The importance of adapting service experiences to rapidly-changing customer needs

With the pandemic forcing companies to adapt rapidly throughout to offer products and services remotely, the landscape has changed. Organisations who managed to swiftly take their offerings online were rewarded for their quick response when we all discovered COVID-19 would have much longer-term implications than we could have imagined.

As we come out the other side attitudes are different as well as businesses. Customers no longer compare services within the same industries. Instead, their experiences in one industry can influence their expectations of others. After all, if you are buying online, it’s the online experience you are comparing. And this is not dictated by sector.

Customer expectations have changed

Niraj Ranjan, CEO of Hiver, writing in Forbes about changing customer expectations says, “it’s not enough if you have a great product or offer discounts. The way you interact with your customers and fix their issues will determine whether they stay with your brand or jump ship”. Knowing and anticipating your customers’ needs so you can give them an exceptional, seamless experience is key.

This is backed up by the 2022 Salesforce Report, which found that “88% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services — the highest it’s ever been”.

How customer expectations have changed

  • Customers expect connected, frictionless experiences
  • Customers expectations have shifted towards experiences being personalised
  • Customers expect accelerated digital offerings
  • Customers want their data to be kept secure

How do you adapt and transform customer experiences?

Transforming service experiences is easier said than done. Over the past year or so many organisations have added more and more systems, applications, and services while attempting to meet demand. Trying to tie together all these elements in a seamless way often requires far more effort from staff to deliver. It oftens starts to show as a ‘clunky’ customer experience. And it’s not helpful for employees either.

A 2022 connectivity study found that “55%” of organizations said they find it difficult to integrate user experiences. This is up from 48% a year ago”. The more there is to integrate and the longer you leave it, the harder it becomes.

Why is a seamless experience so important?

A seamless digital experience on one channel is of limited value if the other channels your customers engage on are not aligned or integrated. All the good you do on one platform will be undone in another and the overall experience will be seen as lacking. Without a clear vision and view of the existing experience and operations it is impossible to strategically align systems and processes. It is essential to deliver a seamless experience across both physical and digital channels.

Integrating experiences has direct business benefits as well. The connectivity study also notes that, “of the organizations that have integrated user experiences, more than half said it had enhanced visibility into operations (54%) and increased customer engagement (54%)”.

How can businesses adapt their services at pace without compromising experiences?

Companies need to take a strategic approach, starting with a holistic view of the business. By designing aligned services and experiences that span the entire business, organisations can adapt more swiftly without having to start again from the beginning each time something changes. A clear vision can steer transformative change across the scope of the business.

It’s no longer good enough to be better than your immediate competition in your sector. You need to be as good as the best in all sectors because that’s how your customers will be judging you.

Let Engine Service Design help you

Here at Engine Service Design, we understand the challenges that businesses are facing in this rapidly-changing world. We can help you discover, design, and implement fully-connected services to give your customers the seamless, integrated services they require.

We can help you reimagine the future and unlock new value. Please Get in Touch if you need a trusted partner with whom to discuss your challenges: one of our service design experts will be delighted to help.

Customer Driven Transformation

How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

engine book customer driven transformation

Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

    The rise of the Chief Experience Officer

    Considered “unconventional” in the early 2000s, the Chief Experience Officer (CXO), or the Chief Customer/Client Officer (CCO), are relatively new positions at a senior executive level. They were originally only considered relevant to customer-centric companies. However, in this post-COVID world, where the customer experience is the main differentiator, companies ignore this important position at their peril. Indeed, the Harvard Business Review argues that all companies should have a Chief Experience Officer.

    While Chief Experience Officer describes the job of ensuring that customers’ needs are met, the title belies the bigger picture, including the importance of the employee experience that Chief Experience Officers should consider under their remit. Gartner’s 2019 Customer Experience Management Survey illustrated the growing trend, revealing that in 2017, more than 35% of organizations had neither a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) or Chief Customer Officer (CCO) or equivalents. By 2019, only around 10% of companies lacked one or the other.

    Why do companies need a CXO?

    We no longer live in a service economy. These days the world operates around experiences and the so-called experience economy is its successor. We already know the main differentiator between companies is the experience customers get. To attract, convert, and retain customers companies need to get their customer experience right first time. And they need to be able to adapt and grow in response to change.

