the service gaZette
ustomers hire services and products to do a certain job. Once people spot a job in their life they start looking for a solution, an offering that helps them to get the job done. Which offering they eventually hire often depends on the circumstances in which the job occurs.
BVG & S-Bahn (Local public transport including overground, underground, trams and buses) “Get me to my destination during rush hour with a predictable time of arrival.“ characteristics: cheap, simple, passenger role, reliable, independent of traffic and weather
On a relaxed Friday evening a user might hire ‘Netflix’ for the job of entertainment. On another occasion the same user might prefer going to the cinema as their friends also have time on the same evening. The better a potential solution fits to the customer’s circumstances or specific context, the more likely she is going to hire it.
Taxi & uber (Chauffeur services) “Get me to the airport in the very early morning, but allow me to sleep as long as possible and save me time.” characteristics: convenient, a little luxury, private space, individual route, door-to-door, hassle-free
Customers are – as much as time and attention allows – constantly re-evaluating the performance of their hired solutions, especially for jobs that reoccur often. E. g. Is there maybe a new offering that does my job faster, more reliably, for less money with less effort? Besides these functional criteria, social and emotional aspects are considered, too. E. g. How does it make me feel? How will I be perceived by others? A few years back the most common way to get around in Berlin was either driving a privatively owned car, taking a cab or using the excellent public transport system. Now, the emergence of better connected services and customers allows more distinguished offerings for more narrow contexts to flourish. The job of getting from A to B within the city remains the same, but the context in which the job occurs leads to different services being hired to get it done. Following is an overview of Berlin’s most popular urban mobility services with their characteristics and examples of context of use …
car2go & Drive Now (on-demand, free-floating car rental services) “Get me to my destination during an off-peak time of the day when I have something to carry that’s too uncomfortable for public transport. Or when I want to upgrade myself.” characteristics: Independence, in control, around the corner moment, cheaper than taxi Flinkster & CiteeCar (station-based, prebooked car sharing services) “Get me out of the city with my family over the weekend.” characteristics: Reliable, planned, in control, guaranteed availability Call a Bike & Next Bike (station-based bike rental services) “Get me to work on a beautiful day when there is little time pressure” characteristics: physical activity, being outside, independent of streets and traffic, almost direct eMio (electric scooter rental service) “Get me and my partner to the brunch date with friends quickly.” characteristics: Agile, dynamic, eco-friendly, autonomous, in control, almost direct
A Service for a very Moment: Customer jobs & contexts of Berlin’s urban mobility by hannes Jentsch & martin Jordan
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All mentioned offers will solve the need of getting from A to B, but only one solution will tick more boxes and answer jobs related to a specific situation. To really understand a problem space, it is necessary to clearly describe the context of the customer’s situation. Taking a closer look and explicitly articulating contexts will not only help to clarify requirements towards a solution, but also to communicate them better. A situation can be deconstructed in various dimensions of contexts. Examining the When, Where, Who and What is a first structured approach to investigate contexts: When does it happen: season, day of the week, holiday, shortly leaving the house, noon, at sunset (also reoccurrences and patterns) Where does it happen: rural or urban spaces, indoor, outdoor, an unknown area, home, work, a cinema, an expensive restaurant, a shopping district Who is involved: alone, with friends, on a date, only a few or many people around What happens: talking, walking, carrying sth. heavy, weather conditions, traffic conditions Further insights can be delivered by looking at what actions were taken before and what is projected to happen after. Extracting all of this will lead to a deeper understanding of the customer’s motivations and anxieties. Service creators need to have clear vision and understanding of the context of their offering’s usage. Especially in crowded markets where various solutions are competing with each other to get hired by the customer to get her job done, a sharpened view on context can become essential to compete and thrive. Context knowledge will become the cornerstone to a new service’s success.
Hannes Jentsch is a freelance senior UX designer and UX lead. He works on product strategy and design for innovative digitial services. Martin Jordan helps organisations to create value with people and services that matter. He works at Nokia’s here. Besides, he is doing an mba in Espoo, fin.
Published on Nov 13, 2015
‘The Service Gazette’ is a new print publication for service innovators. It is published biannually. Its first issue discusses the topic ‘st...