Why values are so important for good service design

Today, I want to talk about values and why they are key when we develop services and products.

We humans are constantly considering whether or not to get involved with other people, things, products and situations. Whether we want to invest attention, time and energy for them. In order to determine this, the human mind helps itself with standards by which we measure our own or others‘ behaviour and characteristics. These standards – or values as they are called in social psychology – are mostly used unconsciously. Values are, for example: reliability, trust, courage, honesty, perfection, friendship, security, etc. They are the mechanism that drives our decisions.

What does that mean for us when we develop a product? If we want our customers to invest their attention, time and money, we have to address their values. We have to become aware of which value systems is relevant for our primary target group. And that means we have to leave our office and start talking to people!

Values play an important role in Lean Service Design. On the Persona Canvas you are asked to assign values to your Personas. Values should be developed as well for the business side, because companies and stakeholders also have values that drive their decisions and influence how they want to invest their energy, resources and commitment.

Later, when you look at the Experience Flow Canvas, you’ll find that one of the most important questions is the Moment of Truth. This moment is mainly driven by values.

The values will help you to get to the motivation behind a decision. If you develop your product in a way that it contributes to the values of the target group, success will be sustainable. Because in contrast to expressed customer needs, which can change over time and depending on the context, values are constant and hardly change. If you solve a customer’s problem with your product, you have done a lot right. In the best case, however, you have done something that the customer expects from you. But if you address his values and emotions with your product, then you usually create enthusiasm factors that go beyond what the customer expected. Why are Facebook and Instagram so successful? Because they address very specific values of their target group, such as sociability, curiosity, individualism, etc. Users can hardly keep their hands off it. The people at Facebook and Instagram have probably look deeper behind the superficially expressed needs of their users and are trying to understand the psychological drivers and mechanisms.

Therefore, when working with Lean Service Design do not underestimate the values and invest time to identify them. This works best when you go out to your customers.

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I am a curious individual who is passionate about human psychology and the digital world. Therefore I’m seeking to create great experiences for customers by understanding their motivations and helping organizations to grow business.

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Elam Written by Elam