A Performing Arts Perspective on Designing Services for the Customer Experience


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Presentation on July 24, 2012 for the Association for Human Factors Engineering in San Francisco, California, USA. Part of the subconference on the Human Side of Service Engineering.

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  • A Performing Arts Perspective on Designing Services for the Customer Experience

    1. 1. A Performing ArtsPerspective on DesigningServices for the Customer Experience Raymond P. Fisk Texas State University Ray.Fisk@txstate.edu
    2. 2. Cast of Characters• Steve Grove, Clemson University, USA• Joby John, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, USA• Mike Dorsch, Clemson University, USA• Aidan Daly, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland• Steve Baron, University of Liverpool, UK• Kim Cassidy, Nottingham Trent University, UK• Rick Harris, Aquinas College, UK
    3. 3. PlaybillAct 1: Why the Arts?Act 2: Design Insights from the Performing ArtsAct 3: Creating the Art of Serving Customers
    4. 4. Act 1: Why the Arts?
    5. 5. Why the Arts?• The arts are very ancient skills. – The arts emerged as human skills long before science, engineering, and management.• The arts are rooted in the complexities of the human experience!• The arts are deeply rooted in our emotional needs.• The arts are also deeply rooted in our need for aesthetics.
    6. 6. What is Art?• Two Meanings:• Forms of creative activity: – including architecture, dance, design, drawing, film, language, literature, music, opera, painting, photography, poetry, sculpture, storytelling and theater.• A skill acquired through practice. – The art of conversation. – The art of friendship.• In short, the arts can be thought of as creative skills.
    7. 7. Applying the Performing Arts to Serving Customers• The performing arts concern human interaction.• The performing arts represent ancient simulation systems for stimulating pleasure (and coping with pain).• We have studied and applied concepts and techniques from the performing arts to services (Daly et al. 2008; Fisk, Grove and John 2008; Grove and Fisk 1983, 1992, 2001; John, Grove and Fisk 2006).• Most organizations do not treat providing service as an art, but there are a few global services that do, e.g., Apple, Disney and Starbucks.
    8. 8. Performing Arts Are Services• Performing arts (comedy, dance, music, opera, storytelling, and theater) are services. – They are more than just metaphors for service!• The performing arts and services both require: – 1) Mastering the demands of real time performance and – 2) the dynamics of creating for the audience/customer experience.
    9. 9. Act 2: Design Insights from the Performing Arts
    10. 10. Five Key Design Insights from the Performing Arts• Structural – Story – The narrative thread. – Roles – Everyone plays a particular role. – Staging – Decisions about the front and backstage.• Dynamic – Performance – Putting the service in motion. – Improvisation – Adaptive responses.
    11. 11. Story in the Performing Arts• Storytelling is the oldest performing art. The other performing arts are only more complex ways of telling stories.– Storytelling - Verbal narratives with emotional impact.– Theater - Visual narratives with emotional impact.– Music - Rhythmic narratives with emotional impact.• Stories create emotional meaning!• Stories provide the through line or thread.• All services are three act plays!
    12. 12. Roles• In the performing arts, everyone has a role to play:• Audience – The most essential role.• Actors - – Protagonist – Antagonist – Leading and supporting roles• Backstage Staff – Often outnumber the frontstage actors.
    13. 13. Staging• Complex performances are staged by actors for an audience.• A key decision is what to reveal on the frontstage or conceal on the backstage. – Frontstage – The heart of the show. – Backstage – To create a successful performance, the backstage staff works hard to make the work of the frontstage actors look easy.
    14. 14. Performance• The dynamics of live performance are the true test of great service design.• Great performances require: – Scripting – To plan out the sequencing of the performance. – Rehearsal – Careful repetitive practice to make sure that everyone is very ready. – Emotionally engaging experience.
    15. 15. Improvisation• Improvisation IS – Loosely scripted performance delivered in real time in response to situational factors. – The hardest part of service design.• Successful improvisation requires: – Skill in performing the necessary tasks. – Understanding how to modify the real time performance of the task.• Improvisation is NOT – Random expression. – Just adaptability or creativity.
    16. 16. Act 3: Creating the Art of Serving Customers
    17. 17. Future of Service Design• We have a choice between service and disservice!• Even good services often contain incoherent service fragments.• Technology should serve customers, not enslave them.• Service design problems are much too complex for narrow solutions.• The art of serving customers is just as important as the science of serving customers.
    18. 18. Finding the Rules of Performing Arts Design• Rule of Threes - beginning, middle, and end.• Rule of Exclusion - The notes you dont play are as important as those you do.• Rule of Turns – Humans take turns with each other.
    19. 19. Art of Serving Customers• A creative skill that serves customers through: – Respecting the dignity of human interaction. – Engaging customers with emotional empathy and emotional labor. – Employing story, roles, staging, performance and improvisation to create valuable service experiences for customers.
    20. 20. Conclusion• Multidisciplinary perspectives on service design are needed.• The arts should be included in service design. – Involve people with arts training and skills in the planning and design process. – Involve people with arts training and skills in training frontline service personnel.• The performing arts are especially adept at engaging emotions during customer–employee interactions.• Let’s Make Serving Customers a Fine Art!
    21. 21. Questions