Behind every great service is a great organisation - Part 1
We all use services every day and know the difference an ill-conceived, or beautifully designed one can have on our lives. Service quality and quality of life are interwoven, so services are important things to get right, right?
All businesses are service providers, but some companies we talk to don’t see things that way and they overlook the opportunity to go beyond satisfying functional or transactional needs or providing value beyond the basics.
On the one hand, a taxi firm provides transport, a bank is a repository, and a chemist sells drugs. But on the other, they help you feel safe at night, give you financial awareness and make you better when you’re unwell. The opportunity is for them to create stronger value propositions that make an emotional connection with customers.
Engine has been helping clients design and develop services and customer experiences since 2000. As self-confessed ‘Service Geeks’, we reflect on this sort of thing every day and see today’s social, economic and technological environment as a huge opportunity for change:
Customer expectations and priorities are evolving, which drives a need for more human, personal and responsive services.
Start-ups and disruptors are demonstrating how quickly they can launch innovative (and sometimes disarmingly simple) new customer-centred services.
Every day we see new technological advancements and new ways of using data that make so much more possible.
Now, to some the above could be seen as a threat, perhaps more so for long established businesses who may be held back by legacy systems, infrastructure and ingrained ways of working, but there’s a flip side.
As this state of play becomes more widely acknowledged as the new normal, it will drive a mandate for change that customer experience teams haven’t had before, bolstering the case for investment and giving new impetus to initiatives that have been languishing in strategy documents, or stuck in backlogs.
Sure, there are some real challenges associated with today’s environment, but we think it offers a huge opportunity for change in the way organisations design and deliver services and customer experiences.
Great services from great organisations
A great service and a well-designed customer experience are indivisible from the associated ecosystem of people, processes, products, partners and digital platforms that enable it - to have one, you must have the other. Understanding and acting on this inherent duality is critical to success.
In short, to deliver a great customer experience, you need a great organisation – one that places customers at the heart of their decision making, is vision-led and structured in a way to encourage and support the conception, design and delivery of mutually valuable services.
Designing a new service and experience is relatively easy compared with the challenge of designing a really great one – and more so, making it happen.
The good news is, in the practice of service design, there’s a collaborative, systematic and creative way of developing and embedding the required vision, capability and culture to succeed.
A Design-led approach
We call this approach Design-led Change, in other words, helping our clients deliver remarkable services and experiences by first reimagining the products and services they should provide, and then how they should reorganise with the goal of delivering them.
Four fundamentals are at the heart of achieving and maintaining this shift.
From a customer experience perspective, it’s about:
1. Designing the experience – envisioning the service you should deliver.
2. Defining the enablers – scoping what’s needed to deliver the service.
And from a business perspective, the focus is on:
3. Scaling the CX function – inspiring and enabling your team to sustain and evolve the experience.
4. Shaping the company culture – developing and embedding customer-centred and design-led ways of working.
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