    Experience is not just about marketing, although there is overlap. The customer experience officer overlooks the entire customer journey, including people, places, and technology and how they interact with each other. They should ensure the company is providing seamless, personalised, low-friction experiences.

    How does the CXO create and maintain exceptional customer experience?

    A good customer experience begins with good design. By approaching a company holistically, rather than looking solely at current customer touchpoints it becomes much easier to work out how and where to make improvements. 

    For example, automation and digitisation can help deal with simple or common issues more quickly and effectively. They can help save money and improve the customer experience while providing useful data. However, those parts of the process that should be automated or digitised will depend on a company’s products, services, and processes.

    Customers are looking for personalised experiences, so it is vital to understand the full customer journey. And any direct contact with employees will be key to a customer’s experience

    How does service design help with the customer experience?

    Service design —a creative, collaborative process— can determine how an existing service can be improved or how new technologies, products, or services can be best offered to customers. It can be used to design the best experience possible based on the way the company’s processes are already set up or can be used to identify where changes can be made to optimise the entire process.

    A great customer experience needs designing based on the right information. Given the complex nature of customer and employee experiences and how they are intricately bound up in company and industry legacies, practices, procedures, no two companies’ customer journeys will look the same. Companies that provide the best CX have purposefully designed it to help them attract and retain loyal customers.

    If you or your Chief Experience Officer would like any information on service design and how Engine Service Design can help you deliver a better customer experience, please book an appointment with a service design expert below.

    Why digital is no longer enough to create value and differentiate your customer experience

    Cast your mind back just a few years and the digital customer experience some companies delivered was enough to differentiate them from their competitors. In 2018 PwC asked what made a good customer experience. Their answer was “Speed. Convenience. Consistency. Friendliness and human touch—that is, creating real connections by making technology feel more human and giving employees what they need to create better customer experiences”.

    An excellent digital experience is now a basic expectation

    As technologies have advanced—even more rapidly in the past few years than we could have anticipated with the impact of a global pandemic— AI has become more sophisticated, and a good digital customer experience is now a basic expectation. Fast forward to 2022 and it may be still about connection, but this time it’s human connection that people crave. It’s the human touch that creates value and differentiates businesses, not just technology that feels more human.

    Sometimes it’s because automated services just can’t answer the question or solve the problem satisfactorily. You don’t need to scroll for long on social media to find a post complaining bitterly about the impossibility of speaking to someone in customer services.

    But now it’s more than just about finding answers quickly and easily. Gartner is predicting that by 2026, “75% of customers who call customer service and support organizations will do so out of loneliness, not because they have a customer service issue”.

    Combining automation, digitisation, and human interaction

    Customers want the best of all worlds, and companies need to design their services to create the optimum experience to differentiate themselves. Automating and digitising parts of the customer experience can ensure that simple issues can be dealt with quickly and effectively. Used properly it can create seamless, consistent, end-to-end support that is easy to use.

    Automating complex or labour-intensive processes saves money, improves the customer experience, and provides useful data. Its importance cannot be underestimated. Customers want personalised experiences and using customer data collected via digital processes can be extremely useful for this.

    However, many companies are still failing to see the whole picture, which bits of the process should be automated and where should humans take over? Where are the most effective, useful, and important touchpoints for customers to be offered the opportunity to interact with a real person?

    Designing the customer service experience to create value

    Service design takes account of the business and how it works as well as its customers and what they need. A holistic approach enables companies to design their customer service experience to maximise their resources and make the right choices. Without it they risk providing a below standard customer experience and losing their customers.

    At Engine Service Design we believe in the power of service design to help create the optimum customer service experience for your business and your customers. We can help you innovate, differentiate, and reimagine. Get in touch to find out more.

    Five top UK retail brands for customer experience in 2022

    Retailers deal directly with multiple customers day in, day out. A positive customer experience (CX) should be a given, but we all know this is not always the case. Some retail brands manage to set themselves apart by offering a better CX than others. According to a PwC survey of consumers, “73% point to experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions”.

    What sets retail brands apart?

    Retail brands compete on different levels of price and quality and will attract customers based on those criteria. Customer experience is where brands set themselves apart.

    To assess customer experience for retail brands, various factors should be taken into consideration. These include how brands communicate with and respond to their customers, the range and quality of their services, and how they interact with their community, the environment, and their employees.

