Service concept

How to validate a Service Concept during Service Design: 5-step guide

You conducted your research through interviews, questionnaires or surveys. All data is in order. You’ve researched and analyzed everything you have, identifying patterns, themes, and customer challenges that your service can solve. The next step is to determine how valuable what you are doing is in helping solve the problem at hand and how it resonates with your target customers. Does the service correspond to the market niche in which you wish to venture? How will it behave against its competitors? What do your target customers think of the service? These are the basics of a service proof of concept process.

A service concept is an essential entity of service design because it clearly articulates the value and results of whatever you are trying to convey. In the hospitality and service industry, it is essential to describe the needs of the customer and other stakeholders and how the content of the service you offer guarantees their satisfaction. According Johnson and Clark, a service concept is more emotional than a business model, deeper than a brand, goes beyond a good idea, and more concrete than a mere vision. When validated and implemented correctly, it can bring employees and customers closer together, create business advantage and improve results.

Hear the target audience or interpret their intent

When we test the validity of a service in the market, we are likely to assumptions and biases. We go out and listen to target users. You hear words exactly as users say them, but you end up interpreting those words differently. Most people are required to make assumptions about what users meant, which leads to misconceptions. This is why proof of concept is important.

Once you have the concept in place, it is important to validate it effectively to get rid of any assumptions and biases you may have about customer needs. Validation of the service concept is an essential step in achieving service excellence in your hotel business.

Proof of concept also saves you unnecessary budget risk, boosts focus, and increases the chances of achieving your goal of delivering successful customer service. It remains to be seen how best to validate a service concept.

This article explores different ways and best practices to validate a service concept and ensure that your customers get nothing but the best service. But let’s take a look at the various benefits of proof of concept of service.

Why is service concept validation important?

Proof of concept has various advantages:

  • It allows you to develop a detailed understanding of your customers and what they think of your service before launching it in the market.
  • Proof of concept also gives you the opportunity to identify various directions and potential scenarios for undertaking the necessary improvements to make your service more attractive to users and more ready for the market.
  • It’s a way to reach consumers. You are able to determine what works, what would work with the necessary changes, and what would not work at all and should be removed altogether. By doing so, you are able to optimize your concepts by focusing on the areas that matter before launching your service to market.
  • This saves you the budgetary risks of launching and re-launching a service while increasing your chances of successfully implementing a viable service to your target customers with minimal chance of failure since you already have tested and refined its relevance and market acceptance.

5 steps to validate a service concept during service design

1. Look at the concept of service from different angles

A service concept may imply different value propositions depending on how you work and transform the underlying product, concept or technology into a specific service solution tailored to a particular audience. The first thing to do when validating a service concept is to explore each value proposition as if it were unique and independent of one another, considering how the overall development of the service might support each specific direction. This way you can draw several potential scenarios for the concept and organizations and create a basis for further evaluation.

There are different ways to successfully find different solutions for different scenarios in this situation. One of them is to have each potential value proposition on its own reference material like a board or poster, with potential benefits and obstacles from each direction. Such an arrangement makes it possible to work on each proposal independently before merging all the solutions into one at the end.

2. Identify a sample of participants

Research is the basis for formulating the solution to your customers’ needs. It is through interviews, questionnaires, or surveys that you get to know the challenges customers face and tailor your solution to address those issues. During proof of concept, you can align with your target users and teammates. Use a recruiter to identify the right participants.

Several factors such as market trends, competitor positioning, and internal organizational factors must be considered when deciding on the value proposition, strategic service direction, and proof of concept. In addition to this, it is also essential to test and validate the potential of each value proposition vis-à-vis the target users. By doing so, you can bring exciting discoveries about things like the challenges the target audience is facing, what might deter them from adopting the service, how much they are willing to pay for the service, and many more. However, working with a large number, say 200 people, could be difficult. A carefully selected sample of 10 to 20 participants is sufficient to validate your service concept.

Participants will essentially test the service. You can decide to apply alpha or beta testing. With alpha testing, you can use internal employees or team members to test the service. Alpha testing is useful for eliminating idiosyncrasies or problems in the service concept before involving external target users in beta testing.

3. Explain all your options to participants

The validation process cannot continue if the participants are not aware of what is happening. Once you have the right service proof of concept participants, the next step is to show them what you’re trying to accomplish – your service as a solution to their problems. Describe a potential user scenario and outline the parts of the service that you think could fit the scenario. A presentation of the concept and storyboards are some of the most popular tools you can use to give attendees an imaginary tour of the service concept.

Take your time to explain everything to the participants. The best practice is to first clarify the context of use before explaining the steps to put them in the condition of understanding and evaluating the proposed concept. If you have multiple scenarios or different applications of the same service in your idea bag, take the time to work out all the directions. Please pay attention to feedback from participants as they will tell you what might work and what needs to be refined.

Explaining and clarifying your ideas to the public is a particularly important step in designing services for the B2B market, where it is often more difficult to understand how the service can be integrated into a larger workflow and more effectively support specific activities. .

4. Collect and analyze your findings

The feedback and feedback you got from the previous process forms the basis of your conclusions. Once you’re done, it’s time to bring everything you’ve learned back to the rest of the team for further analysis and decision-making. It is good practice to have daily debriefing sessions to help shape emerging directions as you move forward. You can use a synthetic wall for this purpose. This way you have an ongoing process where subsequent sessions are continually building on the results of previous sessions.

Thanks to the analysis, you will better understand and learn more about the profiles of the various profiles involved. From the analysis of the results, you can learn about cross-cutting challenges and changes in different contexts.

Do not be biased when presenting results or findings to avoid distorting the service. Depending on the results, some of the initial directions will prove interesting – these can be ignored or investigated further. Others will likely be confirmed and cleared for further development. If you encounter big obstacles that can jeopardize the success of the service concept, feel free to raise a flag and even pause the ongoing development process to remember.

5. Propose one or more meaningful use cases

Your search results may produce a variety of relevant results usage scenarios. These scenarios make it possible to federate the value propositions and the approaches identified and co-designed with the actors. At this point, you are at the end of your validation process. This is where the procedures should be explicitly communicated as a feasible and viable solution, in line with potential customer needs, organizational goals, and strategic perspectives.

Describe how the service will operate at each stage, from distribution to regular use and maintenance -this step transforms the initial direction from a simple potential into a tangible opportunity and process that welcomes all that has been gathered from the research.

Impact of service concept validation on the bottom line

Now that you are armed with the knowledge to validate your new service design concept, your concept is 55% more likely to succeed compared to concepts that do not go through the validation process. according to a 2019 survey of product managers from Gartner. Businesses that have a healthy cycle of implementing new service design improvements see more than a 25% increase in revenue, according to a McKinsey study.

Validating your service design concept is a crucial step in implementing any new service or adapting part of the service offering to create more value for the customer. However, if all of this seems too overwhelming, get professional help with your service design process. Get in touch with EHL Consulting Services today. We have 46 years of service design and implementation experience. Find out how we can help you innovate your processes and maximize your resources with tailored solutions.

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