Service Designer Graham Harvey says passion in the workplace is behind all the ideas, products and services that are out there
How much do you know about customer experience? If you want to have a very successful business, it’s time to put some passion into it.
Customer experience is everything these days and Graham Harvey is in the business of creating spectacular ones. His specialty is service design.
Graham reveals that smart companies like Google use employee’s passion to their own advantage to create new services and products. Putting passion into their work allows people to experiment and try new things. These ideas create all the services and products.
‘It’s all about emotion.’ People buy things emotionally. Graham says that brands need to appeal both to customers’ rational side and, more importantly, to their emotional one.
When it comes to passion, Graham admits that it takes courage to pursue it. However, he says that it is the core of all innovations.
‘What worked? What didn’t work?’ Smart companies learn through failure and use it to fine-tune.
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Moustafa: Hello everyone and welcome back to Passion Sundays – the best way to end a week and start another! Our guest today is passionate about creating great service. He does it through service design – Graham Harvey! Thank you very much for being with us today!
Graham: You’re welcome! My pleasure!
Moustafa: What an interesting topic – service design so you are not even talking about customer service, you are talking about designing the service before you even provide it.
Graham: Correct, correct.
Moustafa: Tell me more.
Graham: Most people don’t have the understanding that there is a process that goes into the creation and developing of a tangible good whether that is a car, a smartphone or a packet or biscuits. So we understand that there is a design process and there is a construction that goes through a factory and comes out at the end and you end up purchasing the phone, the car or the packet of biscuits. So what smart companies do is they apply the same rigor and robustness to the actual design of the service process as well. A lot of people also think that customer service and customer experience are some sort of interchangeable terms but they are actually opposite ends of the spectrum. Service is essentially what the business gives, which of course hopefully you have 100% control over. This is customer experience, which is what the customer takes away. Customer experience is… you don’t have total control over that. Each customer brings a whole set of needs, expectations and of course their background conditioning which adds to the experience that they actually take away. So my work with organizations is the rigor of going through that design process. So we take the time to look at design. What is it what the customer sees, what do they hear, smell, taste, touch and, of course, the biggie, which is the EQ in my business is the emotional connection that customers have. So the word ‘love’ has really on the sort of just out of the end of the corporate space, but when you see corporations like McDonalds saying ‘I’m loving it’ or Mitsubishi ‘Love that car’. L’oreal – ‘You’re worth it’. It’s all about emotion, it’s not about the actual specifications of the product itself. It’s all about emotion. Of course, most of us are the ones who want business, not that need business so we need to understand that the reasoning behind the purchase of a product is emotionally-based, not rationally-based.
Moustafa: True. I think a lot of failure of amazing products out there is that they are servicing a need not as much as a want. Where need tackles the analytical brain, but a want tackles the emotional connections.
Moustafa: And in a way, if you think about passion, if you are pursuing it from the mind, it becomes ‘I need to, but I’m not sure I want to’. How can someone shift their mindset to become more ‘I really wanna pursue my passion’ rather than just ‘I have to pursue my passion’?
Graham: I think that goes back to that ongoing battle between head and heart. I think sometimes we’ve sort of come up and we’ve been sort of through the industrial age and then through the last century and the first thing, where people focus more on economics. We talk about… some people say…we talk about the economy or others are talking about the community. Economy is about head, community is about heart. So I think what’s happening in my space is, in terms of designing and delivering service, we actually have to get into not only the heads of our customers but, more importantly, into the hearts of our customers. Because if you think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there are very few businesses that are out there servicing that bottom run, which is essentially food and shelter for basic survival. So therefore every other business, if you take it from the second level to the top of self-actualization, essentially the majority of businesses are in the ‘wants’ section and making decisions about wants is about emotions, which is about heart, it’s actually not about head. No one actually needs to buy a $200,000 BMW. Essentially they are buying it not because of the specifications of the engine or anything else. They buy it because it feels damn good sitting behind the wheel driving their BMW. It’s an emotional purchase, it’s not rational. We buy it emotionally and the we take it home and justify it economically and rationally to our partner.
Moustafa: The challenge though when you are pursuing your passion, creating that emotional experience. Whether you’re pursuing your passion within your job or somewhere else, it’s that it’s a lot of fear attached. When you are buying a car, there is a lot of positive images. At the beginning of pursuing your passion you might imagine ‘if I try this in my company and I fail I will get fired’ or ‘if I try my passion outside and I fail, I’m gonna go broke’.
Moustafa: How can I shift my mindset around that?
Graham: I think sometimes it just comes back to that pure, that thing called courage. And basically having people around you who are going to support you in taking that step and still gonna support you whether the step works or not. So I think that comes back to that community of having the right people around you. I, for instance, I wasn’t going to work for an organization that wasn’t going to support me in having a go. So, again, what the smart companies know is that they learn more through failure than success. Provided they are able to unpack the failure. What worked? What didn’t work? How can we trim and fine-tune it and then keep moving? Whereas, I think there is a lot of incentives in certain organizations particularly to build around success in terms of what the result is rather than providing incentives for other people to actually try. So, again, smart companies like Google where 20% of each employee’s time is to basically work on a project that they love to do. So it’s actually getting love and passion back into the work space that encourages people to actually have a go, to try it, to take their dumb idea and see if it’s gonna work or not. This actually takes courage from both the management and the individual.
Moustafa: So it’s a collaborative process.
Moustafa: It’s not that I have to find a way to pursue my passion as a company. If we wanna grow, we’d want to pursue employees to pursue their passion.
Graham: Correct, correct. Because where do all the ideas and innovations and products and services come from if you’re not going to create an environment that allows people to experiment and try different things?
Moustafa: Let’s experiment with our passions.
Graham: Absolutely, absolutely!
Moustafa: Thank you very much, Graham!
Graham: You’re welcome!
Moustafa: This has been an awesome interview! I appreciate it!
Graham: Thank you! All the best! Cheers!
Moustafa and Graham: Passion!
Moustafa: What do you think? I would really love to hear your opinion if you found this interview useful on designing your service. If so, leave your comments on the blog below and share it with your friends. And if you’d like more tools, tips, techniques and exclusive videos that I only share on my website, go to Moustafa.com. Until next episode – live passionately!