    But which retail brands offer customer experiences that are based on what their customers value and need? Which companies provide a customer experience that delights customers rather than frustrates them? Which businesses exceed their customers’ expectations rather than failing to meet them?

    Here are 5 top retail brands for customer experience in the UK:

    • Pets at Home – Pets at Home aims to reduce friction throughout the customer experience as well as offering personalised solutions. They use in-store iPads instead of paper forms and train staff so they can offer advice in person and via video. They also track customer-care interactions
    • John Lewis – Having long been known for its focus on customer service, the John Lewis Partnership found its reputation slipping over the previous few years. With their new “school of service”, launched in 2021, they are retraining staff with a CX focus. They aim to recruit and retain employees who will stay with them and become net promoters.
    • Timpson – Timpson continue to operate an “upside-down” management style. Branch staff make the decisions they need to best serve their customers, including pricing, layout, and deals. The owner, James Timpson, says, “I don’t want rules to get in the way of people giving great service”.
    • Zara – Zara is proactive in managing their CX and it is constantly evolving. Employees are trained to listen out for customer comments and ideas as well as observing styles their customers are wearing. They consider them as key designers and track the locations of garments and consumer habits to ensure they can deliver requested items as quickly as possible.
    • Sainsbury’s – Sainsbury’s has reimagined their business model and used data and analytics to provide insights to better serve their customers.

    A great customer experience needs thought and the right input. The retail brands providing the best CX have purposefully-designed it to help them attract and retain loyal customers.

    If you would like any information on service design and how Engine Service Design can help you deliver a better customer experience, please book an appointment with a service design expert below.

    Five top UK companies for employee experience in 2022

    When the COVID-19 pandemic hit no one could have anticipated that the changes in working practice it led to would have such a lasting impact. Many people took the opportunity to reassess what they wanted in life. The way companies responded to the pandemic and behaved both during it and afterwards was critical for the employee experience.

    Why does employee experience matter?

    Work-life balance has become a focus. Providing an exceptional employee experience is now an essential element for companies who wish to attract and retain the best personnel. People spend a huge proportion of their lives at work. Employees are no longer prepared to accept that they are stuck with spending their working lives being poorly paid or badly treated.

    Companies with a positive employee experience can expect to increase productivity, improve their retention rates, and enhance their brand reputation. Happy, engaged employees are more productive: an Oxford University study found that “workers are 13% more productive when happy”. And customer experience is closely aligned with employee experience. Unhappy workers will not project a positive image to the outside world, resulting in a poor customer experience.

    With the well-documented “Great Resignation”, companies are also finding that an exceptional employee experience is one of the key ways to attract and retain talent. Our series of blogs on the employee experience, including the factors that have the greatest impact on it, goes into the subject in greater depth.

    What helped provide an exceptional employee experience?

    The way in which companies responded to the pandemic and communicated with employees, as well as remuneration, and management should all be taken into consideration. Five companies stand out across the board.

    Top 5 companies for employee experience

    • Cisco – Cisco invests in its employees. Management is transparent and they exhibit trust in their workers. Employees feel that Cisco also gives back to the community.
    • Salesforce – Salesforce employees view the company as authentic. Its mission, purpose, and values are reflected in the way they behave. Personal wellbeing and growth are important values.
    • ServiceNow – ServiceNow is a friendly place to work with a great environment. Employees are trusted with responsibility and management is considered trustworthy.
    • Hilton – Hilton has committed to a more diverse workforce and offers great employee benefits that can be accessed as soon as an employee starts. They also have a transparent management culture that is not afraid to address difficult subjects like mental health and political problems.
    • Amazon – despite a reputation for not treating its employees well, it seems that Amazon have turned a corner. They are retaining talent having increased wages and invested large sums in education and skills-training initiatives.

     

    Before a company can design an exceptional employee experience, they need a clearly defined vison and purpose. And as we have already mentioned, companies who can align their customer and employee experience can expect to attract and retain the best people and keep their customers happier.

    Please contact us for more information on service design and how Engine Service Design can help you deliver a better employee experience. Hit the link below to book an appointment with a service design expert.

    6 Reasons customers personas can help you create experiences your customers love

    This is the first in a series of 5 blogs, where we explore 5 key tools in the Service Designer’s Toolkit – Customer Personas, Customer Journey Mapping, Visioning, Concepting and Service Blueprinting.

