Why you should get emotional about your service

Everybody has a story to tell about his or her service experiences at the extremes of good or bad irrespective of whether they’re a provider or receiver of that service interaction.

When what’s behind the story is a well or badly designed process, supported by an IT platform that is or isn’t doing what it should then it’s relatively easy to either pat oneself on the back or say ‘that’s a job well done’ or to identify the causes of the poor experience and hopefully do something about it.

But what about when the process design is fine, the systems are working and yet it all goes wrong?

Inevitably it’s when you introduce humans into the equation and the variation they bring to the interaction – variation of mindset, mood or personality, requests that don’t quite fit into the way its believed the process should work, either party (provider or receiver) feeling out of their depth, not wanting to show their lack of understanding and using a range of behaviours to hide their concerns. And of course depending on the type of process involved the impact of human variation can become massively exaggerated.

After all, customers don’t just pick and choose the bits of our businesses they experience – they get an amalgamation of everything always – all of the work our systems perform, all of the things our people do and our processes, our buildings, IT platforms, advertising, the latest news on the TV or social media and so on.

So in trying to deliver a consistently great service we do believe there is scope to concentrate more on the emotional side of things throughout design, deployment and delivery.

We would just offer two specifics that are complementary to the existing approaches for your consideration as additions that we have found useful in addressing this real life challenge.

First is to attempt to map the emotional journey(s) a service provider and receiver may go through before, during and after their interaction. To consider the range of mindsets, moods and personalities that come into play and to embed this thinking into the way we build our systems, training and performance improvement. Everyone has bad and good days (customers and colleagues) – how well do our processes accommodate that variability so that we maximize the chances of a repeatable, great experience.  Until we have attempted this then great service will remain out of reach.

Second is to think about how we get our service providers to humanise our processes – no one likes to feel they’re being processed, right? With the right emotional design, we can then think about how we get people brave enough to stand in front of our processes rather than hide behind them and take ownership of the variations we know will arise.

When everything from a provider operational point of view is lined up – even if it’s a well known, repeating process – with someone brave enough to bring it to life, to give their business a personality and stand in front of the process, it can be fun for everyone ….