On Service Design

If you ask a lot of people in India on what is one thing that they would really like the companies to offer better, the answer you would get is Service. I have often faced situations that are so bad that often one is made to think, why does the company continue to exist in the first place, with such a bad Service. 

Being a designer I emphasize that the Service has to be designed within the DNA of the company itself. It requires a lot of Service Design based approach thinking. Not every company is adept at doing that. The problem however, is not that. It is whether they are even thinking of doing it. 

If you do a quick search on the term Service Design, you find this entry on Wikipedia
The purpose of service design methodologies is to design according to the needs of customers or participants, so that the service is user-friendly, competitive and relevant to the customers. The backbone of this process is to understand the behavior of the customers, their needs and motivations. Service designers draw on the methodologies of fields such as ethnography and journalism to gather customer insights through interviews and by shadowing service users. 

In this competitive age, where every business is out to outdo the other, if there is one thing that stands out to differentiate the one from the other; it is Service. It is what makes a company stand out.  It is therefore but natural that the ones that I have come to like in the past few years have been the ones that provide a good service. This service is not just at the time of the purchase of the product or the service, but at the before and after stages as well. As the customer gets smarter and better informed at making decisions, and the avenues for making or breaking a brand image really become more and wide; it is necessary that the companies take Service Design seriously. Canvera is one such company that does and the recent experience with them just proved it further.

In short, this is what had happened.

I had asked the company’s design team to design a photo-book with my set of instructions. There were quite a few set of things that I have in my design style and wanted the design team to follow that. That did not happen, and moreover to top it all, the client was not too impressed with the way the photos were arranged.

So what followed was a long and lengthy process of going through the design one by one page and finally being able to get a satisfied client. The client was a bit too critical in their comments, and in the end I am glad that there was this feedback mechanism in place. 

Being a designer, I had spent a lot of time in briefing what I wanted and what I did not want in the album. So when a few ofthe things that I did not want appeared in the draft design I was not happy.

Following the incident, I had a detailed conversation with Dhiraj ,the CEO at Canvera and he assured me of getting the matter sorted out. I was then also put in touch with the senior designer and also got a chance to discuss the work in detail. We went through seven rounds of iteration, which also included the client in the process. The patience showed by the team at Canvera was commendable, and at no point of time, I felt that I waas dealing with a team that did not care for the album as much as I or the client did.

We do understand that the problem with design is that it is a very subjective thing. Not everyone would like the same thing. So it’s like either you like it in the first instant, or you keep working on it many times to come to something that you would like. In this case it was the later.

The team was very cooperative in getting the feedback implemented and paying attention to the communication between the client, the photographer and the Canvera team. It also provided an avenue for engagement with the me and the customer. Whether it be through phone calls or social media engagement or meeting up in person, I could do either or all of them to my satisfaction.

In the end of all of this, what mattered was that we had a satisfied client. Just by seeing the final preview the client was so happy that they could not stop praising it. I wonder what will happen when they see the print, of which I have always been a big fan of Canvera.

I have always valued Dhiraj and his team for the products they build and the Quality Check process they have in place. But with this incident, I was convinced that here is a company that really values the Service aspect of the business. Companies that have this aspect incorporated in their DNA would always end up having that extra edge over their competitors.

As I write this post, I got to know that Canvera secured another round of funding ! Here’s to more awesome stuff from them!


1 comment to On Service Design

  • Thanks Kshitiz for the mention. As you and I have discussed, the communication of what is required from design and the execution is always fraught with challenges and I am glad that in the end we could make you and your client happy. This is very very important for me personally and Canvera as a company. And I appreciate your understanding through this process. We are constantly looking to improve and customers like you make us better. Thanks much!