    In this blog, we share how using Customer Personas, during the service design process, gives companies a creative tool to help imagine what customers need and will value. This facilitates service design from the point of view of the target customer who will actually be using it, making it far easier to produce something that is fit for purpose.

    What are Customer Personas?

    Customer personas are not the same as customer segments, although they can be informed by them. It is helpful to use methods and tools to enable a company to empathise with, and put themselves in the shoes of their customers. This means that new propositions and experiences for customers can be designed with them in mind.

    Thinking differently helps organisations get and stay ahead. Many companies have segments they think are personas – the problem is segments and personas are often used interchangeably, and whilst they are both useful tools, they serve a different purpose. Segments are typically demographic based, whereas personas are attitudinal and so cut across segments. Personas are far more useful for depicting the diverse needs, attitudes, behaviours, and expectations of their customers – which is great if you need to develop products or services, whereas segments are more suitable for marketing purposes.

    Is customer feedback data enough to inform future product development?

    Many companies also have data about how customers currently use their services and what they think of them. However, this data offers little insight to help them design or consider what the service may need to be for those customers; it only provides insight to the service as it is and tends to lack insight into why the service doesn’t meet customer needs. This will not help envision future services or highlight how new technologies and insights can be transformed into services people will want to buy, and love to use.

    Customer Driven Transformation

    How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

    engine book customer driven transformation

    Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

    With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

      Why do companies need Customer Personas for service design?

      If customer feedback data isn’t enough to inform the design of future products and services, what tools can businesses use to ensure they get it right? One solution in the service designers toolkit, is the Customer Persona.

      Customer Personas are based on research and data, but they are a design tool rather than purely the outcome of the research. They are created for service design, rather than marketing purposes, and have various benefits:

      – They are a tool for innovation:

      Customer Personas are a tool for outside-in thinking. Starting with a customer point of view rather than with existing services and operations enables companies to address problems and solutions from a different perspective – the customer perspective. It makes them more forward-thinking, helps find new solutions to old problems, and differentiates them from the competition.

      – They are essential for defining customer needs:

      As personas provide a more tangible idea of target customers’ needs, they can help in making and defending design and investment decisions, for example: Organisations often miss what customer NEEDS are, personas help to map these out accurately.

      – They can help employees provide better customer service:

      Personas can be used in employee training to help them empathise and understand the diverse needs of the customers they deal with.

      – They span socio-demographic groups:

      Customer personas describe needs, attitudes, and behaviours rather than socio-demographic clusters.

      – Different personas can be applied to the same people over time:

      Real customers do not fit the same persona all the time. Although their fundamental beliefs and values may not change over time, their needs and expectations can. This could depend on situation, age or other variables.

      For example, a person may use an airport as a business traveller at one time and for vacation travel another. They will have different needs and expectations depending on the circumstances. This is essential for companies who need to adapt and evolve to changing customer behaviour.

      Personas can be used to re-evaluate customer experience:

      using different sets of needs and expectations can help with assessing customer experience more fully and realistically. They can help fix problems and show how underserved and unmet customer needs can be targeted with new features and experiences.

      The key information required for creating Customer Personas

      – A defined scope of who the service is being designed for.
      – An understanding of the breadth of customer circumstances, needs, and attitudes.
      – Any information about existing company customer personas or segments.

      Customer Driven Transformation

      How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

      engine book customer driven transformation

      Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

      With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

        Creating Customer Personas

        As personas are collections of customer attributes, it is important to first identify the relevant needs, attitudes, and circumstances that relate to the service in question. Attributes may be related to variables, such as price sensitivity, or qualitative factors like areas of interest. It is useful if attributes are more extreme, as designing for extremes enables you to meet the needs of the majority.

        Once the relevant attributes have been determined, the key ones among them can be determined. These are the ones that are likely to have the greatest effect on the service experience, or perceptions of it. These attributes can be used to define the set of personas.

        Key attributes should be bundled together in believable ways and ideally each key attribute would only appear on one persona. It is a good idea to limit the number of customer personas to around four to eight.

        Using Customer Personas – Conclusion

        As we have discussed, Customer Personas can be used to make the service design process even more effective. They are particularly useful in target customer journey mapping and for creating service blueprints.

