The Danish Patent and Trademark Office

If you want to be customer-oriented, why not ask them how you can get better?

The Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DPTO) were facing a challenge: non-specialist customers were having a hard time understanding their letters. Working with patents and trademarks involves understanding a complex system of laws and regulations which vary across different regions, and that can be a tough task for laymen. Compromising the law was not an option, but the trademark division wanted to tackle the challenge nonetheless, and therefore they reached out.

The solution we designed together

Along with key stakeholders in the trademark division, we designed a process that would review current letter writing practices, do a qualitative analysis of letter reception with potential customers, produce a report about the insights from the analysis, write new letter templates, and educate the division’s employees on how to implement the learnings into their letters.

  1. We amassed the necessary understanding of the business practices. We interviewed key stakeholders in the organization and spent time diving into their written communication. We read letters and identified potential points of frustration for new customers with low knowledge of the field of law. This work laid the foundation for our interview strategy.
  2. We conducted a series of research interviews with potential customers. We asked the customers to read letters in front of us and react immediately. We looked at their understanding of the letters and their perception of the DPTO.
  3. We wrote a collection of new letter examples, which solved the issues which caused frustration in the first series of interviews.
  4. We conducted a second series of interviews to test our solutions to the problems we identified. After these we made new iterations of our letter examples to eliminate the last bits of resistance.
  5. We compiled our findings into a report which documented our efforts and laid out our reasons for editing. This report points back at the issues and points forward at the solutions and how to edit letters and templates.
  6. We conducted a two-day course with employees from the DPTO. Here, we used the insights from the interviews to convince the employees that changes to their written communication were needed, and that they with relatively simple tools could offer a vastly improved service to their customers.

The outcome

The trademark division at the DPTO now has a common language and tool box which will power their written communication. They have a better understanding of how to position themselves as enablers of their customers and their non-specialist customers are in a much better position to succeed in acquiring a trademark. One review from the course read like this:

“Our instructors knew the problems we face in our everyday jobs. They knew what we write about and how we do it. Therefore, the instructors were able to give concrete examples of how we were to change our practices. Therefore, we don’t have to spend time adjusting after the course. We can go back and immediately implement the tools in our practices and improve our letters.”

Course participant

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