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 revenue and growth.
(Excerpt from GrowthThinking: Building the New Growth Enterprise)
Author: Wayne A. Simmons
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