Die or develop yourself! How to bridge the gaps in customer experience with service design?

You have created a qualitative product, implemented customer service standards, regularly monitored the implementation, but feel that you are standing still? It is time to look at the company through the eyes of the client and to walk the path of consumer interaction, get an opinion and find solutions. 

When considering the market, one must remember that it does have the ability to expand but it is not dimensionless. In a world of growing competition, one who understands and personifies the customer survives and develops further. By listening to consumer wishes, companies are able to maximize profits. What is the service design and how it develops a business we are going to tell in our article.

What is this type of service design?

This is qualitative research, which is an effective tool used to analyze the true desires, relationships and consumer habits of a particular product category, brand and advertising. This type of research uses techniques based on the psychology of explicit and hidden human motives. This knowledge of motives helps to establish communication between a company and its consumers.

Service design is a relatively new phenomenon on the marketing services market, intersecting research, analysis of information received and the creation of new, often non-standard, solutions.

Service design is based on deep ethnographic research, with the aim of creating systems and processes to provide a holistic service to the user. This is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary and integrative approach that solves specific business problems. Therefore, it requires a large number of analytical techniques. 

Here are the basic tools for service design:

– in-depth Customer Journey Map;

A Customer Journey Map offers a comprehensive overview of consumer behavior. A map illustrates the stages of the client’s interaction with a company until the time of purchase. Using this tool, emotions and customer satisfaction can be examined.

– Service blueprint;

This is a method used to design a map of a client’s path (in the search for new service capabilities and innovative ideas); it is a tool for building customer-oriented services within a company.

In-depth interviews;

– Jobs-to-be-done;

The concept of understanding what motivates customers to buy your products (the product that your company creates must meet the client’s needs and/or solve their problems). 

– Empathy maps;

– Archetypes or prototypes.

Why is service design important for businesses, particularly during a time when most services on offer are concentrated in the digital field? 

Web analytics is not enough to understand why a business is not working as it should. It is important to remember that nothing exists on its own; each element of a business is a component forming a huge ecosystem, with dozens of external factors. Marketers using service design help you come up with the perfect picture for customer interaction with the product.

Why do businesses need service design?

It is true that there are practically no unique products or services on the market today. A saturated market provides little room for manoeuver and providing average service is not enough to become a market leader. If consumers can solve their issue/problem by buying a service/product from your company, that will be a memorable experience and they will remember the company. This will also make them a returning customer. 

How does service design work? Case studies

The product: A McDonald’s milkshake. 

The problem: Milkshakes do not bring profitable growth; there is no rationale as to why people buy this product. 

The solution: Research has shown that two types of people prefer milkshakes: 

1) Children

2) Those on their way to work. 

Based on these observations, McDonald’s made their milkshakes thicker for adults and runnier for children, so their parents won’t have to wait a long time for their children to drink it.

The product: taxi aggregator.

The problem: There is a reduction in the number of calls to the drivers at the call center. 

The solution: By collecting a pool of complaints and conducting in-depth interviews, it was revealed that drivers call the hotline to receive compensation when the customer does not make a call to the call center. An application button is also used to automate this process. 

The product: pods for coffee machines.

The problem: Companies specializing in the sales of coffee machines were unable to sell coffee pods. 

The solution: Research indicated that it was more convenient for users to buy coffee pods at the store closest to their home, rather than online or by phone. In order to solve the problem, coffee machine sellers offered to buy a coffee machine for rent for $1 and make this subject to an annual subscription for the purchase of coffee pods. That way, the client gets their coffee and reserve consumption is also taken into account.

The product: Airbnb – a service to rent beds, apartments and houses.

The problem: There is a lack of cheap housing in popular tourist cities and also a lack of free housing available for rent during public events (festivals, exhibitions, conferences, sports competitions, concerts etc.).

The solution: To develop airbedandbreakfast.com for the sale/rental of beds with the option of breakfast and networking. Travelers could find accommodation quickly at affordable prices, and the property owner no longer acts simply as a property owner, but also as a companion for his guests. Due to the option to leave bilateral reviews, the potential problem of distrust between the two parties would also be resolved. 

Today, the online service Airbnb has 200 million users and its market capitalization stands at $31 billion.

How to implement service design and digitalize the result

Anyone can implement a service design! The customer receives a detailed plan of mandatory activities for achieving the goal at the end of the project. This plan consists of the tasks for each department, indicating priorities and the predicted result after implementation.

As for digitalizing the results, a new product/service is then created using the service design. The client receives accurate information regarding the growth of financial indicators (profitability) after the implementation of the tasks outlined in the service design. The effectiveness of the methodology can be observed by customers’ feedback, NPS growth and the change in LTV.

Service design principles:


  • Client-centricity. If a business does not place the customer needs at the center, it will never be able to “fall in love” with a consumer’s brand, gain its trust. Only by solving the consumer problem, the company will receive a loyal and sincere customer.
  • Co-creation. A guaranteed result is obtained only through a partnership between the research team and the research customer. If the research team works independently, the solutions that the researchers will offer may not suit the customer. This will entail some stages missing while implementation having a negative result. 

Work on the project should be mutual, and each participant should have a lot of ideas and solutions for implementation.

  • Stages. It is important to go through all the stages of service design without mixing them. We do not carry out activities without stages, whether it is cooking or marketing research. In the service design, it is important to carry out work one at a time in order to receive insights and convert them into solutions. Even if you know the solution to the problem at the very beginning, believe me, at the end of the research you will have completely different considerations about this.
  • Visibility. In the service design, the stickers are used to work with the received data and create a prototype of the customer experience. Visual design of the product/service makes it possible to work out the product “in action”. Thus, all the loose ends during the use of the product clearly “pop up”.
  • Integrity. The task in service design is solved comprehensively, and not in parts. This principle is intertwined with all principles. You cannot implement the solution halfway; you cannot work on the product/service design with just one team. It is impossible to solve the business problem and bypass the client, exactly the opposite. 

Service design is a holistic discipline and product, it works only in the case of an integrated approach and implementation.

Why can not everyone offer a service design?

Service design is one of the most trending topics in marketing today; most seek to make money on it, but not everyone in the industry succeeds. 

This technique requires knowledge and experience in the application of field research and the correct interpretation of the data received. The researchers who are not ready to immerse themselves in the client’s business will never be able to provide a qualified assistance, therefore, the research will be inconclusive.

Over 18 years of research at Customer Experience, we have gained a valuable experience in creating high-quality service in various business sectors. We understand what needs does the client has and we know how the company’s internal processes work, when it is possible to propose the innovative approaches.

Thanks to large-scale surveys, we correctly assess the consequences of implementing the service design. Our own Shopmetrics by 4Service platform with a database of more than 350 thousand mystery shoppers experienced in checking various locations helps us in this. 
We do not have standard solutions. For each task, we select an individual pool of service design methods: from developing a personalized questionnaire for surveys to implementing the necessary analytical tools in a particular situation.

The prospects for service design, or why you should hurry

Consumers have become spoiled with service, and most importantly – they value their time. If a business takes this into account in the processes optimization, it will have more competitive advantages and a chance to break ahead.

A company that is not yet experiencing business difficulties will not be able to work effectively without a service design in six months or a year. Competition is growing every day! In predicting the future, a business cannot function without designing services and products. That is why the service design is actively gaining momentum, and while you are just thinking, the competitors are already using this tool.

Service design is the true trend in marketing in 2020. A few years later, no product or service will enter the market without service design. 

If you’re ready to change business processes and create products followed by a queue, we are ready to translate your business tasks into the language of service design and to provide an advice.


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