Telenor Norway has enlisted the help of strategic service designers to help visualize a better customer experience across all channels. Telenor’s Annita Fjuk talks about how strategic service design leads to a new way of thinking.
One year ago, Telenor Group announced its partnership with the Center for Service Innovation (CSI), initiated by the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH). One focus of CSI is to create more innovative customer and brand experiences, a goal that is aligned with Telenor’s strategic ambition to become a more customer-centric and experience-driven company.
Annita Fjuk, a program director in Telenor’s research division, heads Telenor’s partnership in CSI. She answers a few questions on the new service design initiatives that have stemmed from Telenor’s involvement in the CSI.
Q: What do you mean by “service design”?
Annita: It’s about designing a service; it’s not about the products. Service design is completely different from product design. Many people think of service design as designing an interface on a Web site. That’s part of it, but only one small part of it. The key to the design of services is the attention to how an experience flows across touch-points rather than the quality of the interface alone. Strategic service design is also about creating a vision, fundamentally driven by the customer’s experience. It’s about how you combine traditional business thinking with more creative thinking.
Q: Why is service design important for Telenor?
Annita: We started to take part in CSI because we are undergoing a change in our industry – from very product and technology focused to more marketing and customer focused. We are also striving to become a more customer-centric company.
In addition, strategic service design is an important instrument in early innovation processes. An important part of service design thinking is visualization and designing experience prototypes that help grasp a potential implementation before resources are spent in development.
Q: What projects have been initiated in the first year of the CSI partnership?
Annita: We have already done a few CSI-projects, and most of them have focused on how we can use service design as an instrument for reducing complexity both for our customers and for our organization. So far, we have worked with Telenor Norway (Customer Care) on how to deliver superior customer experience, reduce costs and increase sales.
Q: How has service design helped Telenor Norway with the challenges they face, such as in the online store?
Annita: We are exploring this along with strategic service designers soon, looking at how we can improve the optimization across manual and digital channels in sales and service. The service designers start with a visual depiction of the intended experience. The service designers are able to provide us with visual concepts of the target experience for customers…to really demonstrate what we are striving to achieve. They also use unique and creative tools to get us to think in different ways.
Q: How do the service designers know what the customers want to experience?
Annita: Telenor has a key resource in the people who work on the frontlines of our business everyday…the people in the stores and the people in customer service. There is a lot of insight that can be gained and we are feeding this information to the service designers. But in other situations, the service designers are doing interviews with customers or map customer journeys as key insight to start with.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in the end?
Annita: First, I think for the service designers, it’s very important for it to be more known that their area of expertise is much broader than interface design. It’s about combining business modeling with creative thinking, and looking at how we can use this creative thinking to evolve into a more competitive, next-generation telecom company. And of course, the underlying ambition for the project is to increase sales, reduce costs and improve the overall customer experience.