Business Management
5 min read

Digital Service Design that skyrocket customer acquisition and innovation

EHL Insights
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Cutting-edge service design practices are among the driving forces behind behemoths like Nike, SAP, and Apple. Such customer-centric giants are 60% more profitable than firms that lack this approach. The last decade has seen these giants' profit on investment surpassing that of all companies on the S&P 500 index by a whopping 200%. 

These statistics indicate that your company needs robust service and product designs to maintain long-lasting positive customer relations. Play your cards like a pro, and your existing customers will become brand ambassadors. What's more, expect a stream of referrals and revenue. The design process also converts your organization into an innovation powerhouse. As your teams master and employ new tools, they learn the benefits of research and observation. The employees can make hypotheses, verify them, and learn from mistakes and success. 

The result is business success and profits, increasing opportunities for more innovations. 

So, what is customer experience design? And how can you make your service roar above the internet clutter and noise to draw in more customers and innovation opportunities? Let's dive deeper.

What is CX design?

First, what's a service? A service helps you do tasks such as watching a movie on your smartphone, renewing your license, or booking a bus seat. 

So, a customer experience (CX) design connects the people, systems, and tools, delivering the complete experience in service. It involves employing guiding principles to build an end-to-end journey.

  • Consider complete systems: Design for both internal and external touchpoints. Your design should go beyond satisfying service consumers - it should also help people deliver the service and smoothen all business interactions.
  • Be co-creative: One way of eliminating silos among team members and stakeholders is to lead maximum collaboration. Don't forget to take the collaboration game beyond your business setting by bringing in your users and potential consumers. 
  • Focus on the big picture: It's easy to get lost in the nuts and bolts. But be sure to focus all your conversations and activities on boosting the service's value.  
  • Test value constantly: User-focused designs benefit all stakeholders at all times. So proactively identify their needs and ensure your design meets these pain points. 

Robust Service Design project plan

You cannot wait to breathe life into your service concept and surprise your market with it. But how can you hack this journey? The trick is to build an excellent service design that considers customer experience. 

1. Have a rock-solid strategy

Creating a digital service from the ground isn't a walk in the park. This is because you're not just creating an interface that helps users interact with your offerings. The trick is to have a clear roadmap from the word "go",   that way, you can maximize the initial investment and promote the organic growth of your service. The result is a reduced level of risks. 

Kickstart your roadmap by defining your minimum viable product (MVP). Also, identify all the required activities that will breathe life into the MVP. Have you left out some functionalities in the MVP? More future development cycles will take care of them, boosting your service to greater experience levels.

Pro tip: Every step should have validation moments

2. Document desired features

Which are the features you need to create the MVP and subsequent releases? Describe all the functionalities via user stories, ensuring that all design team members and technical partners understand them. Each interaction or feature should have its user story. Remember to optimize the stories to ensure an organized collaborative process of experts at the implementation stage.

Pro tip: Keep the stories simple and contained, that way the design-development-QA cycle becomes seamless and continuous. 

3. Design workflows

As you develop your service, define all the activities that will bring the service to the market, sustain it, and fix any issue that pops up - for example, onboarding steps for intermediate partners and assistance activities for maintenance.

You're going to manage some of the activities internally, that means you need to assign specific roles to specific people and departments. Leave other activities in the hands of third parties; the result is a robust relationship across the organization and the broader ecosystem.

Pro tip: Remember crucial aspects like how to deal with customer support and care from the beginning and beyond.

4. Describe your recommendations and choices

Document everything regarding the service delivery processes so that all team players and third-parties will be on the same page regarding the service's working mechanism and what's required from them. This document will come in handy when onboarding collaborators or assigning specific parts of the design process to outside interlocutors. For example, it'll help a brand agency to design your service identity that ticks all boxes.

So what should be in the service specifications documents?

  • Your vision's description
  • Crucial design and implementation guiding principles   
  • In-depth description of every touchpoint
  • How the touchpoints merge to create a unified service experience

Pro tip: Get inspiration from open source development practice, especially if you need to engage more people. 

5. Simulate the final experience

Toward the end, arrange a closed-beta to test interaction with the prototype and fine-tune the implementation. This step allows you to fix potential errors and gather feedback on features. Are there hard-to-understand functionalities? Do users desire a different aspect or experience? The early tests will help you refine and redesign your service model before ushering it into the market.

Pro tip: Does the service goes beyond digital confines to enhance interactions in a defined space? Get creative and let the simulation be like a role-playing game. 

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Tricks to supercharge your Digital Service Design

Here are what you need to know when designing your next big idea:

1. It's more than just a single service

It's easy to think the design process should focus on just a single service. Often, it's about services mix where each service meets a specific customer goal. So remember to consider all the goals when designing the entire journey.

The trick is to build different interaction funnels that branch from the primary journey. Here, each funnel delivers a specific service. After identifying the funnels, you can design their UX flows. That gives a clear picture of the delivery of each specific service. 

2. Take a holistic approach

UX/UI design and digital service design are intertwining twins. The latter manifests itself through the former, and the former requires the context of the latter for effective design. So it's wise to perform the project as iterative cycles of UX/UI design, service prototyping, and user testing to ensure the correct design of the service mix. After that, you can match your prototype to the right technologies and get a real product, like a SaaS platform.

3. Service and product depend on each other

Product is an integral part of the whole service design process. The process brings together all innovative solutions in the form of products and services. Take a restaurant, for example. Apart from offering quality food, you must ensure your customer experience is top-notch- from booking to payment. If the waiter's actions, food taste, and interior design aren't ticking all boxes, the customer might never return.

Spicing your product with accompanying factors is the secret to competitive advantage and success. A professionally designed service creates long-lasting client relationships from when your customer realizes their needs to the actual purchasing stage. Don't stop there- post-sales services are as crucial as pre-sale ones. 

4. Have an offline backup

You've rolled out your service mix, and customers have started interacting with it. It's time to end your design adventure. Right ...? Wrong! Depending on the complexity, your service may require offline support. For example, the customer onboarding funnel may need training, demos, and workshops. Throw these services into the customer's journey, and most of them will quickly adopt the SaaS product. So review the main customer journey and sprinkle in the right offline services at the right stages. 

5. Experience your service environment

Obvious tip - yet most companies oversee it. It's a breeze to gather second-hand details and start designing services. However, this shortcut denies you the chance to get crucial information that could influence service design and delivery. 

Suppose you're creating a CRM solution for the sales crew. You may talk with that crew to understand their pain points and proceed to bake a UI interface. But your best bet is to observe their daily activities to capture other important things to consider. For instance, you may realize that they're often on the move outside the office, in which case your design should accommodate remote data entry. 

Your turn!

Companies are shifting from product-centric to service-centric approaches to bring in immense benefits. Instead of focusing on isolated events, products and touchpoints, they combine all these to deliver unmatched customer journeys. 

Don't be left behind. Usher in EHL Advisory Services to skyrocket your company in this area. We help you drive exceptional customer service, enticing your clients to return for more. Our immense experience comes from serving 500+ organizations. That means we know what works and what doesn't regarding combining projects, priorities, and people in driving valuable results.

Get personalized advice today to supercharge your customer acquisition, service, and innovations. 

 
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Acquiring a new customer costs 7 times more than maintaining an existing one!

Whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, consultant, (Vice-)President, CxO, etc.... this seven-step process, you will have all the tools you need to make Customer Service Excellence work.