The limits of a one sided solution

One-sided solutions can lead to failed implementations, failed customer experiences, and failure to support internal teams who must shoulder the burden of a poorly planned solution.

Organizations often try to improve customer experience by designing touchpoints across the end-to-end journey that they believe will better serve their customers’ needs. However, these initiatives are usually one-sided and fail to account for the complete system supporting the customer experience.

In service design, we refer to the supporting system as the “backstage” of the service: the people, processes, and technologies required to enable the customer experience.

If the backstage supporting the customer experience is not considered as part of the design, organizations run the risk of:

1. Failing to implement the intended customer experience due to organizational roadblocks

When an organization designs a customer experience with assumptions about capabilities, it adds risk to implementation. An organization might design a touchpoint that requires customer data from the CRM without realizing it’s a legacy system that makes integration very difficult. An initiative to improve delivery times might depend on additional work from warehouse employees already operating at maximum capacity. Mapping out the frontstage and backstage of the service helps to identify and account for capabilities before they become blockers.

2. Failing to deliver the intended customer experience once implemented

Being blocked in implementation is frustrating, but implementing a service that fails to deliver the value that customers expect can lead to even worse outcomes for the organization: high customer churn, low customer adoption, and a damaged brand reputation. Designing the service holistically—and with the relevant customer and employee stakeholders—helps ensure that an organization can realistically deliver the service.

3. Failing to support internal teams who must shoulder the burden of a poorly planned solution

When an organization designs a customer experience without considering the impact on the employees responsible for enabling and delivering the experience, employees get burned out because they’re trying to achieve goals that the design of the service makes impossible. Employees feel undervalued and resentful when leadership is out of touch with the reality of their jobs. No amount of training, employee engagement initiatives, or fancy perks can address the root problem of unrealistic demands. Redesigning the service results in higher customer satisfaction and lower employee turnover.