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Interview
November 3, 2021

Bruno Perez

Multichannel Service Design 101

November 3, 2021

With an impressive number and diversity of companies in the market, high-quality service is often a backbone of a good user experience that defines customers' future relationships with a company. Multichannel Service Design allows companies to support customers on each step and nurture these relationships. We invited Bruno Perez, Strategic Design Lead at BCG, to unfold the basic principles of this strategy and share real examples of its implementation. As a bonus, he shared four books on improving user expectations and experiences, so let’s roll.

Bruno Perez, Strategic Design Lead at WESA L&D Design Chapter, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

Bruno is an experienced designer who is passionate about generating business impact by designing inclusive experiences and services for people through understanding their needs and motivation.

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BRUNO, PLEASE TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL PATH IN DIGITAL DESIGN

 

I'm a Design Leader with over 20 years of experience. As a strong advocate of inclusive design, I add this dimension to all the work I do. I have worked in a broad range of industries, including the automotive, financial services, and retail industries. Prior to joining BCG, I spent time at Accenture. In 2013, I became one of the first Fjordians in São Paulo, helping Fjord to grow an entirely new team from the ground up. I also spent one year building the Service & Experience Design capability within KPMG’s flagship Customer Practice team in London. Now as part of the BCG team, I'm one of the Strategic and service design craft leads and also responsible for the Design Chapter L&D for WESA.

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WHAT IS SERVICE DESIGN?

 

Service Design is what enables you to manage and incorporate customer experience into company processes and resources. It involves a deep understanding of all the channels that your customer interacts with (the front stage) and what happens behind the scenes to make it available to your customers (the backstage). It also helps de-risk future service implementation by keeping constant validations and iterations with real customers and every aspect of the business.

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When you have two coffee shops next to each other, each selling the exact same coffee for the exact same price, Service Design is the reason you go into one coffee shop and not the other
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HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CONCEPT OF MULTICHANNEL SERVICE DESIGN TO NON-DESIGNERS?

 

Marc Fonteijn explained it best: “When you have two coffee shops right next to each other, each selling the exact same coffee for the exact same price, Service and Service Design is the reason you go into one coffee shop and not the other.” 


And by applying a Multichannel customer understanding, you’ll discover why they don't just choose your coffee shop but keep coming back and telling everyone about it.

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WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR MULTICHANNEL SERVICE DESIGN IN TODAY’S WORLD?

 

Not only in today's world. It is important to understand a service; it is not just a single interaction that happens in one single touchpoint with a customer. It is a complex amalgamation of multiple interactions from multiple channels made by each customer.

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I expect the same level of quality and satisfaction from the experience every time, regardless of the channel I use to experience it
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WHAT ARE THE CORE PRINCIPLES OF MULTICHANNEL SERVICE DESIGN?

 

From my perspective, the key principle of this Multichannel Service Design is to understand that customer interaction doesn't happen in a one-off situation but a combination of multiple interactions from multiple touchpoints and, most importantly, with varying demands. 


 

Going back to the coffee shop example, today I may order a coffee on an app to collect in-store because I'm in a rush to get to the airport. Tomorrow, I may take a nice mocha with a slice of cake to eat there and work using the store's wifi. However, I expect the same level of quality and satisfaction from the experience every time, regardless of the channel I use to experience it.

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HOW IS MULTICHANNEL SERVICE DESIGN DIFFERENT FROM OMNICHANNEL SERVICE DESIGN?

 

Ostensibly, there is no difference. 


 

Multichannel should be embedded into Omnichannel Service Strategy as part of the customer experience. We shouldn't create any barriers for the customer to be able to interact with our products and services. Instead, we should support them in completing their goals and fulfill their needs starting from their mobile and finishing in our store—completing each interaction one specific touchpoint at a time.

Multichannel vs. Omnichannel service

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DO YOU THINK SUCH 'LIQUID' EXPECTATIONS OF MULTICHANNEL SERVICE DESIGN (A CONCEPT CHAMPIONED BY SHELLEY EVENSON OF FJORD) ARE A SHORT-TERM TREND OR A PART OF A MORE LONG-TERM PRACTICE IN THE SERVICE STRATEGY?

 

I believe that a well-executed Service Design strategy should combine Omnichannel and Multichannel strategies along with an effective Brand Experience strategy. 


