Digital Strategy Management

How to create a customer centric strategy thanks to design thinking?

A study carried out in 2015 by Insightsquared shows that only 20% of the customers are satisfied with the services that companies deliver. On the other hand, 80% of companies still think they are delivering outstanding services. The service market has increased significantly in the last few years; service design thinking came from the need to apply design to the service market: telecommunications, transport, finance, etc. As Albert Einstein said, “a well stated problem is half solved”.

What is design thinking?

In Design thinking everything starts from a deep knowledge of one’s own target and consumers. A good designer needs to understand the conscious and unconscious needs of its target. Designers spend time observing people in order to understand their needs and behaviors. They try to be in their target’s shoes to see things from their point of view and to understand how the product or service they design could fit into their customers’ lives.

The designers must ask themselves many questions in order to grasp customers’ emotions, needs, and desires. One of the most effective methods in order to understand those elements is filmed observation.

Designers should think outside the box; the goal is to think the problem differently in order to find the best possible solution. A good designer should not take into account its own desires but the desires of its target. Prototyping is an effective way for designers to quickly test an idea and adapt it to customers’ desires. Designers often follow the principle of “fail fast to succeed faster”; mistakes are well accepted and even encouraged while prototyping in order to create a great final product.

From design thinking to service design thinking

Service design thinking focuses on the functionality and form of the service from the customer’s point of view. The goal is to ensure that the service is useful, usable and desirable from the customer perspective. Service design thinking is a multidisciplinary approach that helps to optimize the innovation process.

According to Anne-Marie Boutin (French president of the APCI – the agency for the promotion of industrial creation); “service design thinking is the production of a service, through the design of the service itself, and not only through its realization.”

In service design thinking, the designer becomes an integral part of the project design and does not only take part at the end of the project but during the whole project conception. Everything is thought to satisfy customer’s needs. Also, customers nearly become co-designers of the project; it is a bottom-up process: Information comes from the client to the designer.

For instance, the agency InProcess specialized in service design thinking succeeded to design safer car seats for children by placing cameras in the back seat drivers to observe children behaviors’ during a car journey. It allowed them to see what parents were not able to detect when driving.

The service designer can be seen as a leader who can anticipate the unfolding of events and ensure the optimal use of a service. As companies are starting to understand how their organizations are disconnected from the needs of the end users; this subject becomes more and more important.

Nowadays, the blossoming of the service market allows the possibility to create various digital services. For companies it no longer enough to deduce what the service should offer. As points of contact between users and companies have increased; they should focus on delivering outstanding experiences to customers.

Many studies show that economic models based on real users’ needs significantly increase customer loyalty. Services can often be improved thanks to technology but it is not enough. Service design thinking helps to simultaneously coordinate “human-human” and ‘human-machine” interfaces.

About the author

Céline Notelet

Céline Notelet