SDT2012 (P4.1): Communicating the impact of customer touch points simply & effectively


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This presentation was part of the SDT2012 - the 1st international conference on service design and tourism, Innsbruck/Austria, August 23-24, 2012. For more info on the conference and other presentations visit: All rights reserved by the author(s):

Denise Belling, Australia
Optimal Experience

Denise Belling, a Senior Consultant at Australian consultancy, Optimal Experience, is an enthusiastic observer and analyst of all things human-behaviour related. She enjoys the challenges that come with integrating real world experience and meaningfulness into user friendly designs for services, products, physical environments, and online experiences. Denise believes that her greatest education and learning has come from travelling and living in different parts of the world, and interacting with a vast variety of people, cultures and environments. “Every experience, interaction and observation is an opportunity to learn through conscious curiosity”

Communicating the impact of customer touch points simply & effectively: A travel insurance customer journey case study for service design
Many organisations still design customer touch points and channels in silos, without recognising the bigger picture impacts from a customer’s perspective, and the organisational opportunities that arise from a more holistic approach to service design. This presentation will share a case study, including a visualisation, of a full cycle travel insurance customer experience, with coverage of a real overseas travel emergency incident, to demonstrate how meaningful the big picture and insight into real world customer reality really is. The visualisation effectively illustrates detailed touch points in a simple way, and demonstrates that each is meaningful the overall customer experience. It provides a mechanism for communicating the variety of customer touch points that have an overall impact. It also reinforces that it isn’t just the organisation owned touch points, but a network of interrelated interactions that also have an overall impact, and provide rich opportunities for service design thinking. This method is effective in practical communication of how the touch points impact throughout the customer experience, and helps to effectively reinforce the point that one or more poor touch point experiences can ruin a customer’s overall perception of their experience, and in turn the associated organisation, even if experiences of all of the other touch points are good.

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  • This lady, in her 90s, who lives in a small rural village in Rajasthan dropped her walking stick in shock when she saw me. She has never in her life seen someone with blonde hair and pale skin! People like this lead their lives from a natural design thinking perspective – they haven’t been educated by a western education system which teaches us to start thinking in silos and behaving within arbitrary boundaries from a very young age. The turbans that these men wear are not merely for fashion – they are designed and creatively twisted so as create a cooling effect through the centre to protect them from the harsh Rajasthan desert heat. Hi! I’m Denise, and I LOVE to travel in unique & interesting places, and meeting people who live very different lives from me.
  • I am about to break one of the first rules of user-centred design “I am not the user”, but I hope that you will humour me, because my bad luck seemed liked too good an opportunity to ignore in my quest for communicating about holistic customer experience and service design. And in this case I was the user. Oh, and as I mentioned before, I do practice mindfulness, and so I’m ok (but of course not perfect) at being aware of what is ‘mine’ in my experience, and being open and curious to others
  • And then bammm – one single small little step onto a patch of invisible ice. A trip to the mountain clinic (no electricity). A trip down the icy mountain side to a very basic hospital. An 80 cent xray… and confirmation of a broken elbow. Trip to another hospital, confirmation of requirement for surgery… but not there, oh no thank you…
  • And then THIS. I was high up in the mountains in the north of India, in McLeod Ganj, Dharmasala – the village where His Highness the Dalai Lama lives in exile from Tibet. A truly beautiful part of the world. It had snowed for 3 days before we arrived. The electricity was down, and most of the village shops were closed. We arrived in the late afternoon. We got a candle to light our room. The next morning I awoke to a gorgeous crisp blue sky morning. Feeling energised, I marched myself out the door for a walk – by myself, without telling anyone  I’ve walked in snow & ice before. OK, I’m an Aussie, so it certainly doesn’t come naturally to me, but still, I have some experience of it. I was being careful and aware. And then bammm. One foot onto some invisible ice. Flat on my back with my left elbow hitting with full force. It was that easy.
  • Fortunately inside the hospital was much cleaner than outside. Surgery & 5 days in hospital in Delhi… and suddenly my tune has changed. NOW I think travel insurance is meaningful and important, and not only that I think that the service design has a lot of value to add…. BUT…. how do I communicate this to the travel insurance company, and most importantly to the right people in the company?
  • SDT2012 (P4.1): Communicating the impact of customer touch points simply & effectively

