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Melrose Theatre

Day 3

09.10 am -10.00 am


Why Service Design Can Not Rely on Customers?

Abstract :

Or, why it is not wise to depend only on customers opinions, and their declarations? This article was inspired by the research project, that was held in 2016 at Poznań Air-port. It was a nonprofit research project conducted by Poznań Airport, BBSG, Service Design Polska, and Collegium Da Vinci University with both goals to get some further knowledge about customers experiences, their preferences and perception of the airport services, and finally understanding their behaviour and decision-making process. In Service Design terminology, it should be called customer journey mapping. There were some methodological goals in that research as well. We decided to use several different techniques to study the phenomena we were interested in, and intentionally we used two or three research methods simultaneously to get diverse perspectives and types of data on every encounter. We used at some points of research such tools as standardized questionnaires, participatory and non-participatory observations, shadowing, mobile ethnography (with the ExperienceFellow app), Critical Incidents Technique, video analysis and more.The research outcomes were a real wonder to us. To give you a sample. We have got a question from the airport management what do their clients experience at the security check when entering the airside part of the airport. They were curious if the security does not last too long for customers if it influences their overall satisfaction etc. At the security check, we measured time spent of random responders, they were observed discreetly in that process by the researchers, just after the security check, they were approached to fill the standardized questionnaire (assisted by the researcher) and just before their departure they were interviewed again about what they did. Research proved that time and duration of the security check is a very important issue for responders. Next, responders were to declare if the felt it was very long to very quick (on scale). There was a normal distribution of answers to that question, so we decided to crosscheck it with data collected by another researcher, that was duration of that security check process measured separately for every responder and linked to his files. And there was a consternation because it appeared there was no significant correlation between measured duration of the process and perceived duration of that process. A common sense tells that slower the process, longer it lasts and therefore is perceived as longer, and the opposite: faster – shorter – quicker. It didn’t work that way here. Something happened to peoples’ skill to estimate the passage of time. And not only this skill. Lot’s more will come in my presentation. The show is planned to end up with some conclusions dedicated to service designers, service operators and managers as well as to service researchers as well as future research suggestions and invitation.

Goals :

Research question:

  • Is it still necessary to keep doing research as we have all the great techniques of service prototyping, customer co-creation and all the tooling of Service Design and Design Thinking?

(Dis)confirmation of statements:

  • S1: Putting customer first should allow us properly address customers needs and wants.
  • S2: An experienced service designer with the design thinking process has enough capacity to solve a problem of any service encounter
  • S3: Service Design Thinking is the same as the application of Design Thinking methodology to the service context.

PDF Document

Tourism and hospitality


Full-time lecturer and researcher at Collegium Da Vinci and Managing Partner of Service Design Polska - helping firms make their services more valuable

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