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All companies know, to some extent, how to deliver a service that is deemed satisfactory by most customers.
However, what sets great companies apart is that they are not content with just going through the motions when it comes to their customer service principles. They actively engage in the in-depth process of design thinking. Doing so, they implement the right service principles to set them up for long-term success.
In the world we live in today, it pays dividends to take time and get to know everything there is to know about how you exceed customer expectations.
Our latest article will delve into the world of design thinking, show its importance and present three service principles companies can use to shape up their customer-centric design.
The topic of customer-centricity is one that is highly debated. We also wrote a number of articles on the topic. It is no wonder it has gained so much attention. Its understanding is, after all, what stands at the basis of great customer service and implementing processes guaranteed to exceed customers’ expectations.
At its core, being customer-centric is about changing the mindset most businesses still have. You will have to make the transition from believing you know what is best for your customers to understanding that they actually know what their needs are and what their expectations are from your business.
Customer success then is all about solving customer issues and gaining a competitive advantage in the process. Understanding their customer experience and journey through your various departments is what will provide a sound foundation for building a more customer-centric brand.
We talked about it in the introduction. However, we believe it is worth expanding on the process that is gaining traction among businesses when it comes to building a great customer journey.
The concept of service design has slowly gained momentum over the years and it is now the go-to solution for struggling businesses. Its effectiveness stems from the holistic view it forces companies to take.
Instead of focusing on the product or just on one solution, engaging in service design forces you to look at every facet of your customer service process. Doing so, you will identify what needs to be optimized to achieve the best customer care and service delivery.
Service design encourages you to look at what happens behind the scenes. You are not limited to only looking at a customer interaction or what customers see. This way, you get to see the infrastructure of your business and learn more about the service team and the internal processes that fuel it.
Going through this in-depth evaluation of where your business is at will provide you with a multi-layered journey map. A map that helps you to identify people, processes, actions, time, and most importantly, results.
As an example of this concept in action, we wanted to reference our collaboration with Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). They approached us wanting to build a more welcoming campus for their students and visitors.
Using the service design approach, we decided to hold participatory sessions with all the relevant stakeholders with a vested interest in making this undertaking a success.
The results speak for themselves. Our findings from the sessions we organized have helped IUPUI to develop policy changes, processes for finding improvements, and large-scale construction projects. All are based on customer feedback and geared at providing quality customer service.
This is just an example of how significant customer data can be in bringing forth changes for the betterment of an organization.
With this in mind, let’s now turn our attention to what we believe are three important service principles on which to build your customer-centric design.
An important pillar in a customer-centric design philosophy is to always keep in mind what the customer’s needs and goals are from using a specific product or service.
Too many times, a company’s products are designed, built, and launched without due consideration given to what customers feel is important for them to achieve with that particular product.
We are saying here that you need to include your customers in the early stages of designing your products or services. You need to actively look for their input. This way you can make sure that what you roll out or how your business deals with customer interactions match your target audience’s expectations.
It goes without saying that this requires an in-depth understanding of your customer segment. One way you can get to this kind of data is through the experience mapping process.
We have designed a service solely dedicated just for this. Through our Experience Mapping process, we can help you understand your customers’ behaviors, beliefs, and feelings. This way ensuring that you have all the data you need to kickstart your customer-centric design process.
The second principle is all about listening to the customers’ voices whenever you make a decision that has a direct impact on how they use the services or products on offer.
It promotes the idea that businesses looking for long-term success need to start moving away from the “we know best” mindset to “let’s listen to what our customers are saying”.
Of course, not every decision needs to follow this ideology, but the overall consensus is on ensuring that listening to what customers are saying is placed among the core values of an organization.
In order for good customer service to happen, your communication channels across the business must be open and transparent. When the different departments with a direct impact on how a customer interacts with and experiences services provided, are not sharing resources, experiences, or lessons learned, then there is no way of ensuring that past mistakes will not happen again.
It is important to remember that your employees are a key part in ensuring that your customers receive the support they need. The knowledge base among your various departments needs to be the result of synchronous communication.
Essentially, this last pillar of our principles of service framework is all about blocking the creation of informational silos.
Knowledge-sharing needs to be actively encouraged while at the same time highlighting the importance of accountability across the board.
A true customer-centric company will always have the principle of accountability at its core and will strive to empower employees to take ownership of their actions.
Such a company culture would increase efficiency and lay the foundation for continuous improvement.
The design of services a business provides can be a tricky operation. Even though it can get quite complex, it is worthwhile to take the process seriously.
We mentioned throughout the article the importance for businesses to move toward a customer-centric mindset. Implementing this shift in your internal processes will provide a solid basis for ensuring customer satisfaction.
Moreover, introducing in your business operation the three service principles we discussed, will provide the right springboard for customer loyalty and a sound customer service strategy.
Even more so, Collabo XD has made it its mission to develop tools and services that can help you along the way. Have a look here for our portfolio and why not book a consultation with us to get things going?