Eltine van der Veer started on November 1, 2021, as Practice Lead Service Design at Essense. Eltine has a background as a research psychologist and previously worked as Head of Experience & Insights at Braingineers.
What motivated you to choose Essense?
Eltine: “I’ve always been fascinated by how companies respond to consumer behavior. Organizations ultimately derive their raison d’être from solving a particular need. After my psychology study, I assumed companies had methods to map out customer needs and to act on them structurally. So it was quite a disappointment to realize that, in reality, companies don’t really listen to customers; they often make decisions based on assumptions.
Why? It’s not because companies don’t want to listen. We see that some departments are already doing exceptionally well with creating customer journeys and steering on insights. The actual bottleneck is connecting all separate initiatives. If initiatives are properly connected, you work on a consistent customer experience as a whole organization. So yes, I see a lot of opportunities in larger organizations that I’d love to contribute to with Essense.”
What attracts you to this position as Practice Lead Service Design?
Eltine: “Companies increasingly focus on social impact. I want to help companies combine their business goals with their social responsibility. The urgency is high, and the puzzle is often complex, especially in larger organizations. Due to Covid-19, we currently see a massive shift in the services provided by companies. That transformation requires focus. By taking customers’ needs as a starting point, especially in times of transformation, the opportunity to take major steps forward is huge.”
What differentiates Essense from other players in the market?
Eltine: “Essense helps organizations in all crucial areas of their customer experience – starting with thorough research of the customer’s needs. Essense understands better than anyone what interests are at stake and offers practical tools to connect all separate initiatives – in addition to providing strategic insights. A report or journey map is important, but it does not ultimately serve the customer. Essense is unique in the market because, based on the strategy, we take a practical approach without losing sight of the big picture.
Harald Lamberts, Founder and MD of Essense: “Thanks to our many years of experience with service design, we know the practical challenges that organizations face in operationalizing customer-oriented working. That is why, in addition to expanding our team, we have also sought collaboration partners such as TheyDo, a journey management platform. It enables us to prioritize and implement customer insights in a tangible way with our clients.”
What does your new position look like, and how does this position contribute to your personal goal?
Eltine: “In my position as Practice Lead Service Design, I focus on customer research, on which we build the value proposition and customer journeys of Essense’s customers. In this position, I can enhance the skills of the people within my practice – and consequently our services. By constantly researching the needs of our customers and translating these insights into tangible actions, I have a direct impact on our services and, as such, also on the experience of our customers.
In addition, I want to be a linking pin between the various practices within Essense. The better our own customer experience is, the better we can help our customers. In this role, I can contribute both internally and externally.”
Harald: “We see our customer’s demand broadening from service design and journey management to also organizing and managing all customer journeys within their organization. To work in an organization-wide customer-centric way, you must connect all teams and journeys. In addition to our expertise in research and design, this also calls for stakeholder management and strategic and tactical advice on ways of working, organization, and governance.
That’s why we think it’s necessary to help our customers at the highest level. That’s why we invest in a senior team of Practice Leads. With her background, Eltine is the ideal person to level up her practice and connect the different practices internally.”