Meeting the expectations of today’s consumers: 10 service design fundamentals

Meeting the expectations of today’s consumers: 10 service design fundamentals Image
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Advancements in technology, such as smartphones, modern web technologies, cloud computing, APIs, microservices, data standards, identity and payment platforms, among others, have enabled businesses to offer services and create experiences that are more accessible, desirable, personal, and exciting for users.

As these technological possibilities continue to become more user-friendly and enjoyable, consumers' expectations for all services and organisations have shifted.

What are the key elements of service design for companies to fulfil modern consumer expectations? Let’s explore ten fundamental components.

  1. My smartphone is an extension of me.
    The smartphone has become an integral part of people's lives, with consumers using it as their primary interface to interact with brands and manage their relationships.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend, with smartphones serving as the go-to device for every stage of the customer journey - from researching to booking, ordering, paying, and accessing service history, loyalty, and personalisation.
    In response, many brands have adopted a mobile-first strategy, making all aspects of their customer operations accessible through a single, logged-in experience on a smartphone.
  2. Connect my services for me, frictionlessly.
    Brands are facing heightened consumer expectations for convenience, leading to an increase in solutions such as account linking and single sign-on (SSO) that simplify the process.
    With features like Apple’s 'Hide my email', users can register for apps with unique, random email addresses to protect their privacy. Tech giants like Google Wallet and Apple Pay provide effortless payment gateways that expedite transactions.
    These solutions enable customers to enjoy a smooth brand experience, free from complicated steps or cumbersome processes.
  3. Share my data with my permission.
    While many consumers remain cautious about companies and public sector organisations collecting and sharing their data, an increasing number are recognising the benefits. They do not want to repeatedly provide the same information to different organisations, nor do they want to bear the sole responsibility of maintaining their data, account details, service, purchase, or medical histories.
    Additionally, some regions have implemented legislation that promotes open standards, making it easier for companies to share customer data with their permission. This legislation has made it simpler for consumers to switch utility providers, consolidate bank account balances to get a clearer financial picture, provide doctors with a comprehensive medical record, and more.
  4. I only want to learn one way of doing something.
    Customers expect a unified and uninterrupted experience when engaging with your services.
    This means that regardless of which part of the service they are interacting with, the information, language, forms, and tasks should feel consistent across all channels and touchpoints. The last thing they want is to have to learn multiple ways of interacting with the same business!
    From only needing to log in with one username and password to having their customer records integrated across all platforms, streamlining their experiences across platforms provides them with a sense of a unified identity that is consistently recognised, no matter where they go. Careful consideration of changes should also be taken into account in order to maintain consistency and trust.
  5. I want to do it myself (most of the time).
    Consumers today often prefer self-service options as long as they are easy to use. Companies must therefore simplify and design their customer processes to be user-friendly and accessible to their customers.
    Providing control to customers can be challenging, but it's crucial that the experience remains consistent across all parts of the customer journey, regardless of the self-service option they choose.
  6. More personalised personalisation, please.
    The concept of personalisation on a large scale is well-known, however, it is frequently limited to personalised sales.
    By utilising the power of automation and individual data points such as preferences, history, social graph and location to customise services on-the-go, businesses can create bespoke versions of their service tailored with each customer in mind.
  7. Heroes when I need them.
    Consumers expect services to be efficient, simple to use, and free of obstacles. When these expectations are met, the experience is seamless. However, if there is a problem or customers require assistance, they expect to be able to receive help quickly and easily.
    The expectation is for customer support to be available at all times and to be able to resolve issues in a timely manner. Customers look for "heroes" who can help in times of need, so companies must ensure that their support is accessible from all touchpoints and is coordinated across all aspects of the customer operation.
  8. Empathy and compassion when life becomes difficult.
    In today's world, many transactions have become more convenient, but there are still instances where consumers face genuine challenges. In these situations, automation alone cannot provide the needed assistance.
    Consumers require brands that can exhibit genuine empathy and compassion by going beyond service delivery and connecting with them on a human level. A well-designed service should be able to recognize the need and make that human connection.
  9. Everything as standard.
    Consumers are increasingly valuing the quality of their purchases over price.
    Amazon Prime is the perfect example of getting maximum value for money. With its large portfolio and product range, customers can have access to a variety of goods without worrying about any additional charges or compromising on customer service - delivering an all-inclusive customer experience that strives for convenience and satisfaction alike.
    The unified service design thinking behind such offerings is essential in creating these experiences.
  10. Help me help others and the planet.
    Consumers are looking beyond the standard services, wanting to do good with their purchases. Supermarkets allow customers to 'round up' when they shop and donate the extra change towards charitable causes; furniture stores will take care of removal or recycling sustainable disposal of old items; while retailers and delivery firms provide more fuel-efficient slots as an option for those who want a green choice.
    As these features become increasingly commonplace, it takes partnerships between brands along with strategic orchestration in order to deliver seamless customer experiences that meet growing expectations around sustainability.

In conclusion, the advancements in technology have resulted in a shift in consumers' expectations, who now demand more from all services and organisations. To meet these changing expectations, it is essential to prioritise the ten fundamental elements of service design outlined above. By doing so, you can stay ahead of the competition and provide your customers with exceptional experiences that keep them coming back.

At Engine Service Design, we are dedicated to helping companies navigate these expectations and create meaningful connections with their customers through innovative and customer-centric service design solutions. We offer a range of services, including strategy, research, design, and implementation, to help companies create connected services and experiences that meet the evolving needs of consumers.

If you're interested in learning more about how Engine Service Design can help you meet the changing expectations of consumers, click below to get in touch. We can help you start your journey towards creating connected services and experiences that truly make a difference.

To learn more about Connected Service Design, click here.

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