By James Samperi
There has been a timely coming together of service businesses measuring, analysing and monitoring the experiences of their customers, using Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and Service Designers helping organisations to improve and develop services to exceed customers' expectations.
While NPS provides the foundations of measuring experience and customer satisfaction, Service Design becomes the means by which an organisation can make sustained improvements to their services, beyond just fixing the basics. Through our work, we have explored the progression of organisations moving from measurement to design-led change.
The process starts when a company adopts NPS as a means of improving their services. This begins to spread the accountability for the quality of customer experiences and the performance of a service across the whole organisation. Through this process, companies develop an end-to-end view of the service that helps them to have discussions on the effectiveness of touchpoints and channels.
Improving the overall NPS score or adjusting an individual touchpoint for the better is then used as a way to measure, incentivise and reward staff. This allows them to make changes and identify tactics to improve what is being done now.
The next level of progression sees customer satisfaction data, the bedrock of NPS, allowing an organisation to employ more agile methods, to fix what's broken, and to try out different solutions and monitor the results. For example, if a company wanted to test the satisfaction levels of a £15 gift voucher over a £10 one, they may isolate a set of customers to try the higher voucher and measure the difference with others who received a ten pound one. The results can be surprising and can allow organisations to get the right balance of cost and value to the customer.
However, it is often at this point that organisations can hit a ceiling. They openly admit that, despite in-depth analysis and prolonged reporting of the performance of the customer journey, they find it very difficult to translate this information into bigger ideas. It's hard to get beyond the quick fixes of rewards and communications, which have limited sustained impact on the longer-term experiences of the customer. If only used in this way, NPS becomes a damage limitation exercise rather than a means for genuinely developing services that are valuable and differentiated.
It is here that Engine uses our Service Design approach to fill this 'translation gap': helping companies move from analytics to making real step changes that can exceed what customers expect and elevates the experience above others in the same sector. We use a systematic and creative approach; informed by NPS and complimented by our own qualitative understanding of what makes a great service and customer experience.
Engine is beginning to see the long-term results of our work across the utilities and transport sectors. The services and experiences we have helped to design show significant uplift in performance of the services at a touchpoint level, and sizeable increases in the overall satisfaction of customers with the services as a whole.
As Service Design becomes more widely practiced, bought and developed, it is clear to see how NPS capability coupled with a Service Design approach can help transition an organisation from just measurement to longer-term improvement that is more valuable for them and, ultimately, for their customers.