From pain points to opportunities: Using service design to overcome common customer experience challenges

From pain points to opportunities: Using service design to overcome common customer experience challenges Image
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Improving customer experience is a critical priority for businesses today. With the proliferation of digital channels, customers now have a plethora of options and can switch to a competitor in seconds if they are not satisfied with their experience. 

To meet customer expectations and differentiate themselves from competitors, businesses must develop a strong customer experience (CX) strategy. In this blog post, we will explore how to overcome common customer experience challenges with service design.

Understanding common customer experience challenges

To effectively address the challenges of developing a customer experience strategy, it is crucial to first identify and comprehend the obstacles at play. Let’s dive into some key challenges for organisations when it comes to developing a customer experience strategy. 

  • Understanding customers

To deliver a seamless customer experience, it is essential to comprehend how customers interact with your business from start to finish. However, it is not uncommon for companies to become too attached to their products or services, losing sight of the individuals they are serving. To combat this, CX teams must prioritise a customer-centric culture, striving to comprehend customers' actions and their impact on the business. Without this focus, it becomes difficult to listen to and provide personalised experiences to your customers, leading to difficulties in retaining them over time.

  • Prioritising CX problems and opportunities

CX leaders often face the challenge of juggling competing priorities and stakeholders with differing needs and objectives. Consequently, determining which CX problems and opportunities to address first, and which ones merit the investment of time and resources, can be a daunting task. 

  • Using the right technology, for the right purpose

Having the appropriate technology is critical for effective analysis and decision-making. In the absence of the right tools, relying on manual analysis or making assumptions can be time-consuming and may result in erroneous conclusions. Investigations that could have been completed in a few hours with the appropriate technology may take several weeks without it.

  • Lack of employee knowledge and training

Building a customer-centric culture requires prioritising your internal customers - your team. Neglecting to consider both customer and employee experience data can have adverse effects on everyone involved in the process. In the absence of a holistic organisational approach, it is easy to overlook employee engagement and attempt to deploy CX initiatives externally. However, your people are the ones who deliver the customer experience, making it essential to consider how to ensure that everyone is on board with the CX strategy and understands the role they play in the customers' experience.

  • Organisational silos

Silos not only obstruct communication but also distort an organisation's perception of the customer, resulting in competing or inconsistent objectives, marketing, service, and measurement. Companies that do not prioritise internal alignment around comprehending their customers and enhancing outcomes risk creating conflicting brand experiences throughout the customer journey. This misalignment can lead to confusion, frustration, and dissatisfaction among customers, ultimately negatively impacting customer retention rates and revenue.

  • Getting leadership buy-in

Without buy-in from leadership, implementing the necessary people, systems, practices, and technology to execute a customer experience roadmap can be challenging. According to a survey of over 2,000 CX professionals, companies with the most developed customer experience management had the most comprehensive buy-in throughout the organisation. This underscores the critical role that leadership plays in establishing a customer-centric culture that permeates throughout the organisation. Leadership buy-in provides the necessary support, resources, and direction to foster a customer-centric mindset and drive CX initiatives forward. It also helps to ensure that the entire team is aligned around a common set of goals and objectives, with a shared understanding of the importance of delivering exceptional customer experiences.

  • Quantifying CX return on investment

Quantifying the benefits or returns of CX initiatives can be challenging and is often the reason why many CX practitioners avoid it altogether. However, the ability to measure the impact of CX efforts with concrete metrics is a crucial component of a successful customer experience strategy. Without a clear understanding of the returns on CX investments, it is difficult to build, measure, and optimise customer experience efforts. A robust CX strategy requires significant investment, and to gain budget approval, the C-suite needs a firm understanding of the ROI of CX.

What is service design?

Wherever you are on your customer experience journey, you’re probably going to find yourself confronted by one of these challenges - or even several at once. 