 

Every time a customer interacts with a product or service, their expectations will be set based on their perspective of the brand behind it. This can determine the success or failure of a Service Strategy and, as a result, can damage the Brand's Reputation or elevate it to the next level.

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ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE DESIGN ARE ESSENTIAL PARTS OF MODERN DESIGN PRACTICES. HOW ARE THEY IMPLEMENTED IN THE MULTICHANNEL SERVICE DESIGN CONCEPT AND WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO INCLUDE THEM?

 

It is necessary to understand that Inclusive Design is not a process or a toolkit, it is a mindset that elevates services to a level that allows more people to participate or use it by learning from diversity, solving challenges for a specific set of needs and lastly, sharing it with many other people.
 

When you create inclusive products and services, they are not just for a few. In fact, 15% of the worldwide population will face some kind of disability in their lives. 

 

There are over 56 million people in the United States and over 1 billion people worldwide with a disability. Today, roughly 360 million people in the world are deaf or have profound hearing loss. Thirty-two million of them are children like my son. By 2050, this number is expected to rise to 900 million, or close to 1 in 10 people. Nearly everyone, given a long enough life span, will lose their hearing as they age. These are huge numbers of people, and they need to be supplied with products and services.

People living with disabilities. Worldwide

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DOES YOUR TEAM AT THE BCG PLATINION USE THE PRINCIPLES OF MULTICHANNEL SERVICE DESIGN? WHY/WHY NOT?

 

Our Service Design practice at BCG goes beyond that. 
 

We don't just think about Multichannel Service Design Strategies but we do it in a holistic way by benefiting from our multidisciplinary team to investigate the opportunities from Human-Centered Design, Architecture & Engineering, Product Strategy, and Market & Partnership perspectives, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to crafting new products and services for our clients.

Multichannel Service Design strategy at BCG

Case Study: Multichannel Service Design at BCG

In a recent case, a leading insurance company was looking to identify new markets to expand into, in order to increase client engagement and unlock additional revenue.
 

  1. We applied our Service Design approach to create and validate multiple greenfield propositions with real customers.
  2. These opportunities evolved into multiple service propositions, and we prioritized them all by using our DVFS framework to identify the most valuable ones to bring to life.
  3. To de-risk future service implementation, we constantly validated and iterated the propositions with real customers in every aspect of the business and used this wealth of knowledge to form a comprehensive Service Blueprint. That was the backbone of all workstreams.
  4. During the product and strategic development phase, the team continued using the DVFS to constantly validate the service offerings and experiences with multiple customers, applying the best insights to iterate on the work.
  5. This resulted in a brand new, validated Multichannel Service Offering, supported by a new Product Alpha that set the foundation for the future engagement platform alongside a product backlog.

 

This enabled us to deliver the full potential of the service and a robust business structure built by a powerful combination of Human-Centered Design and BCG Strategy.

Multichannel Service Design strategy at BCG

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WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS THAT A COMPANY/DESIGN TEAM HAS TO TAKE IN ORDER TO IMPLEMENT MULTICHANNEL SERVICE DESIGN PRACTICES?

 

The most important step is to reach an alignment between the stakeholders and the customers' needs. 

 

Only after we reach this alignment can we start to develop a future service vision that later on will result in a live service or product that will achieve the stakeholders' goals and support customer needs.

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WHAT ARE YOUR GO-TO APPLICATIONS AND TOOLS FOR A PRODUCTIVE WORKFLOW? 

 

Miro, Figma, Trello, Zoom.
 

Naturally, all these tools enable online collaboration amongst team members for each step of the design process—from planning, to ideation, to execution. However, I will always prefer old-fashioned face-to-face collaboration, a pack of post-its, and a black sharpie.

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HOW DO YOU THINK SERVICE DESIGN WILL EVOLVE IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS? 

 

Service design is gaining a more mature status and starting to be discussed with C-level management as a tool to craft more successful product and service strategies for business, and it will become essential in the near future.

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ANY FINAL TIPS FOR YOUNG DESIGNERS WHO WANT TO BUILD A CAREER IN THE DESIGN INDUSTRY?

 

Firstly, always look beyond your biases when it comes to designing a product.

 

To quote Steve Jobs: 'Stay hungry. Stay foolish.'

 

If you want to tell a story about your career or share your expert opinion, send us a pitch at serafima@flowmapp.com