CX & Service Design in Business as Unusual Times

· insights

“Service design will save us from the crisis” – something fellow service designer Richard Eckelman wrote about a few years back. How visionary! Thank you, Mr Eckelman. Why? Because economic factors dictate a focus on the essentials, not the frills. Service design on the other hand makes us focus on the essence of what we offer to the customer and how we deliver it end-to-end. It also gives us a shared framework to act quickly as one organization. And while the equation is straightforward customer experience + service design = success in an economic crisis, let’s look into the details and see what organizations can actually do with it in business as unusual times.

The changed definition of customer experience

It is easy to fool ourselves that in times of crisis the customer experience doesn’t matter, that people will accept whatever, as long as it works. Think about these situations and how you would react

/ your e-shop brought you the wrong basket

No problem, at least I have food.

Next time, I should order from the other e-shop.

****?! + hate post on FB.

/ your internet provider/Netflix/… reduced the speed/quality

No problem at least I have something to watch.

Let me check when my contract expires.

****?! + hate post on FB.

/ your “quick credit” approval was delayed by a month

No problem, at least I got the credit.

My brother is applying for a credit, I’ll warn him not to work with them.

****?! + hate post on FB.

/ your telecom/bank/insurance company/[fill in the blank] released a new app related to COVID-19

You don’t understand the app, but you download it, you’ll look at it later.

You open the app and you still don’t get it. You make a mental note to never install apps from them.

****?! + hate post on FB.

We all know that this “No problem, at least…” reaction is valid only for the most patient clients. The majority say things you don’t want to hear or see written so we marked them with ****.

The “No problem, at least…” response might seem like an OK solution in times of crisis, but it’s not. It generates a lot of negative brand experience across patient and not so patient customers, which piles up and will burst.

So, let’s agree – in times of crisis the end-to-end customer experience matters. It actually matters even more than in times of boom, as we’re all more vulnerable. But it matters in a very different way. As Mr Eckelman said – it matters not on a frills level, but on the essentials. Is it clear how it works, does it work and is it humane? No frills doesn’t mean you can delay, you can forget or you can pretend to create value. It means you can cut the luxury wrap-up. Full stop. It means customers will still judge your service for what it is or has to be – understandable offering, efficient service, human-centred experience.

Service design: a framework for organizations to act like one in times of crisis

In times of crisis companies need to quickly adapt existing services, attune the communication to customers, digitize some services, release new ones, target new clients… the list goes on and one. Service design offers easy instruments for teamwork, for quick customer understanding, for ideation and prototyping. Have a look at some business as unusual insights on changing consumer needs we compiled below.

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To put it simply service design is the ultimate survival kit for organizations in business as unusual times. As Mr Eckelman said it:

“Service design, because of its holistic nature, customer centricity, and inherent adaptability, will be the key because it aligns everything an organization does around the services it offers.”

The service design work cannot wait. As customers will not wait and will not be satisfied with “No problem, at least…” solutions either. Service design efforts likely need to double in times of crisis.

This is why we’ve completely redesigned our portfolio for remote work to help our clients continue remote work and accelerate results on their most important projects, sprints, workshops and meetings. If you’re working on а service design or customer centricity project – get in touch with us through the online form or read more about our new products for remote work.

For a behind the scenes on our Service Design Masterclass check out our video below: