Engage customers and connect the organisation


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Reaching excellence with customers requires more than a good strategy. When it comes to execution, it takes craft, methods and skills to connect customers with the business in concrete ways. Service design offers a powerful toolbox to help organisations deal with internal challenges, enable a new customer experiences and create business value.

See the big picture of the organisation as customers see it
A service design approach brings a human focus to the development of services. This helps organisations see the big picture as customers see it. And when it’s time to get real, it offers tools to design every little interaction between the customer and the business in a consistent way across the organisation.

Understand what customers care about
Market surveys may tell you what customers like, but they will struggle to tell you why.

Service design brings a host of tools that enable businesses to understand customers experiences on a deeper level. From depth interviews and observation to creative customer workshops, these methods enable organisations to understand why people don’t behave the way they say – and even find the next big idea.

Bringing deep customer insight into the organisation yields a potent fuel for teams to break through silos and align their efforts. The ultimate result is the shared understanding required to deliver experiences that engage, connect and enable valuable customer relationships across channels.

stakeholder-interviews02 Observe where customers go, what they see and listen to what they say. Gain deep customer insights to drive new ideas.

Imagine services that connect with customers and the business
Seeing is believing. That is why service designers always visualise ideas and solutions as soon as they emerge.

Making things visible and tangible is a powerful tool to gain clarity and buy-in around a new concept within the organisation. A strategy can be more simply communicated as a visual model, a conversation between a customer and staff can be better understood as a cartoon, and a design detail from a web interface can lead to a sharper proposition.

In any case, visual scenarios and details of customer interactions are quick and effective ways to highlight where challenges can occur in the organisation, and what will increase customer satisfaction. The result is confidence in ideas and commitment to action.

2_Service_Design_imagine_02 Service scenarios gives the business an immediate picture of what a new service will mean to customers and staff.

Design the service blueprint
The critical moments of interaction, or touch points, between companies and customers are increasingly spread across different parts of the organisation.

The service blueprint is a visual tool that helps organisations coordinate how these different parts work together as a whole to enable a great and consistent customer experience. It builds a map of the customers’ journeys through the service, and how the organisation can engage with them through a multitude of channels.

A shared overview of the customer and the service operations is massively beneficial when people in the organisation sit down together to coordinate teams. The results are designs that make sense and engage customers.

3_Service_Design_blueprint_02 The service blueprint enables organisations to see how channels must work together to enable a great service experience.

Prove the service experience
There are plenty of examples of products and services that took massive investment to take to market, only to fail with customers or in the cost of delivery.

A design approach de-risks service development by involving customers and staff in testing the idea from day one. The benefit is that businesses can learn, change and perfect solutions long before investment has gone into technology or organisational change.

Services can be prototyped quickly and cheaply by testing simple mock-ups and scenarios with a small number of customers and staff. Pilots with a limited number of customers and departments generate proof that services will work on an industrial scale.

4_Service_Design_proof02 A 9-month pilot with workless people in the UK proved how different segments were successful in entering into the workplace.

You are permitted to have fun!
Service designers are trained to work in highly collaborative ways, and have a wide stock of creative methods to bring this mind-set into organisations.

The combination of a systematic approach to problem-solving, and creative ways to think about possible solutions inspires teams beyond the ordinary.

Bring fun to the table – it grows the potential to overcome obstacles and enables ambitious ideas to become successes.

“I’d argue that service design is the most important design subspecialty in the business world today.”

Create services that have an impact

Service design offers concrete methods, tools and skills to make strategy a reality with customers. Use it to bridge gaps between what the organisation can do and what people need and want. The results are experiences that engage and build lasting customer relationships.

Ben Reason
Ben Reason is a service design consultant with 20 years experience with a wide range of public, and private sector organisations. As a founder of Livework he leads the London studio and team on projects that bring a customer view to major challenges and opportunities in industries ranging from healthcare and financial services, to public transport.


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