Why is it so important that services and experiences are beautifully designed?
Author: Joe Heapy
What makes one office chair a design classic, selling at a premium for decades, while another is...well, just another office chair? They both do the same thing, but one has been beautifully designed and does it much better. It’s not just about aesthetics, it's about an elegant solution that has been truly considered and crafted to perfection.
Whether an office chair or a service, the same applies. Great design produces something of real value that looks beautiful and works brilliantly and is, somehow, right for the moment.
People respond emotionally
The product, its core functionality, pricing and even the customer operations and business processes that customers encounter can all be copied by competitors. What ‘wins the day’ and keeps customers is a business’s ability to connect emotionally.
Fit-for-purpose design costs less
The cost of change increases exponentially as launches approach. Taking the time to gather insight, market requirements and conceive of the right solution early in the process reduces the likelihood of considerable changes to requirements during more expensive stages of the process.
Beautiful design isn’t just about aesthetics
Although how a service looks and feels is vital, beautiful design has always been about the weaving together of great looks, great functionality, great usability, originality and a sense of being right for the time and the culture.
Making all of this work elegantly together is the great skill of designers, and when it works it appeals to people deeply.
Your customer experience is your brand
The values of your brand and any strategy to reposition it in consumers’ minds can’t superficially rely on marketing communications alone. These values have to be substantiated by tangible features and benefits, and be a clear expression of the brand at every touchpoint.
It's all in the detail
A disruptive business has a bold central vision, but it’s the detail of design and delivery that determine its success. The taxi industry disrupter, Uber had a big vision and knew they needed to get sign-up and one-click ride booking and payment right in the app. Importantly, they also learned that they needed customers to see an abundance of available drivers in their area, and provide a consistent level of vehicle quality and customer service from drivers. Craft and choreography of the whole experience were paramount.
Designed for everyone
Customers are not all the same. The drive to digital presents great advantages as well as challenges for people with particular needs; those with an impairment and our ageing population. Given that these groups are no longer a minority, a beautifully designed service and experience should work for everyone.
It just works
Designers are able to envision and craft elegant solutions within the real constraints of the physical world, technology, commerciality and complex organisations. Elegance comes from achieving the very best service experience from the fewest moving parts. It comes from hiding the complexity from the customer and people delivering the service. Great services are delightful because they are easy and enjoyable for customers to use and colleagues to provide.
Five questions to test the beauty of your design
- Do people really feel that the solution brings something new and exciting to the world?
- Is the solution clearly an expression of your brand?
- Is the solution an improvement and will it shape customers’ expectations?
- Do people agree there is a clear and marketable value proposition here?
- Is it clear that the solution works for your diverse customer groups?
If you fear that what you’re developing won’t be valuable, original, or memorable for your customers, we can help.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
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