Service design is a process that involves designing and creating the various touchpoints, processes, and systems required to deliver a service to customers. It is a holistic approach to designing services that takes into account the entire customer journey and all the touchpoints a customer interacts with.

As a user-centred approach to developing and improving services, service design helps organisations to better understand the customer experience and create a seamless, end-to-end experience across all touchpoints - something we refer to at Engine Service Design as Connected Service Design.

Ultimately, the goal of service design is to drive customer loyalty and increase ROI by creating experiences that customers love. 

Using service design to overcome customer experience challenges

Let’s explore the role of service design in tackling these roadblocks, and examine how it can help you turn your customer experience challenges into opportunities. 

User-centred design

At its core, service design is all about putting the user first. By adopting service design as a strategic capability, organisations can align their services with customer expectations, enhancing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. This customer-centric approach can provide a competitive advantage in today's experience-driven economy.

Technology and tools

Technology and tools are essential for creating exceptional customer experiences, but let's face it - selecting the right ones can be overwhelming. Plus, a fully connected service and experience goes beyond simply combining touchpoints - it requires seamless integration of technology and the flow of data in the background. That's where service design comes in. 

Service design can help you select and implement the right technology and tools to deliver experiences that customers will love, while also facilitating connected journeys. For example, you might use service design to create an experience that recognises customers and remembers their profile, preferences, and interaction history with your services. This can allow them to seamlessly transition between your channels, making their experience with your brand more consistent and enjoyable. 


Service design brings everyone together to create exceptional experiences. By fostering a culture of collaboration and cross-functional communication, CX teams can ensure that everyone is on board with the CX journey and understands their role in delivering great customer experiences. For example, by using service design to optimise the employee experience, businesses can ensure that their staff have the tools and support they need to deliver a high-quality customer experience, which in turn can lead to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

By focusing on the end-to-end service experience, organisations can identify pain points, bottlenecks, and opportunities for improvement. This comprehensive perspective helps in designing seamless, integrated services that deliver value at each step, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Innovation and Differentiation

Encouraging creative thinking and fostering innovation in service delivery, service design empowers organisations to craft distinctive and unforgettable experiences that set them apart from rivals. By incorporating service design principles into their strategic planning, companies can cultivate an environment that nurtures innovation and consistently enhances their service offerings, enabling them to maintain a competitive edge.

Business Efficiency and Effectiveness

Service design methodologies, such as process mapping and service blueprinting, enable organisations to streamline their operations and optimise resource allocation. By applying service design strategically, companies can identify inefficiencies, eliminate redundancies, and enhance operational effectiveness, leading to cost savings, increased productivity, and improved service quality.

Prioritisation of measurement and analysis

As we explored earlier, one of the biggest challenges in CX is measuring the return on investment (ROI) of CX strategies. Through service design, and in particular, taking a data-driven approach and analysing user behaviour and feedback, CX teams can measure the impact of their CX initiatives with concrete metrics. For example, a hotel chain might use service design to optimise the guest experience. By analysing data on guest feedback, room occupancy rates, and revenue per room, they can measure the ROI of their CX initiatives and make data-driven decisions on how to allocate resources and prioritise initiatives. 

In today's competitive business landscape, delivering exceptional customer experiences has become essential. Service design offers a data-driven approach to designing and delivering great CX, helping organisations identify pain points and opportunities for improvement, and measure the impact of CX initiatives with concrete metrics. By putting the user at the centre of the process, fostering cross-functional collaboration, and using the right technology, organisations can create exceptional experiences that drive customer loyalty and increase ROI. 

At Engine Service Design, we're passionate about creating remarkable customer experience strategies through connected service design. Our Service Design System has been honed over 20 years of experience, helping organisations across industries transform their CX challenges into opportunities for growth.

If you're interested in learning more about how Engine Service Design can help you create the right CX strategy for your organisation, click below to get in touch. We’d love to chat with you about how we can help you create customer experiences that truly make a difference.

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