Service Design Now.

Service Design
It’s a term that has slowly crept up the C-Suite’s list of ‘important digital terms to get to terms with’ in the past few years.

It’s popped up as a result of the so-called ‘Age of the Customer’; which is in itself a massively exciting shift in the way we all do business. A brief 3-point recap on where this trend came from:

  1. The competitive advantage is dead. Businesses used to be very happy to have a USP, and rely on that to draw customers towards them. Nowadays, though, the true differentiator has become no more than brand association: ultimately all cars work, all airlines deliver you to your chosen destination, all computers compute. In fact, any really good completive advantages have mostly been commoditised to the point that they are openly available to bidders through a whole host of suppliers.
  2. The boundaries between industries have been blurred. AirBnb, Uber, Zipcar, Expedia, eBay: What they all have in common is that they weren’t the competitors that their respective industries were looking our for. Anyone can build a disruptive ecosystem with the right backing, and it’s exactly because of that fact a huge number fail that it’s harder than ever to spot the success stories.
  3. Customers are so empowered it’s scary, and awesome. Reviews, social media, mobility, network. Chances are your customers know more about the specific product they’re interested in than your staff. We also know that customers take reviews very seriously - 88% of them more so than your own marketing materials.
Your customers are essentially spoilt for choice.

In a nutshell, customer experience has become a business discipline, not just a consideration.

“Service design is the next challenge for government”.

When we look at the typical players who are rolled out to display exemplary customer experience, say Apple, Google, Amazon etc. there’s usually one thing in common: these businesses are natively digital.

But what about those that weren’t born digital? For government, or most other businesses, offering an exemplary customer service has meant improving the user experience within their channels, but struggling to bring a positive experience across them.

That’s why good Service Design is more important than ever. The most visible aspect of good service is often the customer experience, but great services are also built on strong underlying platforms. While the human interaction and people are often the centre of a good design, processes and infrastructure too. Here’s where the established players can take up the mantle and strike an advantage.

“How do your customers feel? It isn’t a trivial question. It is vital knowledge”.

If no-one is complaining about a service, that doesn’t mean that everyone is happy with it. 90% of dissatisfied customers never even complain. So why are they not happy? Well - getting to the bottom of ‘why’ is the most essential part of fixing any poor customer experience. Too often, organisations consider their digital footprint in the following frame:

“We have this great technology, and we need to get it to market as quickly as possible. How do we get it into people's homes? Once we get it there, how do we bill for it?”

It’s the wrong approach. Great technology is important for the success of a business: but good service design will help you see how to tie your exciting new technology back to a customer want, a human need and ultimately an improved bottom line.

Tom Morgan

Consultant

Tom's skills lie in service design, culture change and customer experience, and facilitating sessions and workshops to create new products, services and ways of working.