Solid Service Principles are Crucial

Below is the latest blog I just received from Seth Godin. He (as he does most days) makes an important point especially for Service based companies and provides additional reasons why Service Design can be such a potent weapon for progressive companies.

It’s not JUST the steak or the phone call or the insurance cover that your customers are buying when they look to buy something from you. It’s not JUST the all the elements that make up the customer journey and everything within it. The touch-points that deliver it, the spaces where engagement with customers occurs through channels such as in-store, call centre, postal mail, or online. The ‘moment’ within each touch-point where there is an interaction and your staff or systems engage with your customers.

These are all crucially important and without it, your business will not thrive and grow new and recurring revenue streams. But how do you handle situations when the unexpected happens. When there is no script, no exact procedure?

We have been working with a large Australian based firm recently who is acknowledged as a great Service Innovator and relative to their peers, they are head and shoulders above in terms of customer experience and growth. However they also know that their competitors are quickly imitating them in marketing, minimising the perceived gap. It’s time to leap ahead again with a sustainable differentiator.

Having developed deep insight through design research methods we have developed innovative human centered Customer Journey Maps, an Experience Strategy and undertaken Intention Engineering.

However you cant stop there. On top of that we have developed the mortar that holds all those bricks together. It’s a set of Service Principles that allow their team to take the right decisions each and every day when there is no touchpoint, no planned interaction. It provides an important guide, a set or principles on how to act to remain customer focused even when no-one is looking and no one is listening. It fills in all those ‘in between moments’ that all add up to the delivery of an exceptional customer experience and transformed loyalty and profitability for companies.

As is quite often the case, the ideas are the relatively easy part, the real expertise comes in how you hang it all together and make it work in a repeatable, sustainable manner making it work within your clients organisational systems and infrastructure. That is our singular goal here at Proto Partners and should also be for each and every Service Design firm.

Seth’s blog entry is below

Scott McCloud’s classic book on comics explains a lot more than comics.

A key part of his thesis is that comic books work because the action takes place between the frames. Our imagination fills in the gaps between what happened in that frame and this frame, which means that we’re as much involved as the illustrator and author are in telling the story.

Marketing, it turns out, works precisely the same way.

Marketing is what happens in between the overt acts of the marketer. Yes you made a package and yes you designed a uniform and yes you ran an ad… but the consumer’s take on what you did is driven by what happened out of the corner of her eye, in the dead spaces, in the moments when you let your guard down.

Marketing is what happens when you’re not trying, when you’re being transparent and when there’s no script in place.

It’s not marketing when everything goes right on the flight to Chicago. It’s marketing when your people don’t respond after losing the guitar that got checked.

It’s not marketing when I use your product as intended. It’s marketing when my friend and I are talking about how the thing we bought from you changed us.

It’s not marketing when the smiling waitress appears with the soup. It’s marketing when we hear two waiters muttering to each other behind the serving station.

Consumers are too smart for the frames. It’s the in-between frame stuff that matters. And yet marketers spend 103% of our time on the frames.

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Damian KernahanDamian Kernahan is the managing partner of corporate growth consultants, Proto Partners,

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Damian Kernahan




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