    1. 1. Communicating theimpact of customertouch points simply &effectivelyA travel insurancecustomer journeycase study for To: The Attendeesservice design… SDT2012 Innsbruck, A-6020 AustriaSydney Institute - User experience project From: Denise Belling, Sydney, Australia 1
    2. 2. I also get excited about service design thinking (& doing) 2Mobile concept exploration 2
    3. 3. A bit more about me:16 years of UCD, mostly consulting - across many industries, severalcountries, and a wide variety of projectsTaught UX / UCD to post grad students at The Academy of ArtUniversity, San FranciscoI love contextual & ethnography research. Observing and analysinghuman behaviour floats my boat, as does design thinking to solvemeaningful problems.My most useful trait is hyper-vigilance. It’s also a curse And I’m into mindfulness, self awareness development, fascinated bybrain elasticity…. & enjoy most outdoor activities 3Mobile concept exploration 3
    4. 4. Why am I presenting this? Service Design is getting a lot of verbal attention (in Australia anyway)… ….but the ‘doing’ opportunities are still quite slow, and so we are exploring ways to keep it simple & effective in communicating holistic customer experience and the value of service design (And I got a rare opportunity? to experience a full life cycle service which can’t otherwise be easily researched in context) 4Mobile concept exploration 4
    5. 5. What I hope you will get out of this: - Inspiration  - Quick, simple & effective method of mapping customer touch points: - demonstrating bigger picture impacts from a customer perspective across a full customer lifecycle of touch points - so impact and opportunities can be communicated high enough and widely enough within organisation to increase the likelihood of initiating a service design approach to solving service problems 5Mobile concept exploration 5
    6. 6. Sydney Institute - User experience project
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    19. 19. No response to my email to request working feedback link Feedback request received before claim finalised Travel Email link for feedback on emergency assistance didn’t work No valid auto phone option for feedback query on number provided Some easy to use quote interfaces Insurance Twice waited more than 10mins on holdprovide feedback Invited to to talk Helpful customer reviews, esp re claims to claims Difficult to interpret exactly what is covered Customer Claim payment process didn’t progress Difficult to compare price for cover as described Journey Received a phone call to confirm Confusing relationships between companies claim approved involved Received confirmation text when Not easy to match needs to cover options claim form received Confusingly large price Sections on claim form didn’t match differences for apparently similar directly to policy & cover sections, cover making it difficult to complete Some well laid out PDS documents No claim checklist to help complete claim documentation A lot of PDS terminology in Easy to find claim form on legal terms, not plain English websiteReceived nice welcome home emails from both insurance Printed a lot of paper to make company& underwriter comparisons International travel insurance for Unclear where and when leisure traveler Time consuming process ‘emergency assistance’ services ended Excellent choice of -Going to India & Nepal for 2 Clear uncluttered interface specialist & hospital months Simple 3 step starting Very well looked after at hospital once admitted -Has accident – slips on ice in process mountains in India, breaks Unclear ‘travel companion’ Good price for cover offerings elbow & requires surgery Unrealistic expectations of hospital arrival time & Nervous about unclear subsequent unfair & stressful connections between company criticisms directed at me selling insurance, and company providing insurance Lack of support & communications for hospital Clear email received after purchase arrival completedNo contact details or arrival guidelines Nice email received a few days given for hospital before departure, including helpful No company name or contact provided checklist for or by local agent Clear instructions to take copy of Local agent didn’t introduce themselves on first contact policy, and note number Information lost in translations – local agent communicated to Local emergency number for taxi driver in Hindi, messages not passed on urgent contact didn’t work Permission not given to communicate via taxi driver but agent Empathetic & helpful first contact did & messages not passed on to us Phone nurse consult – kind & professional. Good experience Breakdown in communications when local agent ‘got involved – became I felt listened to & valuedunclear who was deciding what – was I going to Delhi for review or surgery? First part of next steps process well explained Medical ‘rescue’ arrangements made & communicated efficiently Fast & appropriate turnaround on initial next actions Not good experience Clear & effective early communications & check ins Good responsiveness to investigating option of staying in India for surgery
    20. 20. WOW! I there were at least 51 customer service touch points in this travel insurance service experience…. 22Mobile concept exploration 22
    21. 21. Outcome:Met with Managing Director, Customer ServicesDirector, User Experience ManagerTalked through the experience & the journey mappingprocess.Agreed to partner on robust service research anddesign activities….Challenge:Getting good quality contextual information 24Mobile concept exploration 24
    22. 22. The design thinking balancing act…. Organisation objectives Cost v Benefit User problems & context Service design thinking principles tools & activities 25Mobile concept exploration 25
    23. 23. The challenge…. CEO/ Managing Director / Executive Director S S S S S S I I I I I I L L L L L L O O O O O O Budget, reporting, accountabilities, KPIs, rewards 26Mobile concept exploration 26
    24. 24. From a customers perspective , it’s all interconnected…boundaries are arbitrary & create problems In person Online Phone Mail FormAny one touch point can impact the customers overallperception of their experience of the organisation Stick figure image credit: Dargoth 27Mobile concept exploration 27
    25. 25. Sydney Institute - User experience project 28
    26. 26. Thanks!Sydney Institute - User experience project
    27. 27. For more information Optimal Experience Suite 408, 50 Holt Street Surry Hills, NSW, Australia +61 2 9699 2765 www.optimalexperience.comEmail: 30 30