Sleek and Cool- Design in a Service World
February 4, 2008 - Posted by Shama Kabani
By: Shama Hyder
Retailers have an advantage. They can create products that shine like gold, feel like silk, and smell like roses. It’s called design. Sleek new MAC notebooks make buyers drool. I knew I-phone lovers who went into the stores to just hold the product in their hand.
Tangible is good. But how do you inject that same "drool factor" into your services? I can’t remember the last time someone said "those HR services are delicious."
Design continues to be an important selling point, but I also continue to see independent professionals ignore this aspect. Here are 5 ways to inject a dose of design into your services.
1) Re-Design your Website- It’s the portal to your services! Can you imagine walking into a Nordstrom and seeing broken mannequins and a dirty carpet? It wouldn’t work. Design your website so it’s clear, sleek, and gets people to ooh and aah. A good design doesn’t mean function goes out the door. (Never put flash intros on your site). A good design includes functionality. For example, if you work with Japanese companies, make sure to use large font. Japan has the oldest population in the world. Your clients (and potential clients) will appreciate the effort you put into your work. After The Launch has worked on 200 plus sites and I can tell you, a good site goes a long way.
2) Design your Services- How can you design the intangible? Package them! Packages are appealing to people and are usually seen as more valuable. Design your services so your clients can see the obvious value. If you can clearly explain your services in three sentences or less (with no clarifications required), you have mastered the art of packaging your services.
3) Use Graphics- Your prospects can’t touch, taste, or smell your services (at least, I don’t think they can). But, you can create a feast for their eyes. Make sure all your reports come with graphic covers. For example, if you sell eBooks, make sure to have an eBook cover than goes with it. It may not be a hard-cover book, but the cover allows the buyer to see it as a "real" product.
4) Get Feedback- Need more ideas on how to double the design factor of your services? Ask for feedback! The best people to get feedback from when it comes to design is…designers. Ask graphic designers, web designers, even interior designers! They usually have an eye for these things.
5) Look Outside the Industry for Inspiration- The most accomplished consultants I know read more publications outside their industry than inside. Cross-pollination is fantastic for any type of business. It allows you to apply innovative ideas to your industry and become a pioneer in the field. For example, sampling was started by the food industry. Then some genius (an independent professional of course) took the idea and applied it to the services field. Think free consultations, free articles, and even blogs!
So, how can you add a burst of design juice into your business?