What does “outsider art” teach us about diversifying business models and technology use for your customer journey?

As you “branch out” and either try new services or technology, do you really know what you are getting into and then make some miss steps? Or, are you like an “Outsider Artist” that can create and become famous without training? Outsider artists are simply individuals that are not career, highly trained or technical, but by practice and creativity, become well known in the art world. Business models are becoming very complex. And are there risks with that? Yes! But succeed by being creative but careful and continuously learning.

Artist Thornton Dial

Can your service model change into new areas that you might not really understand? As reported in the New York Times Article, “Thornton Dial, Outsider Artist Whose Work Told Of Black Life, Dies at 87” by William Grimes, we learn about a man who is now featured in most major museums with art created from cast off pieces of material etc… Raised in poverty and while working in various jobs, he started up his art career in his 50s. Using whatever material he could find, his images portray real emotion, stories about his life often with vivid colors. What can we learn from “outsider artists”? My answer? If you venture into new things, make sure to persevere, practice and perfect it just like Thornton did!

New complex business models

What’s going on here? Service providers and retailers are straying from their traditional path and shifting to new levels of complexity. They are now “outsiders” in new industries. For instance

  • Capital One Cafes – A place to relax and intermingled in a financial institution.
    • Can they really draw a crowd?
  • Providence Mount St. Vincent – Shared day care/assisted living.
    • Will there be conflicts in care needed for both the young and old?
  • Travelers Insurance and Home Security Systems on Amazon
    • Will a security system business distract from providing high quality insurance services?
  • Kroger and Walgreens partnership – Grocery pick up at Walgreens
    • Is the convenience and quality factor really there over regular store pickup?
  • Healthcare services in retail stores
    • Can they both provide a competitive service while maintaining good care?

Use of data and technology

Can some of the new data decisions create unexpected issues? I get it. Shoot for leveraging the most profitable customer journeys but avoid underservicing any one customer. Correctly implementing data analytics and technology takes patience to avoid unexpected issues.

  • Artificial intelligence, use of drones, automation of all kinds is here! Keep attaching new concepts to what you do. Customers are ready for the changes as long as it is all high quality, not just to cut costs!
  • Lifetime value scores– All service providers can and should profile customers. But, be careful if you try to charge high spending customer more than others. My sister no longer shops at Meijer since she realized she was being charged more as a high spender by not receiving coupons for the products she purchases while other customers did.
  • G5 technology will soon allow retailers to greet and treat high spenders different/better even as the walk into a store. Watch out! Other “spenders” will notice if you don’t maintain some level of service for them too. I no longer stay at Hilton because I was told they were oversold while a walk in high user was given a room without reservations. I noticed and have not forgotten about it.
  • Macy’s virtual reality in stores – Macy’s can continue to expand furniture virtual reality. It seems to be working.
  • Uber driverless cars– Uber and others should continue to perfect driverless solutions knowing now that the safety bar is high.

Like the outsider artists, keep adjusting your models to make sure your new technology and data analytics are well balanced to provide great service to all. Thornton Dial patiently made it in the art world as you can too with new things over time.

You don’t need to stay in your lane! But, Service 1st!

You don’t need to stay in your lane but you absolutely must consider service 1st. The new stuff is wonderful but don’t miss out on the fun! If your brand name is on it, keep each new customer journey at or above the level of service you provide in your core business. And implement flawlessly! Make sure it is consistent at all locations and implement a mystery shopping program to make sure it is rolled out cleanly!

Exciting times!

Mary Furrie, CEO, Quality Assessments Mystery Shoppers, Creating consistency for corporations nationally!

Image from: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/27/arts/thornton-dial-outsider-artist-whose-work-told-of-black-life-dies-at-87.html

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