Service Design meets (Social) CRM


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This is part 2 in a short series on Service Design. I would recommend reading part 1 before reading this.

Recap: What is Service?

As I tried to explain a couple of days ago, I think Service Design is about designing for Service, not serviceS. Where I defined Services as:

Service is the personal sum of a Customer’s experiences in all her interactions, through touch-points, with the products and/or services of the company


in all her interactions with the relevant experiences of others, through or in the Customer’s (on-line) social networks

making up for the Customer’s perception of the value received and/or to be received from the company at any point in time.


I assume you all know that Touch-Points play an important role in thinking about and designing the Customer’s journey or experience. Service designers talk touch-points all the time (and I love them for it!). There is an excellent short post on the Frog Design Blog, where they listed a good overview of the wide variety of touch-points there are to consider. Like there are:

  • Product-based / Physical experiences (ATM machine, riding a bike, driving a car)
  • Social / Interpersonal experiences (internal employees, customer service, retail sales, etc)
  • Interactive experiences (on Twitter / Facebook, smartphone)
  • Traditional marketing experiences (TV, displays in Times Square, print collateral, direct response)

My critique on the list is that it seems like we are just talking “touches” and “experiences” as moments. There doesn’t seem to be consideration for the desire of companies to have long-term relationships with Customers.

Long term relationships are surely built upon great and shared experiences, but we all know that it makes a difference to us (as Customers) if we are doing business with you for a long time and our expectations are changing. We might go into a period of fatigue, or just reconsideration. And, most importantly, if we bought a product, it starts breaking up, and we might need to replace it sometime (soon).

Hence, we need to design for relationships with Customers too.

Relational Touch-points

Therefor I think Service Designers should also consider and encompass two “sets” of relational touch-points:

  1. Touch-points which are orchestrated not only in the sequence of an experience, designed to meet an outcome, but orchestrated to serve over a lifetime of experiences, as if there was a relationship between the Company and the Customer. As if we know and remember what happened over the course of our relationship and as if we know when we need to rejuvenate our relationship to make it last for a longer lifetime.
  2. Touch-points designed for Network Value, or in other words: designing relational touch-points that support, stimulate and foster Customer – Customer relationships. Because we know that networks grow stronger not by expanding and expanding alone, but more so by increasing the number and the strength of the ties between the network “members” .

To conclude today’s post: Service Design is not limited to services and should not be limited to designing one-off Customer Journey’s or experiences.

Customers perceive service and value over a lifetime of experiences through touch-points with the company AND with other actors in their (social) networks. Service Design should thus encompass both “sets” of relational touch-points in there designs too.

Service Design meets (Social) CRM.. What an interesting couple, don’t you think?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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