Customer experience is widely predicted to overtake product and price as the key battleground for companies by 2020 and will become the main way to differentiate your business and give you a competitive edge. And as we’ve seen in the age of social media, your brand is either broken or built on its customer experience. So how can you deliver a better customer experience than your competitors? It all comes down to understanding your customers and this is where service design comes in. So what is service design?

Essentially it’s all about focusing in on individuals and intentionally designing the interactions that occur between your customer and your business. The goal is to make the services you offer more useful, easier to use, and more pleasurable, all with the aim of delivering a better customer experience, as illustrated in The Customer Experience Pyramid.

You also need to understand the customer experience ecosystem and how other departments impact on customers. This involves designing the competencies and capabilities within an organisation to enable them to deliver the service in a sustainable and competitive way.

Service design can help you to identify

  • What customers want at each stage of their interaction with an organisation?
  • How you are currently delivering against these customer expectations?
  • Where the customer pain points are and what causes them?
  • How and where can you unexpectedly delight customers?

To be a truly customer-centric organisation you need to be taking an outside in view and design thinking can help you to do this. So most service design projects use a process called The Double Diamond.

The first diamond helps you to understand why something is happening. This allows you to filter what you have learnt, generating insights to define more precisely the problem you are trying to solve.

The second diamond helps you to identify solutions to the problems and develop prototypes to test these ideas. Then you go through a process of getting feedback from these prototypes to refine them further.

One of the most common pitfalls many companies do is move into solution mode or the second diamond too quickly. So why does this happen?

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Article by Amy Scott