Do Your Services Bring Enough Value to Your Customers?

by Wayne Simmons and Keary Crawford

To keep up with the undeniable shift away from product driven economies to service-based economies, companies must quickly and strategically refocus their offerings and value propositions.  A company’s reputation for delivering compelling services and service experiences sends a strong signal of quality and value that can retain customers and attract non-customers. With service innovation, companies can move beyond products that can be easily copied, to create multiple new ways to interact, serve and create value in the eyes of customers.

Let’s take a closer look at one of the most prominent “service innovator” in the country – USAA. Founded in 1922 by a group of U.S. Army officers, USAA has long been recognized for its exceptional service to active military and Veterans with a diversified financial, insurance and investment service platform.  USAA has embraced technology and promotes self-services to provide compelling experiences and deliver value at the levels of quality, utility and agility necessary to retain and attract its members. For example, in 2006 USAA was the first banking company to give customers the ability to deposit checks remotely from home, using a flatbed scanner directly to the USAA website.  Today, Deposit@Home® accounts for 25% of USAA check deposits today.

Nonetheless, during the height of the recession in 2009, USAA introduced another service feature powered by advanced technology – the remote deposit feature using a downloadable USAA iPhone app called Deposit@Mobile®.  Unlike other competitors, the deposited funds are available immediately. The App allows members to access their insurance, banking and investment accounts from anywhere, which ultimately increased the functionality of the traditional online banking experience.

In 2010, USAA focused on integrating services in order to take member experience to the next level by creating “Member Experience”.  This new organization restructured the call centers away from individual lines of businesses to more integrated services around members’ life events (buying a home, car, birth of a baby, retirement).   That same year, USAA launched AutoCircle™ and HomeCircle™.  Both products offer members a one-stop online or mobile access to research, find, finance and insure a new car or home. USAA now receives more contacts through its mobile service than through customer service.

By fundamentally rethinking how they interact with, serve and deliver value to its members, USAA membership base has grown from 8 million in 2010 to 9.1 million in 2012.  USAA accentuates the significance of service innovation in pursuit of defensible competitive advantages needed to drive sustainable business growth.

  • Is your company focused on creating compelling experiences?
  • Can you dynamically provision services based on customer demand?
  • Should you deliver your services through public, private or hybrid clouds?
  • Is your “IT stack” robust enough to offer for-fee services?

image credit: growthstrategy.com

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    Growth Thinking - Emerging Markets and GPIWayne Simmons is an accomplished executive, innovator, value creator, and entrepreneur and co-author of GrowthThinking: Building the New Growth Enterprise. As CEO and Co-Founder of The Growth Strategy Company, Wayne leads the vision, strategy and growth of the company. He has worked for global advisory firms Ernst & Young, Deloitte Consulting, and has been a trusted advisor to C-level executives at Fortune 500 corporations, venture capital firms, and small and midsized companies. Wayne was trained in airborne reconnaissance for US Army Intelligence; and is an alumnus and Fellow of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

    Growth Thinking - Emerging Markets and GPI Keary Crawford is a results-driven executive leader with extensive experience in operations, M&A and finance for start-up, entrepreneurial and middle-market companies. As co-founder and COO of The Growth Strategy Company, she manages the strategic growth and vision, and day-to-day operations; and is co-author of GrowthThinking: Building the New Growth Enterprise. Keary was trained in Behavioral and Social Sciences and is a Fellow and alumna of the Executive Development Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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  1. I work at Continuum and we help clients all over the world design better services. Consumers have more choices than ever today, so providing outstanding service is critical. See our 2012 Service Design Report: The Anatomy of Convenience… http://continuuminnovation.com/the-anatomy-of-convenience-continuums-2012-service-design-report/

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