        Ultimately, Customer Personas give companies a creative tool to help imagine what their customers need and will value. What’s more, building new products and services from the customer perspective, makes it far easier to produce something that appeals to customers, and drives the commercial results your business needs to survive and thrive.

        If you would like access to an example of Personas, hit the link below to check out our Pandemic Personas pack.

        Many organisations are leveraging Pandemic Personas as part of their COVID-19 CX response toolkit, giving them the insights they need to think differently and stay ahead.

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        The Engine Service Design team is here and ready to help you reimagine the future and unlock new value. Get in Touch if you need a trusted partner to discuss your challenges with: one of our service design experts will be delighted to help.

        Now you’ve understood Customer Personas, click here to read the next blog in this 5-part series, where we explain what Customer Journey Mapping is and the key information you’ll need to create a customer journey map.

        9 Steps to create a compelling vision

        This is the second in a series of 5 Blogs, where we explore 5 key tools in the Service Designers Toolkit – Customer Personas, Customer Journey Mapping, Visioning, Concepting and Service Blueprinting.

        The service design process works best when all stakeholders are invested in it at an early stage. It’s vital for brands to stand out and provide excellent customer experiences. This can only be done effectively by taking a holistic view and designing with the target customer in mind. For service design, this can sometimes seem a little intangible at the start of the process. It can therefore sometimes be difficult for senior members of an organisation to buy into the process when they need to.

        The vision wheel provides information at an early stage in a service design project and is useful for helping senior people quickly understand the direction being taken. They will need to both sign-off and sign up to the next steps if it is to succeed.

        What is a vision wheel?

        A vision wheel provides a framework that is described on one page. It shows the design principles that will direct the next steps of idea generation and customer experience design. Using words and images it sets out the essence or ‘DNA’ of the service and experience that is being created.

        A vision wheel contains a vision statement, the principles or promises required to deliver it, and the tactics that will be employed to achieve the result. It expresses a clear ‘feeling’ about the qualities of the service and experience that is being created and it should be aligned with a brand’s framework. It can be created by one person, a few key people, or via a group brainstorming session: it’s up to you.

        9 Steps to Create an effective Vision Wheel

          1. Begin capturing your thoughts from the start of the service design process.
          2. Understand the strategy, needs, values, and key competencies or competitive advantages of your brand as they will be reflected in the vision wheel.
          3. Understand what qualities customers should get from the experience and what is important for the business to achieve from it.
          4. Create the vision statement – this is the central statement that encapsulates the ambition for the experience. It is not a marketing tool or for customers so doesn’t need to be overthought. It can sometimes take a while to define.

        Customer Driven Transformation

        How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

        engine book customer driven transformation

        Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

        With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

          1. Determine the principles/promises – these are the three to five components that sit around the vision statement and are required to deliver it. Some may be more functional, others more emotional.
          2. Describing the tactics – tactics sit around the principles or promises and should match with them to give a tangible method of delivering on the statement.
          3. A service ‘feeling’ can be added to the vision statement. This captures how people will feel when they experience the new service.
          4. Bring the vision wheel to life and make it more memorable and compelling with interesting iconography and imagery.
          5. Once you have your finished vision wheel, take a step back from it and make sure you can sum it up in a sentence or two.

          Now what?

          Creating and signing off the vision wheel gives the team in charge of the project and the other stakeholders confidence that the insights, objectives, and drivers are reflected in the service being designed. It provides clear direction for the next stages of idea generation and experience design.

          Click here to discover How Target Customer Journey Mapping Can Revolutionise The Customer Experience

          Because the wheel describes the target it can be used to identify any gaps in the existing experience that do not meet with the vision. Performance measurement metrics can be mapped around the wheel where possible and appropriate – and competitor data as well if you have it.

          The vision wheel continues to provide a useful reference even after initial launches of a service. It can help teams to assess proposed additional features or initiatives and discuss whether they fit with the vision statement.

          The Engine Service Design team is here and ready to help you reimagine the future and unlock new value. Get in Touch if you need a trusted partner to discuss your challenges: one of our service design experts will be delighted to help.

          How target customer journey mapping can revolutionise the customer experience

          This is the third in a series of 5 Blogs, where we explore 5 key tools in the Service Designers Toolkit – Customer Personas, Customer Journey Mapping, Visioning, Concepting and Service Blueprinting.

