User experience is not enough

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User Experience and Customer Experience take care of the end user or customer. In such fields, designers push business not to take care only of sales. They push companies to look at the people who use the products and services. That is still a great step for many companies today. These companies have a focus on building amazing products or services. But they forget that it’s people that make the service alive. So User or Customer Experience can be valuable but is not enough. When we focus so much on the customer, we forget about the people who build the service. The people who make the experience human. These are the workers. 

Taking care of customers is not the same thing than taking care of humans.

We see this for example in companies known for their great customer service. Companies like Uber and Apple had in Europe, a few problems with their workers. The company pushes the workers to do their best for the customers. Which in a way is great. But when this becomes extreme these companies create a bad experience for their employees. The recent strikes of the Uber employees in France are rich in learning. 

From user experience to human experiences

How I see service design

The Service Design approach I believe in is an approach that includes all stakeholders. When we design complex services, there are a lot of different people who make it happen. All deserve to have a great experience. Of course, these experiences are all different. Customer experience and employee experience work in different ways. Pushing customer experience and employee satisfaction at the same time may look like contradictory. But humans are not like equations. When you take care of your employees, you do not lower your attention to the customers. In fact, it is the opposite. When employees have great work conditions, they make customers happy more easily. The common industry example for this is Google. Google seems to take care of its employees. For example, they do that by allowing 20% of the work time for personal projects). Google says that the best services they have come out of this culture of taking care. Gmail, for example, started as a side project during the 20% personal time. The Service Design approach goes even further. The equation is not only about including customers and employees. 

The secret formula is to include every human. It’s about shifting from customer experience to human experiences.

But how do you do this? First, you have to know who are the different humans your company has to take into account. Usually, it is customers, employees and partners. For large b2b companies, things can be more complex. The company sell the service it builds to another company. This other company then uses it for the end customers. You can add as many elements that you want between the end customer and the base company. For these b2b services the mapping of all the different humans can be quiet long. But when you build your service for the whole living ecosystem satisfaction grows. It grows from every side and inspire the other sides. Taking care of the customers creates happier customers. Customers are then less angry with sales people. Also, happy sales people make the customer happy. Satisfied partners are more eager to help your employees during hard times. And this leads to happier employees. And so on.

So, for your next project take some time to map all the humans in your ecosystem. That works for simple things like a website or very complex services. You will see that this shift from experience to experiences is a powerful driver of satisfaction.