As consumers we interact with dozens if not hundreds of services every day. We take the metro to go to work, go out for dinner at a fine restaurant or do online shopping. Those experiences are supposed to be smooth. The problem is they generally are not.
There’s where service design can step in, as it helps bridge organisational gaps and remove pain points in the customer journey. Service design can be key to organisations who want to stand out from their competitors, build loyalty and reduce customer churn. It provides strategic solutions that optimise the service in order to meet the needs of their connected and demanding customers. In our white paper we try to explain what service design is and why it is important, by answering some of the following questions:
What is service design?
Service design focuses on creating optimal service experiences. That requires analysing the workflows and procedures performed throughout a service. It also looks at the people involved in the creation or use of the service, and props like physical spaces and digital environments. All these components must be designed and articulated correctly to create a successful user experience.
In order to illustrate how service design takes place, we can think about going to the theatre. As the spectator we see the stage, the actors, the lights, the costumes. But in order for that all to exist there’s a lot happening backstage - there’s a director, wardrobe changes, the lighting and sound crew. There are two stages, the front stage is what the customer sees, and the backstage that although it’s not seen by the audience, it plays a critical part in shaping their experience. A front stage can’t exist without a backstage.
If we look at organisations is the exact same thing. There are a lot of processes, systems and people working backstage so that the client can use the service. Then, we can also talk about the behind the scenes. They include the legal aspects, regulation policies and all the invisible aspects that enable employees in the backstage to work in the delivery of a service.
What’s the service design process?
Service design is the process of making services better, through research, developing ideas and testing experiences. The four main steps are:
- Discovering: The goal is to deeply understanding the service and what an ideal experience would look like.
- Analysing: By compiling this research it’s possible to identify inconsistencies, gaps and major weaknesses.
- Redesigning the service: Service designers then work with stakeholders to create a variety of fresh ideas and prototype a solution they believe will improve the service.
- Validating and refining the service: Next they test the most appealing ideas with real users using prototypes to confirm that the solution designed is the right one.
Why service design?
What happens today, is that the service most companies provide is disseminated by several service providers. Rather than hiring an in-house team, organisations choose to hire outsourcing services, for customer support, for example. Most times those outsourced services end up being the point of contact with the organisation’s clients.
Another challenge is the fact that many organisations work in silos. Departments like sales, product, marketing and support aren’t communicating about the holistic customer experience, which can result in inconsistencies and user pain points.
It is crucial to understand the customer journey and all client-company touchpoints. Service design studies those touch points in order to identify important gaps to be filled, understand the channels and how customers are using them in order to make strategic improvements to their experience.
What’s in for organisations?
Improving internal processes and the service delivered to their customer brings great benefits for organisations.
- Increased sales: The positive interaction with an organisation’s service will lead to customer satisfaction, reducing drop-out rates and churn, thus generating more profit for their business.
- Increased loyalty: Creating strategies for customer service to be more effective will help to increase customer loyalty.
- Improved efficiency: Ensuring that all resources available can be used to the full, identifying problem areas and bottlenecks, and eliminating inefficient processes will lead to more efficiency.
- Reduced redundancies: Pinpointing areas that might be overlapping and eliminate inconsistencies and ambiguities.
- Making services more cost-effective: The latest technological advances can be a great ally for service and cost optimisation. It can be achieved, for example, through automation strategies.
- Brand recognition in a competitive market: Better service experiences lead to a better brand awareness. It gives organisations unique qualities that distinguish their service from its competition.
Service Design helps bridge organisational gaps, optimise internal processes and remove pain points in the customer journey. That results in a better experience for both users and employees.
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