          Everyone has a story (or two) of terrible customer experience. Poorly designed processes that might look good on paper but do not work well in practice. Confused signposting (real or virtual), undesired outcomes and unnecessary requirements: we have all suffered bad customer journeys at one time or another.

          The key is making sure  your customers have a great story to tell: leave the bad ones to your competitors.

          ” A customer journey map allows all stakeholders in a process, to visualise how things will be different for customers in the future, and align on what that future customer journey will look like before significant budget and resources are invested”

          Lisa Skinner, DIrector – Engine Service Design

          What is a TARGET customer journey map?

          A target customer journey map is an end-to-end representation of a future service as it has been designed. It allows a company to see how all the elements of a service will work together as customers will experience them. It can be used to design new services or improve existing ones.

          With a visual, practical document like a map it is far easier to understand and alter elements to improve the customer journey. It makes it simpler to envisage a journey as a holistic process rather than standalone segments that may or may not fit together. The chances are these segments will not fit together well unless they have been designed to do so.

          A customer journey map will enable customer facing teams to comprehend better what is required and therefore plan more effectively. This generates goodwill and support for the process and any future development from the outset. They are often used with a service blueprint to ensure that the customer and delivery sides of the processes interact properly in the right places and ways. Most importantly, a customer journey map allows all stakeholders in a process, to visualise how things will be different for customers in the future, and align on what that future customer journey will look like before significant budget and resources are invested.

          Target customer journey maps are as useful for new services as they are for improving existing ones. It allows a new customer experience to be designed from the customer’s point of view from the outset.

          This makes it significantly more likely the customer experience will be optimum from launch. Creating the journey map for a service that is not working as well as it could makes it more obvious where the problems lie.

          By redesigning, tweaking, or overhauling processes and then reassessing the customer journey a better outcome can be achieved.

          Customer Driven Transformation

          How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

          engine book customer driven transformation

          Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

          With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

            The key information required to create a customer journey map

            • Operational processes – how they work and how they fit together.
            • Current customer experience – where it works well and where it could be improved.
            • Customer needs – how and where these will apply throughout the journey.
            • What the scope of the journey will be (partial and as part of the whole) – what this service encompasses and how it fits into a larger frame.
            • A concept of the experience that is to be achieved – what the desired outcome is for the customer.

            Things to consider

            There are various elements that should be considered when mapping out a target customer journey:

            – Who is the target customer?

            Most companies will have one or more customer personas. It is important to work out who is being targeted from the outset. The journey needs to apply to the target customer: there is no point designing the ideal journey for what turns out to be the wrong type of customer.

            Pin down and describe the needs and behaviours of the persona or personas before you start. This will allow you to see how well the journey applies to the target customer when you walk your target persona(s) through it.

            Customer Driven Transformation

            How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

            engine book customer driven transformation

            Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

            With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

              – What is the target experience?

              If it is an emotive-led journey map, it should focus on how a customer is feeling at each stage. A feature-led journey map would concentrate on the concepts and functional benefits.

              – What are all the necessary and ideal elements?

              It is easy to be too brief or too detailed so before you start make sure you know what needs to be included and what would ideally be included. It is not necessary to incorporate so much detail that it becomes unwieldy. If there is more than one target persona, journey maps can be created for the different personas.

              Using the target customer journey map

              Once you have your target customer journey map you can walk your customer persona or personas through it. This will give you a real feeling for how it works and where any potential issues may arise. It shows how all the processes and concepts work together. The map offers the opportunity to understand the customer journey in a far more tangible way.

              Target customer journey maps are useful for designers, developers, marketers, and clients for whom you are designing services. Their usefulness should not be underestimated.

              Make sure your customers experience the best journey you can deliver: as we all know from personal experience, it makes all the difference.

              The Engine Service Design team is here and ready to help you reimagine the future and unlock new value. PleaseGet in Touch if you need a trusted partner with whom to discuss your challenges: one of our service design experts will be delighted to help.

              Now you’ve understood Customer Journey Mapping, click here to read the next blog in this 5 part series, where we explain Concepting as a key step in the service design process.

              What is service design concepting and how is it valuable for organisations?

