Svyatoslav Biryulin
Creating by destroying
Create new customers' values by eliminating redundant things
In January 2007, Steve Jobs showed people around the world a revolutionary device – the first iPhone. Creating iPhone took three years and a fair amount of money. But it was worth spending time and effort on because iPhone offered its users exceptional customer values, and people were happy to buy it. So did Elon Musk by creating Tesla cars. So did Brin and Page by creating Google.

It may seem that creating customers' values always means deploying significant resources – time, investments, etc. But this is not always the case.

Remove personal accounts

I am a board member and a strategy committee chairman for an international logistic company. The company spent several years building a website with personal customers' accounts, where its clients could place and trace their orders. The team was proud of the site, but customer surveys showed they were not particularly happy. The team thought the site was not good enough and spent a year polishing and refining UX. But it didn't help much.

Someday a new member joined a team and, as it often happens, took a fresh look at the issue. He told them that employing a separate website was a bad idea from the very beginning. Imagine that a client's employee receives a request from her sales department for additional information concerning a shipment. She needs to visit the website, enter her login and password, find the shipment and required information, write it down somehow, log out, enter her company's IT system, and place the info in it. It takes plenty of time, and it is certainly not convenient.

Our IT guys teamed up with experts working for the customers, and they managed to integrate two computer programs in a way that let client's employees see all the necessary data in their program. No more websites, logins, and passwords – two systems exchange data directly. Personal customers account was an obvious solution – but not the best.

Cut out intermediaries and redundant actions

Jack Ma, an Alibaba creator, built his empire, cutting out intermediaries. An entrepreneur from one part of the country could buy a piece of equipment from a factory from another part of the country – safely and fast. A steel manufacturer sells up to 60% of its products online through the website, even though its customers are large factories. Uber connects passengers with drivers. I buy jeans and sneakers directly from manufacturers' web pages.

In our strategic workshops, we often use a CJM, Customer Journey Map approach to find an answer to an essential question – what should we remove from customers' experience to make them happier? What actions that don't create additional values do customers have to take?

A car parts distributor used to deliver products only after its clients, car repair stations, sent them bank confirmations that invoices for the products had been paid. It didn't make stations' owners happy because they tried to speed up the car repair process as much as possible. But the distributor's financial department insisted that confirmations were necessary – they were afraid of an increase in accounts receivable. After long debates, the procedure was canceled, which made customers happier, and the financial department's fears didn't materialize.

Sometimes removing, destroying, and eliminating work better than creating when it comes to customers' values.

You can watch the video versions of my articles on my YouTube channel here.

Svyatoslav Biryulin

Don't forget to subscribe at the links below:
Follow Svyatoslav Biryulin on Twitter
Follow Svyatoslav Biryulin on LinkedIn
Follow Svyatoslav Biryulin on Facebook
Read Svyatoslav Biryulin at Medium