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Redesigning your frontline through all this change

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If your business delivers some or all of its service within physical spaces and through your frontline colleagues, then right now you're probably working hard to understand how to design a frontline operation to deliver the best possible experience for your colleagues and customers.

Even without the complication of Covid-19, it's not easy to join-the-dots for customers, connecting the design of physical spaces and equipment, colleague roles and tasks, customer communications and business processes to create a great experience.

The adjustments to be made right now to keep people safe have a direct impact on how customers and colleagues interact and on your customers' behaviour around each other. And as government guidelines change and commercial models adapt, your frontline operation will need to adjust too.

Some problems you may be trying to solve for your business:

  • How do we rapidly recruit and train staff on new service roles while ensuring they give our customers a great experience of our brand?
  • How do we help our frontline colleagues engage customers in the right ways despite the procedures we've put in place, the physical barriers we've put up and what we're now asking customers to do?
  • Given its reasonable that operating procedures will continue to change for some time, how do we take a more agile (and less reactive) approach to respond and evolve the frontline experience?
  • While we continue to control the flow of customers and while serving individual customers is taking longer, how can we make the experience of waiting or pre-booking a slot as positive as it can be?
  • How can we encourage more customers to self-self in our environments and ensure they feel safe doing so?
  • How can we use existing or new technology to super-charge our colleagues, giving them real-time information and new transactions at their fingertips to benefit customers?
  • How can we engage managers on the ground in the importance of the experience, when they are focussing on safety and revenue?

Let's help you get a plan to:

Design the best possible frontline experience while operating procedures continue to change.

What this will deliver:

  • Signal you're safe and open for business to retain and recapture revenue quickly. At a time when customers are making decisions about whether to use a service, they're looking for signals that's it both safe and quick. Designing your frontline experience to signal that you're open for business and safe will help to retain and recapture traffic and spend.
  • Minimise or mitigate the impact of the extra effort for customers to maximise customer-spend per visit. As customers need put in more effort to use your service safely, reward this effort with an experience that feels relaxing, not procedural.
  • CSAT and NPS halo effects. Make sure the goodwill you've enjoyed from customers during lock-down is translated into positive perceptions of your service and brand as we move into a new normal.
  • Deliver the best possible service and experience you can from the managers and frontline colleagues you have, particularly at a time when staffing levels may be unpredictable.

How Engine can help:

  • We design services and experiences in physical spaces, delivered by people and using technology. We know how to make all of this work together.
  • We understand how to kick-start projects and run online workshops that engage all of your business functions including, customer operations, frontline management, digital, IT, L&D and marketing.
  • We're customer and colleague-driven in our approach to frontline experience design.
  • We've developed customer experience skills and ways of working within CX teams so that they can work effectively with implementation and operation teams quickly, creatively and with a shared focus on customers and frontline colleagues.
  • We've delivered projects just like this with leading brands in retail, travel, automotive, telecoms and media, financial services and hospitality, amongst others.

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Originally published in New Design Magazine, Issue 90, June 2011

Visiting Royal College of Art’s MA WIP Exhibition

Author: Karen Barrett, Service Designer

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