              This is the fourth in a series of 5 Blogs, where we explore 5 key tools in the Service Designers Toolkit – Customer Personas, Customer Journey Mapping, Visioning, Concepting and Service Blueprinting.

              You could be forgiven for assuming ‘concepting’ is a typo. It’s not. It’s a word used often in service design to mean the generation of new ideas. It’s a vital part of the service design process and without it companies risk limiting their idea generation to fit with their existing systems, resources, and capabilities.

              Companies that fail to deliver an excellent customer experience will find themselves further and further behind. To drive change and create services that provide the experiences that customers are looking for, companies need to reimagine the future to unlock new value.

              Brands need to stand out from the crowd by offering exceptional services. In order to do this, they shouldn’t think about change in terms of what they think is possible to implement, based on only what they currently do. They need to utilise tools, such as the Vision wheel (more on this here) to reimagine the future, to reimagine the experience and capture that in a concept that is in line with that vision.

              What is concepting?

              As we have said, concepting is the generation of new ideas. However, the concepting process within service design is based on generating and finding a range of ideas. Concepting helps to take the generation of ideas away from concerns about the practicalities of delivering an experience. It allows a team to think laterally and for everyone to have a voice in the process.

              In order to generate innovative, exciting ways to improve the target customer experience, ideas should

              Customer Driven Transformation

              How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

              engine book customer driven transformation

              Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

              With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

                respond to the future and customer needs. The design should be informed by these and not legacy issues.

                A team concepting process helps to identify opportunities that could be developed further. Once ideas have been generated the way has been paved for them to be formed into compelling concepts.

                What is a concept book and why would a company need one?

                Change is often resisted in organisations. This is particularly the case when new ideas are perceived as complex, at odds with existing capabilities or not considered relevant and in keeping with current practice. It can also sometimes be difficult to envisage how an idea will work in practice. Not to mention, different people may have different interpretations of the same idea and how valuable it will be.

                A concept book pulls together all the service products, offerings, and features that have been identified in the processes leading up to the concepting stage. They can be defined as a concept and the benefit to customers and the business explained.

                Five characteristics of a compelling concept book

                1. It’s clear how each concept in the book is a ‘proof-point’ for the service vision and target experience.
                2. The team is clear what each concept in the book is, how it could work and why it’s valuable.
                3. People are excited by the concepts in the book.
                4. The team is comfortable taking the Concept Book and the concepts in it through to evaluation.
                5. It’s shared by your team internally and influences thinking and ongoing initiatives, as well as new ones.

                Concept books tend to be issued as drafts initially, and then following a process of updating and refining the concepts a final copy will be produced. It should clearly show how each concept in the book is a ‘proof-point’ for the service vision and target experience. It enables a team to see exactly what each concept is, how it could work and why it would be valuable.

                Customer Driven Transformation

                How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

                engine book customer driven transformation

                Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

                With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

                  Describing and presenting the ideas generated in the concepting phase in this way means that people should be excited by the concepts in the book. The team is more likely to be comfortable taking chosen concepts through to evaluation and it can influence ongoing and future initiatives.

                  Concepting with Engine Service Design

                  Here at Engine, we believe in the power of concepting during the service design process. We would love to share our expertise with you. We can help you innovate, differentiate, and reimagine. If you would like further information or would like to organise a concepting workshop where we can help you get the best from the process, Get in touch. We would love to chat with you.

                  5 Ways a company can benefit from a service blueprint

                  This is the final blog in a the Service Design series, where we explore 5 key tools in the Service Designers Toolkit – Customer Personas, Customer Journey Mapping, Visioning, Concepting and Service Blueprinting.

                  In this blog, we share how Service Blueprints can be used for service operations and service positioning, as well as diagnosing operational problems. They are extremely useful when planning new services or improving existing ones. They can also help create better performance indicators.
                  Service blueprints are not roadmaps or programme plans, they are a visual representation of the components and processes relating to touchpoints in a customer journey.

                  They are often used with target customer journey mapping. They help organisations avoid the costly mistakes that can occur when they lack a comprehensive understanding of their services, resources, and processes.

                  What is a service blueprint?

                  First proposed in 1984 by G Lynn Shostack in the Harvard Business Review, service blueprints are seen from the point of view of the customer. They relate to a specific customer journey and the goals associated with that journey. However, they also include all the elements that customers do not see but that apply and need to work together for the service to run seamlessly.

