a hetero-administered questionnaire and; based on their results, companies determine which are the most suitable technological solutions for them. Based on these data, the management of innovation in the company is promoted and proposed like this:
1. Proposing possible technological strategies
In the vast catalog of technological options available in the market; there will always be two or three that stand out for their convenience and alignment with your particular business objectives.
So, this generalized panorama must include the technological resources that the company needs to serve its internal and external clients. In addition, it is necessary to take into consideration which technological tools can be acquired and adopted in the short; medium and long term, depending on the potential needs of all parties involved.
With the innovation management for customer services, companies adopt and execute policy decisions; such as plans and actions that lead to creation; dissemination and use of technology. So the next question is, how would you do to achieve it?
Tip 1. Use automated forms to poll opinions
First of all, design a short interview. A simple form with a maximum of 5 key questions is enough to identify the need related to the product or service to be innovated.
Next, carefully define your customer’s participation; and include the most heterogeneous and diverse group of individuals within each type of client (internal; external; habitual; eventual; etc.).
Then, use the questionnaire and group the results by age groups and interests. This action will give you a clear idea of which technological tools among your pre-selection you should apply; and its respective order.
2. Use criteria of Creativity and Innovation
Creativity is a fundamental tool in the innovation process because it collaborates with the development of improvement strategies in decision-making; and at the same time, it manages to make the organization more open and receptive to the changing environment.
Creativity differs from innovation in the fact that creativity acts only for the generation of ideas; while innovation refers to the processes that lead to the development of those ideas in pursuit of the expected benefit. In short, creativity is the origin of all innovation.
Tip 2. Sift the results
Again, automated forms are really helpful. Although entrepreneurs and researchers are more interested in measurable data to identify ideas; the truth is that in the suggestions; anecdotes and seemingly irrelevant comments may also yield interesting data for the purpose of generating ideas.
With this in mind, you should include in your form a subjective question like “Describe the ideal performance of this or that product, service or application”.
Subsequently, your duty will be to regroup the information in related ideas (categorization); and translate the results into points of improvement of the product or service.
3. Apply principles of Benchmarking and Competitive Intelligence
Although both concepts are closely related to direct selling and marketing; the truth is that they also provide valuable information for the management of innovation.
On the one hand, benchmarking establishes a comparison process that evaluates the performance and success of a company’s processes in relation to its closest competitors.
Through this practice, metrics focus on the search and design of good practices. They allow you to qualify processes; highlight the advantages and identify the weaknesses of your proposals to establish ways of continuous improvement where innovation is a fundamental part.
On the other hand, competitive intelligence establishes the same evaluation and qualification pattern; but focused on the closest competitors. In few words, with benchmarking you evaluate your strategies and position in the market; while with competitive intelligence you evaluate those of your competitors.
Through these two processes; you establish a pattern and a complete panorama that allows you to use the gathered information to adjust your strategies towards the achievement of your business objectives.
Likewise, this panorama helps you to establish the most appropriate innovation management processes for your purposes within your business sector.
Tip 3. Organize the results
Once you have applied; sifted and categorized the results of the interviews; establish a priority order in terms of relevance; importance; and degree of satisfaction that each aspect of the product or customer service currently meets.
As you organize these data, you will facilitate the innovation management in interest groups that can be accommodated over time, depending on other variables that may intervene within the process. And speaking of such variables…
4. Merge Technological Projects Management with Innovation Management
Consequently, the management of technological projects aims to install or implement a technological product with that bring profound changes in the work processes.
For this reason they are also known as profound changes: They directly impact over the staff’s attitudes and behavior; and in the environment where the product or service should operate.
Also, it is in the management of technological projects where human and organizational factors consolidate and make easier the success of the organization in general. In consequence, all these aspects must be submitted to project management throughout their life cycle to ensure the desired success.
Now, the innovation management of innovation is the previous step towards the management of technological projects. Therefore, its objectives must be to obey the complex and composite nature of the Technological Projects Management.
In this sense, interaction will continue because such changes will restructure the internal customer service; which eventually will impact over the external client.
Tip 4. Use the results to launch innovation
Last but not least, the results also serve to you to discover areas of opportunity for the implementation/launching the innovative product or service; as well as to improve it and/or apply a better segmentation to determine the target population who will try a first version of such innovation.
With all these tips, you can integrate and shape the thoughts; concerns and opinions of your users whether internal or external to integrate the innovations that best suit for them, your company and your possibilities.
In this way, you will get more out of the innovation management to improve customer services and the quality of your valuable propositions. If you want to deepen in customer service and attention, contact us! At GB Advisors we have the experience you need to carry out your technological processes applied to the innovation management, and knowledge transfer. Write us here for more details.