User experience and service design are two of the most fashionable terms in business today. But what do they mean?
It’s proven. Happy customers talk about their experiences and spend more money. So what makes a good user experience? And how do you create one?
“Think of advertising as the polish on the top of your brand,” says Lasse Tammilehto, Creative Director of Solita, the digital business company. “But, in fact, your services themselves are your underlying brand.”
Tammilehto is a specialist in user experience and service design, yet actively cautions his clients not to fall into the trap of thinking “digital” is silver bullet.
“When we design services we look at the client’s whole ecosystem. Digital services is not an island.” Tammilehto says that to develop a great user experience, all customer contact points have to be considered.
“However your company interacts with the customer defines the customer experience – your solution advertising, blog, events, digital interface with customers, face-to-face contact — and all these contact points must be consistent.”
Tammilehto begins developing a user experience by listening to his customers’ customers. “We’re looking for user insights,” he says, “which allow us to determine what the end user really needs.”
Sometimes companies really do have a good understanding of their customers. “But often they have false ideas of what their customers want. Our job is to help them define the problem and then solve it.”
Once Tammilehto was asked by a client to create a simple service to send regular emails to end users. “They wanted a design template and method to send the emails out. But we learned their customers didn’t want to receive emails at all.” Customers thought email systems were flawed, and information went missing too easily. So the team from Solita and its client threw away the original brief and created an entirely new solution — a real-time virtual interface where information could be shared and never lost.
“What’s important,” says Tammilehto, “is that we’re co-designing with our customers and their end users. End users are involved in design, they test prototypes. We build communities to give us constant feedback on the work we’re doing.”
Services designed for and tested upon end users generate immediate results. KPIs are identified before the design process, and results are closely tracked.
“Typical KPIs are sales improvement, customer experience measured by pre- and post-interviews. And of course web shops either generate new sales or they don’t,” Tammilehto says. “Not all our customers come to us to boost sales, though. Some want to enable their own employees to complete internal tasks faster.”
But what about the old image of the designer with the beret, black turtleneck sweater, stinky French cigarettes, and a blank sketch pad? Has design now become a team sport?
“There aren’t many projects anymore where a designer is left alone,” says Tammilehto. “There’s still a guy with a sketchpad, but today’s process is more about understanding the user’s needs.
Author: Scott Diel
The My Ensto portal is a 24/7 online service where our customers can log in and check the status of their open orders. They can even track shipped orders, see product lead times, as well as view their personalized price information.
The online service is available on all devices thanks to its responsive design. Customers can access the service everywhere: in the office, on the road, at the construction site, or wherever they like. My Ensto was developed by the Solita team together with Ensto customers.
The portal was piloted in Sweden with positive results. Users especially liked the order tracking functionality and appreciated the possibility to see lead time information.
My Ensto will be rolled out in Finland and Estonia in early 2017. “We are very happy to offer online customer service to our customers,” says Nanna Sundman, Ensto’s Customer Care Manager. “It is important for us to serve our customers in the best possible way. Customers are different – some like calling us by phone, and some prefer checking information on an online service. We need different channels, and My Ensto is one alternative that we are very proud of."
Author: Mari Häyry