“You hear what works and what doesn’t straight from the customer’s mouth,” says Petri Huikko, Head of Customer Experience and New Services from Finland’s Slot Machine Association RAY (now known as Veikkaus). Read their experiences of how service design has kindled new ideas and improved quality.
“Involving customers in service development has been the main impact of taking service design tools into use.
The best way to influence the organization’s current operating methods has been through joint design workshops for customers and the people in charge of a particular project. The workshops provide a chance to personally hear what works and what doesn’t, straight from the customer’s mouth.
Previously, a service design firm perhaps listened to customers, then informed the company that had commissioned it. It’s much more effective when you get to listen to customers and their experiences yourself.
Even employees who spend a great deal of time with customers might exclaim I never knew that’s what customers think.”
I’ll give you an example that was a real eye-opener: We started to think about ways to improve payment options for games in arcades. We were under the impression that payment was difficult, as some of the machines only accepted coins, while others accepted notes, tickets, or a combination of these. But it turned out that customers had no problem with payments, and it certainly wasn’t an issue for new customers – they never got that far. New customers were actually turning at their heels already at the door. They felt the arcades weren’t inviting, as they looked so serious and professional.
Customers themselves told us that the problem we were wanting to solve wasn’t even the actual problem.
This led us to develop solutions for the real problem. We listened to our customers all along, and conducted interviews, where arcade workers, the service manager, supervisor etc. were listening in. We presumed that customers would be listing games they wanted in a casino-type arcade, but instead they talked about the type of customer service they hoped for, and the atmosphere that could take place. Listening to customers this way broadens the mind – even employees who spend a great deal of time with customers might exclaim I never knew that’s what customers think.
Workshops with customers are an effective tool. In the course of six or seven hours, the entire group gains a clear view on the direction development should take. The workshops offer a chance to grasp customer experiences, and get a hold of their expectations in a very concrete way. When you work together with customers, the focus of the organization’s efforts becomes coherent. After a joint workshop, personnel gain a shared view on the direction, without a need to battle over who is right or wrong.”
Aalto PRO's program Service Design program provides a comprehensive view of service design as a user-driven approach to service development. Aalto PRO has been the forerunner in Service Design program in Finland already for ten years. The program is held in Finnish. Read more about the program.