Staying relevant with customer-led Service Design

Companies that thrive in uncertain environments are the ones that: have a clear strategy, a Service Design that executes that strategy, and the ability to adapt their Service Design based on customer needs and market forces.

Staying relevant with customer-led Service Design

Companies that thrive in uncertain environments are the ones that: have a clear strategy, a Service Design that executes that strategy, and the ability to adapt their Service Design based on customer needs and market forces.

Meet the author

Moray Busch

Managing Consultant

Companies that thrive in uncertain environments are the ones that: have a clear strategy, a Service Design that executes that strategy, and the ability to adapt their Service Design based on customer needs and market forces. In this blog, we want to focus on the latter two and explore what it takes to stay relevant.

Why is it that most of us are using Zoom instead of Skype? And why are more and more people turning to challenger banks like Monzo, instead of sticking with trusted incumbents? Their strategy has not changed dramatically since their inception, yet they are displacing their competition at an impressive rate.

Zoom and Monzo have built and adapted their Service Design while listening to their customers. In fact, Monzo’s features are largely defined by its customers’ feedback. So if firms want to stay relevant, they need to listen to their customers while being able to implement feedback in a meaningful way.

The approach which enables this is to work with Service Design horizons, which continually improve how your customers engage with you, and how you serve them. This enables you to offer the ideal service: end-to-end, through and through.

Why more now than ever before?

Due to a growing sense and need for community, tailored experiences, and responsiveness, customers have increasingly high expectations of the service that firms provide – especially in times when they are isolated. Coupled with this expectation is the ability of firms to adapt faster and more efficiently, embracing agile ways of working. As a result, customers stick with firms that continue to serve their needs and adapt to meet their ever-increasing demands as required.

The challenge is to find the right momentum for adaptation. If firms adapt their service too quickly or often, the customer experience can be confusing or disconnected. On the flip side, if firms change too slowly or too infrequently, customers may move to competitors.

Adapting in agile horizons

In order to provide a consistent service, while still evolving it, multiple improvements need to be combined to offer a consistent experience. To avoid paralysis by analysis, take core customer feedback to shape a first Service Design horizon that you can deliver in 4-6 months. While that is being delivered, shape what the next horizon will look like and build in feedback from customers into each horizon. By doing this, the Service Design is evolving with customer feedback in an agile way, instead of providing a disconnected or antiquated experience.

So where to start?

The priority is to get an end-to-end view of your current service and complete user research to get the ‘voice of the customer’. This sets the foundation and provides an initial plan for the first horizon. Once the first horizon is aligned to the overall strategy, it can be implemented in an agile way to test and refine it. The learnings of that first horizon can then, in turn, build the foundation for the second horizon. From there it is an ongoing cycle of executing one horizon, while planning for the next – the refinement of cadence then comes with time until the right routine is defined.

A foundation for horizons to come

It can be challenging to adapt your Service Design in a meaningful and efficient way, but horizons offer an approach to build in feedback at the appropriate cadence. It does require a strong understanding of the end-to-end service that you offer and your customer needs, but it enables firms to realise benefits earlier and for longer than the competition.

Adapting the Service Design also goes beyond your customers, it puts employees and all supporting functions in the best position to serve customers – which also improves employee satisfaction and experience.

We understand that change is hard and that doing it on a regular basis can be exhausting, especially if it is not done right. We aim to give firms the confidence to be brave and embrace continual change which is customer-led and sticks. Once this foundation and approach has been embedded, firms can evolve and adapt in uncertain times.

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