Is Your Organization Ready for Service Design?

By Lisa Helminiak

June 24, 2016

So, you’re at an organization that wants to build service design muscle. You’ve got services that need redesigning, and you’ve got people interested in taking on that work. You’re all set, right?

Maybe. Or maybe not. Service design is important, exciting work that can impact customer experience and business financials in a big way. But service design efforts can fall flat without a few key attitudes and practices in place.

In working with clients on service design projects, we’ve identified four key attributes of companies who do service design well:

There’s a Belief in Experience by Design, Not by Accident

Most service experiences were created accidentally, without intention – customer experience happens along the way as the company makes and delivers a product or service. Shifting to a service design mentality requires an authentic commitment to do things differently, to intentionally craft an experience and consistently deliver according to that design.

An Empowered Service Design Champion Carries the Torch

Becoming a service design-oriented company also requires a champion high enough in the leadership team to protect and nurture service design efforts. This person may or may not undertake service design work herself, depending on where she sits in the organization, but she is a vocal champion for service design, gains buy-in from other leaders, and secures the resources and support the service design team needs to carry out its work.

The Organization has Deep Knowledge About its Customers

Most companies think they understand their customers; many spend a good deal of time and money on customer research. Accordingly, pockets of customer knowledge often exist in marketing, sales or research departments. But this knowledge is often collected via surveys or focus groups, which don’t uncover nuance or context about the emotional journey customers take when engaging in a interaction or making a purchase. Additionally, consumer research often doesn’t percolate out to other departments that impact the customer experience, such as IT, operations or the executive team.

Service design requires that a company take the time to get deep consumer insights through contextual, ethnographic research, and that these insights are shared and embraced by stakeholders across the organization.

Service Design is Seen as a Practice, Not a Project

Companies that consistently deliver exceptional service experiences over an extended period of time don’t invest in singular service design projects. Rather, they commit to a philosophy and practice of service design, at all levels of the organization. Service design is a set of behaviors and attitudes at the core of strategic business decisions and embraced by employees at all levels of the organization.

Many companies experiment with redesigning one or two services. Companies that distinguish themselves in the minds of consumers for delivering a holistic, consistently enjoyable experience are those don’t stop at redesigning singular services; they embrace and practice a customer-centric service design mentality.

We’d Love to Help.

To learn how to become a service design-ready organization, get in touch.

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