Customer delight through service design

The service sector needs to break away from old manufacturing-oriented habits and build great consumer experiences into every facet of its business model, write Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell in strategy+business.

Experiences matter. Experiences are journeys. Journeys are designed. These statements are fundamental to understanding service design and its delivery. Experiences happen over time and, often, over space. They are journeys, whether physical (like a flight from Dallas to Detroit) or temporal (like a 10-year relationship with an insurance company) or intellectual (like a consulting engagement). For customers, journeys involve need, planning, anticipation, embarkation, the event itself, disembarkation, and memory. Companies must analyze and design every stage of that journey, every customer touch point because each is an opportunity to engage — or alienate — a customer. […]

Well-designed service succeeds on two dimensions simultaneously: technical excellence and customer experience. In this way, great service design resembles great industrial design, which also seeks to achieve excellence and efficiency at the same time. Service design sees customer satisfaction and cost management as complementary, not contradictory. When you, as a seller, do not have a good design, you are more likely to base decisions on cost rather than value, because you cannot tell the difference between spending money and investing it.

The cleverly written article ends with ten elements of customer delight and five principles of service design.