                  This means that as well as employee actions and technology a customer may personally interact with, the service blueprint will include the relationship that back office, warehouse, delivery operations, and so on, have throughout the process as well. They bring together the target customer journey, concepts, experience requirements, and operational requirements. This makes it clear what needs to be built to enable the target experience.

                  It is important to note that there can be more than one blueprint for a service if various journeys are possible. Below, we explore how service blueprints are useful for planning new services, and improving existing services.

                  Customer Driven Transformation

                  How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

                  engine book customer driven transformation

                  Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

                  With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

                    5 ways service blueprints are useful?

                    Planning new services:

                    A service blueprint defines the personnel, processes, systems, and data requirements at each step of the customer journey. It can also help identify what could and should be measured along the customer journey.

                    Service blueprints create a single, easily understood picture of the service components and how they relate to each other. This helps to provide the consistency and coordination that is essential for delivering a great proposition and experience. This is especially the case when several channels need to work together. Using a service blueprint helps to prevent the various delivery areas from interpreting the target design differently, or only delivering elements that are in their roadmap.

                    Improving existing services:

                    Because service blueprints show a map of inter-dependence, they can highlight weaknesses that can lead to poor customer experiences. Once weaknesses have been detected and defined it is much easier to see why things are going wrong and then do something about them.

                    With a visual map, it is also easier to identify areas where systems, processes, or information could be re-used at other touchpoints in the customer journey to improve the customer experience.

                    Improving intra-company processes and dialogue:

                    Service blueprints are particularly useful in services that cross departments. Individual departments and services may not be aware of the impact their actions may have on others. They may not care about the bigger picture as long as their department meets its targets, for example.

                    The service blueprint creates a shared point of reference. This means better awareness of interdependence and the importance of how working for the greater good can also indirectly benefit them.

                    It can also help streamline processes:

                    If two departments meet the same objective in different ways it may become more obvious that they could combine or share resources, for example. The service blueprint can help teams identify what is required to support customer-facing colleagues.

                    Indicators and requirements:

                    Key performance indicators and the benefits of implementing requirements can be captured. At the same time, as what needs to happen in each channel and operational area is scoped, new ways to measure the performance of a service against the target experience will become evident.

                    Next, lets take a look at the key information required for a service blueprint…

                    Customer Driven Transformation

                    How design-led companies get more of the right services to market faster

                    engine book customer driven transformation

                    Download a free copy of the first two chapters of our book.

                    With this book, the authors show you how to instil an outside-in approach to strategy; moving away from management that’s technology, marketing or resource optimization-led, to one that is customer-inspired and experimental with innovation.

                      The key information required for a service blueprint

                      • A defined scope of the service or experience mapped out using the key concepts.
                      • The processes, systems, people, or projects needed for the service.
                      • The enablers who will deliver the processes, systems, people, or projects as above.

                      Putting together a service blueprint

                      A service blueprint can be as diagrammatic and visual as you choose, and the level of detail is also up to you. It tends to have at least four or five layers, levels, or rows: evidence, customer actions/journey, frontstage, backstage, and processes. Time, arrows to indicate relationships and dependencies, and emotions can also be included.

                      -Evidence: this could mean a website or a store, goods for sale, or credit card receipts, for example. It covers physical elements that come into play during the customer journey and can be frontstage or backstage (see below).

                      -Customer actions/journey: these are the touchpoints where the customer interacts with the service.

                      -Frontstage: these are interactions that the customer has with technology, employees, stores, delivery people, and so on. Some frontstage elements will also interact with backstage ones.

                      -Backstage: these are the processes, actions, and so on that are carried out “behind the scenes” that the customer plays no direct part in. For example, inventory checks, order inputting, quality control, delivery services.

                      -Processes: these are all the things that need to be done that apply to the customer journey. This could be pricing, delivery of goods to stores, stock control on a website, and so on.

                      Once you have used your target customer service journey to inform your service blueprint, or vice versa, it can be used to create or improve the customer service journey and experience. Bear in mind that change requirements are developed based on the target experience, and not the other way around.

                      Using service blueprints will help ensure your customers get the best experience possible, and your organisation continues to thrive.

                      If you need support creating service blueprints for your organisation, the Engine Service Design team is here to help. Get in Touch and discuss your challenges with one of our Service Design experts.