Design & Customer Service

People who know about design insist that it can help with customer service, and I generally agree with them. There are a few days that design can assist with customer service and the customer service experience.

As a parallel to the experience.
If each step of the customer service experience is well designed (from a visual standpoint), then it may be a bit more enjoyable for the customer. For example, if the knowledge base is very well designed, easy to navigate, etc., looking through it will not be nearly as annoying. The same goes for tracking issues through a helpdesk and similar processes in the customer service experience.

Design removing the need for customer service.
Another instance where design can assist with customer service is good design removing the need for customer service all together. If a product is well designed, the amount of “How do I do –this-?” questions should be minimized if not eliminated completely. This is a very straight forward example of design removing at least some of the need for customer service.

Design features with customer service in mind.
A well placed “Hint” box on the side of a registration page is design with customer service in mind. It means the page was designed well enough that they thought about possible future customer service problems related to the page, and used design to avoid those and ensure they don’t happen.

Ease of navigation.
An important part of design is ease of navigation. If it is difficult to navigate something – whether it be a physical store or a web site, it may very well frustrate customers and even cause them to leave and do their business elsewhere. When designers think about ease of navigation, they are thinking of how to design the building, the site’s, etc. navigation so that it is easy to navigate and subsequently, make customers happy.

Customer service for design.
The design/customer service relationship can work the other way around as well. If there is a design problem, chances are that the customer service department will be one of the first to hear about it, so they can then pass what they have learned on to the design department.

Keep them linked.
If your company has two separate design and customer service departments, keep them as linked as possible. They both should collaborate on new projects and have a say in what each other is doing. Obviously, you can’t involve them too much or nothing will get done, but if the design team is working on a new product design, customer service should get to look at a draft before anything is produced.

One Response to “Design & Customer Service”

  1. Service Untitled » Customer Service in Store Design - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Mar 20, 07 at 8:16 am

    […] Customer service in store design (and as I have babbled about, design in general) is very important. I read that Nordstrom has wider shopping aisles so people don’t feel as crammed. They also do a host of other things that collectively make a big difference in the shopping experience. While people don’t notice these outright unless they are grossly exaggerated one way or another (I doubt many people go: Wow – this Nordstrom store has wider aisles than Macy’s, mom!), shoppers likely do subconsciously notice them and it makes the overall customer service experience better. […]