Business Design. Evolved.

Month: January 2015

Often when I am conducting a workshop I often need to reframe how people think… is what you perceive reality?


Brand to Stakeholder Engagement – the DDO Brand Model

Written in 2012….

A while back I designed a customer experience training program for the Banking Administration Institute called “Moments that Matter”.  Unfortunately I had to simplify the bigger MOM in order to focus on the critical few topics that newbies in customer experience management have to work through.

The core topics I focused on started with the net promoter score and how, when used as a system, it really is a catalyst for getting your company culture more focused on the customers. Seriously, how much is easier is it to get employees focused on “being the best at creating promoters” rather than “drive top 2 box from 53% to 57%”?

The second topic is using the service profit chain as an enterprise backbone to better connect customers through employees and the supporting people, practices, business processes, and technology systems.

The third topic is maximizing the use of SERVQUAL to connect capability to deliver with customer promises.

Last but not least is to walk through the series of steps in implementation to take a customer experience concept and execute it in an effective and profitable way (a special thanks to Joe Wheeler and the folks at Service Profit Chain Institute for helping me get better at that this past year).

However, one element of what I did not include was the brand to customer promises section.  A customer experience transformation often is the outcome of either a “bottoms up” or “top down” direction.  A “bottoms up” is usually when NPS detractors are being formed en mass at multiple customer touch points or by a rapidly escalating detractor event (look at Target’s rapid service recovery due the Missoni online gold rush as an example of what to do right vs. Sony’s online downtime or slower erosion of the promise.

One “bottoms up” erosion example I went through recently was the deterioration of service on the Verizon system in the NYC metro area during the recent “strike”(2012). First, we saw significant deterioration in FIOS bandwidth and performance to the point where we gave up making critical calls on the FIOS land line and resorted to critical calls using AT&T mobility, which surprisingly has made dramatic improvements in the NYC area. We called Verizon customer service on three occasions and had them come out – all to no avail.   Now who can do the “can you hear me now” commercial – not FIOS.

Another example I live through on almost a weekly basis (when I was teaching at ATT leadership institute) is the subpar first class service on US Air when I go to Dallas – chips and attitude – versus the surprisingly delightful and friendly real first class service on American to Dallas (pre-merger!) – hot meal and honest caring – and shock, smiles!  I’ve started to shift the majority of my business over to American as a result (for the record I fly coach and get upgraded due to points status).  The “top down” approach is much more challenging. This often occurs when a CEO makes a statement like, “How do we make Brooks Brothers brand more relevant in a younger demographic?” or “What do we need to do to instill trust in the Bank of America brand?”.

These are big meaty brand to customer experience delivery overhauls.  The challenge is “brand” means so many things to many people. What does brand mean to you?

My interpretation of brand is really more from an enterprise and systems thinking point-of-view and best demonstrated in a brand framework developed by  Dubberly Design Office (DDO).  At the time I was Director of Top Line Growth at DuPont and one of my projects was applying brand to a commodity Nylon 12 product. It was my proof case of our business team creating a boutique brand in a commodity business. The leadership team – marketing through ops – used the framework to design transformation objectives and created a brand blueprint and action plan that had a dozen major changes ranging from a new brand tag line and logo to changing our B2B service delivery and support.  The result – triple digit marketing ROI.  The framework is comprehensive.

Of course, perception of a brand does not arise on its own, rather, it grows out of experience with a product. Here, product is used in a broad sense incorporating the results of many activities commonly associated with marketing. Likewise, experience means here any point at which contact is made with a potential customer

Try this…. Print out a copy of the framework and ask three C level executives (CMO, CFO, COO) the following questions:

  • What does brand mean to you? Circle the areas they touch upon on the framework.
  • Who owns the elements of brand based on (1)? Write down the names or functions
  • Are we missing anything in how we translate brand into action? Listen and learn.

Let me know how it goes and then ask yourself this question. If you really want to translate brand into customer promises and consistent delivery of those promises, what do you need to differently?

I’d love to hear about any frameworks you may be using and if you run the three question test how it goes.

Good luck!

Oh…check out all the concept maps at the Dubberly Web site… talk about “pay it forward”.

Well done DDO!

Show me the Money

Show me the money

One of the challenges in executing a great customer experience program is to translate gains in customer satisfaction to profit. My past experience is that there is an appropriate optimization between driving net promoter scores and cost-to-serve and lifetime customer value. I believe the best CX transformers blend art, science, and profit understanding to make the choices needed in where to focus and by how much. I was looking for a primer on the profit mechanics of a great customer experience and ran across Brett Whitford’s white paper – Measuring the Financial Cost of Bad Service ; a great read on how to approach the value and ROI of a customer experience program.



Service Design and Innovation from The Guardian

Service Design Guardian

A while back, the British newspaper The Guardian released a ten page supplement in co-operation with the Service Design Network.   The Guardian has produced a supplement themed on Service Design and Innovation in partnership with organizations from the Service Design and Innovation markets. Included are many interesting case studies and best practices with perceivable business impact but also enjoyable and easy understandable examples. 10 Pages,  350.000 copies…. great stories!

Here’s the link to the content.



5 Steps to Better Customer Experience Management

I was cleaning out my computer “basement” when I ran across a picture of a whiteboard I was working on a few years ago proposing a simpler approach to customer experience management….

The five steps often overlooked when setting up a customer driven CEM program…

1.  Service Segmentation – This marketing adaptation focuses on understanding how various sub-segments of your customer base chose to interact with your business throughout the customer life cycle.

2. Net Promoter System connected back to the service segments “critical to quality” attributes.  The thought here is to use product based tools such as Kano or quality function deployment to set up service delivery attributes and then us NPS as an early warning radar of CEM course correction changes.

3. Use a framework like Service Profit Chain to better engage employees in service execution.

4.  OK, here is where I go customer experience guru geeky… develop customer journey maps and service blueprints to identify no less than 10 key touch points and then create customer performance delivery dashboards (performance management tools) using the concept of customer connected KPIs.

5.  Track the linking of 4 to profitability (aka CX profit outcomes).

Just shake and bake….



Design Methods for Services

Service Design Info

The folks over at UK’s Innovation Connect(a free service) together with the Design Council have put together a great overview of the tools used for service (and customer experience) design.  You can read the PDF here.Cheers!  Rick

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