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“It’s all about the customer”: Service design thinking for success

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How many times have we heard this old mantra? And how many times have we instead found our experience as customers frustrating, irritating, even painful?

Not understanding the customer’s needs, underestimating their expectations, internal miscommunication, getting the scope or order entirely wrong… These are all common occurrences.

“Service provision in New Zealand is woefully inadequate”, says Bryan Travers, leadership/performance specialist and facilitator of several University of Auckland Executive Education courses.

“Traditionally, companies in this country have had an internal perspective on what they do, and what they offer consumers. We need to turn that around, and look at service provision from the customer’s perspective.”

In his course Service Design Thinking, Bryan teaches a 12-step end-to-end process focussed on enhancing the customer experience – a process in which customers themselves must be integrally involved, Bryan says.

Using this process, you can lead your team to transform service design from an ad hoc approach to a systems-driven methodology for competitive advantage.

First, listen to your customers carefully. Then prototype, test, evaluate and develop in very short order, with customer involvement every step of the way.

Changing the way we think and designing a customer-centric process may not be easy, particularly in larger organisations. But it must be done, and fast.

“In the very near future, a number of international companies will come into the New Zealand market offering outstanding customer service, and they’ll set an unprecedented standard,” says Bryan. “The challenge for us is to get to grips with world-class standards of service, and deliver them ourselves. Let’s not just say ‘it’s all about the customer’. Let’s do it.”

Bryan Travers facilitates the Executive Education short course Service Design Thinking


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