Can we leverage design to improve business services?

Fast Company Magazine recently issued its Design Issue. I love this it
is full of useful gadgets.  I also like the idea of design. How can I
make the customers experience with my organization better?

  • – OXO Kitchen tools have large black rubberized handles to make them
  •   easier to grasp.
  • – Apple famously has produced an elegant interface with their iproducts.
  • – The Dyson Vacuum cleaner maintaining it’s suction.
  • – The Herman Miller Areon Chair.

All of these are “products”. How do we think about design in business services?

I think the first step is to ask, who do we serve? Are we designing the process with our internal users in mind? Or are we asking how can I interface with my customer so that it is easy for them to work with us?  If  we are managing an inbound call center do we have prompts designed to help them answer their own question? Or are we delaying them by asking for their customer number multiple times in an effort to allow an agent to get free from a call?

Often, satisfaction is not a good measure of whether a customer will do more business with you. However, it was found that American Express customers who experienced “low-effort or effortless experiences were
more likely to complete future transactions than customers who had high-effort experiences. (Study Here)

It’s not good enough to have satisfied customers or patients. Satisfied will go somewhere else for a better experience. We need to make it easy for them to work with us, to solve their problems to get their answers.

  • – What happens when a customer asks for a custom report? Do we want to
  •   charge them for it?
  • – Do we require them to follow our protocol in establishing a
  •   relationship or do we offer best practices and walk them through a
  •   road map (yes you are right the only difference is the words but they
  •   connote different intentions)
  • – Do we provide them with ways to answer their questions on their own.
  • – Can I look up an account any time?
  • – Can I check a balance
  • – Can I make a payment by phone or via the web with an envelope and stamp

Our customers are increasingly very busy. Many work at hours outside 8:00 – 5:00. How can we facilitate their experience?

Some of the answers implied above include technology. We can leverage technology to provide service and their are a number of experts that can help us manage the flow on the screen.

Even more important I believe is our intention. It’s part of our missive when we go to work – “How can I make it easier for my customer to choose me vs. the competition or the status quo.”

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