Having explored the drive for change because of changing expectations, the next step one can take is to examine what the current state of products and services look like. Enter the 3P model.

At the core of 3P is the old adage, it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it. It’s remarkable how often this appears to be news to people, particularly those providing services within organisations.

We start with the Promise. What is it that a service provider thinks they are offering to their clients and customers? What is it that a consumer of services things that they are getting from a provider? What is it that a provider thinks their consumers think they’re getting? And most importantly, is there mis-alignment or alignment between those different promises?

The bottom line is that if you think your doing one thing, you’re clients think you do another, then no matter what it is that you are doing, you’re probably going to only deliver to their satisfaction through luck. That’s not a good strategy in a competitive market.

The Promise needs to be managed, and if you consciously want or need to deliver something that is contrary to the customer’s perspective, you need to do something about that. Back in the 1990s, when the budget airlines launched themselves in Europe, EasyJet did this exercise in a master stroke of PR. Airline travel was prestige product, a luxury service. A £9.99 flight to Alicante isn’t.

The TV show Airline, with its relentless collection of EasyJet customers being told that they weren’t getting onto their flight, or being put up in a hotel. The Promise was managed effectively down.

You might find that you have to define different promises for different consumer segments; for an internal provider, your senior management may have different expectations from your middle management from your rank and file workforce.

Next we can look at provision.

Once you have understood what you are promising to provide, and where your consumers’ perspectives lie, you can then look at the granular services you provide to deliver to them. This might be helpful to regard in the context of visible and invisible (see the last Digital Architecture diagram) and for each product or service, questioning how it delivers to your consumer’s promise is crucial

Finally you need to look at proof.

If you don’t let people know that you are providing them with services that meet their expectations, it’s very risky to just assume that they will work it out for themselves. Think of this as the “Today you have saved…” box that is often seen on supermarket receipts. Also thinking closely on how this can be sold in ways that are more engaging that a service level report is crucial too.

This exercise might well then lead you to revisit the Digital Architecture model, understanding where there might be gaps in your service provision.

Next up we’ll look at concepts of innovation, change and incremental improvement in The Play Matrix.

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