When a service meets the customers’ expectations and gives them a positive association and impression of the brand, than the company has created a good “brand image” in the customers mind. To be able to do this in today’s market; companies need to connect with their customers through what they do, rather than through what they say.
The customer today challenges the companies and the traditional form of branding. They expect every service experience to be great and staying “on- brand“. If it doesn’t do that, the customer may tell others about their experience and change to a competitor. To create outstanding service experiences it is important to work with the service as whole. We think that Service Design can greatly contribute to the field of Service Branding. To explain why we think this, we need to take you through a train of thoughts.
Changes in branding
Branding is meant to provide the consumers with the clarity needed to differentiate the organization, product and service offer from competitors. Brands are usually associated with physical products, especially consumer packaged goods, but in the last 10 years it has emerged an importance of creating service brands too.
Service Design really
One way Service Designers are able to help companies is by looking at touch points, the ways in which people come into contact with a company through their logo, retail shops, websites, offices and employees. All these touch points create an impression in the mind of the customer. They need to be analyzed and designed for and implemented carefully to create coherent and consistently managed steps that will give the customer a great experience every time.
The impact of making the service stand out is that people will start linking the brand to the service. Good brands and good service go hand-in-hand. For example, Melaleuca is a company that has high brand loyalty and highly rated customer service, which is not a coincidence. This is one reason we mentioned Melaleuca in a previous post: It’s a company that understands the importance of service branding and design. It is important to remember that good services are so integrated into our daily routine that it is often not perceived by the customers anymore, but bad service experiences can stay in the customers mind forever.
We think that Service Branding could greatly benefit from Service Design. By analyzing the brands and their customers, using Service Design methods, we think this could create a foundation for differentiation and give Service Brands something more relevant and credible to say and do towards their customers. Creating memorable experiences within services is something service designers are experts in. A service designer can give the company deeper insight into their customers’ needs and create stronger relationships between the company and their customers. Service designers can also provide the companies with tools of measuring experience, means of collaboration and give useful insight into how it is possible to accommodate the customers.