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Designing consistent Customer Experiences: The Power of Service Patterns

Service Patterns can help you scale exceptional design across your organisation.

Published on
June 19, 2023
Lauren Terry, Annie Martin & Cindy Chang

Creating consistently excellent customer experiences across your organisation can be a daunting challenge. Customers demand experiences they love, but siloed teams and resource constraints make this difficult. It takes strong leadership and a clear vision to scale good design practices in a consistent, efficient, and cost-effective way. Fortunately, there is a tool that can help you and your teams rise to this challenge: Service Patterns.

What are Service Patterns?

Service Patterns demonstrate how a repeated service interaction (e.g., making a purchase or submitting an application) should work for the customer, employee, and organisation. They are a tangible tool that sets standards to guide the design of consistent and desirable experiences across touchpoints, products, services, and teams.

By using Service Patterns across an organisation, teams can create a common language for customer experience and service delivery, embedding customer centricity and insights into design at scale, with lower effort and cost.

Service Patterns enable teams to begin designing from a foundational framework of best practices and principles instead of starting from scratch. They help to cut across silos and are particularly useful for large and complex landscapes.

How Service Patterns work

Over our 20 years of experience at The Customer Experience Company, we have found that there are universal commonalities in customers' needs and how they expect to be able to complete service-related tasks and activities. The principles of excellent customer experiences are the same, regardless of touchpoint, service, product, organisation or industry in a B2B or B2C context.

Each Service Pattern describes a core step in the experience and consists of repeatable service 'Building Blocks.' These Building Blocks represent customers' Jobs to be Done, such as 'complete information,' 'submit,' or 'track progress.'

The Building Blocks intend to conceptualise customer insight practically, providing a foundation for teams to design experiences people love consistently and at scale. Building blocks should be tailored to an organisation, their services, employees and customers, based on:

  • The user's Job to be Done,
  • Their needs and expectations,
  • Design principles and standards, and
  • Considerations for different channels and contexts.

These Patterns and building blocks transcend specific solutions or channels, like digital or face-to-face, allowing them to act as a foundational tool referenced at the starting point for designing and building solutions.

Service Patterns in Practice: Federal Government

A recent example of Service Patterns in action is with a Federal Government Department we partnered with on a multi-year service delivery transformation grounded in Human-Centred Design. Starting in one service experience area, we applied Service Patterns and designed Building Blocks that were reusable and applicable across various services, products and business areas.

With these Patterns established, it allowed new team members to onboard quickly, fast-tracking of research, and for critical knowledge, insights and decisions to be captured, shared and digested easily across the team. It also ensured the organisation scaled its design investment and maintained consistency across the experience transformation.

The benefits of Service Patterns

Fast-track and streamline the design process. 

Start with validated Service Patterns and then define nuanced building blocks specific to your customers to reduce effort, save time and cost, and leapfrog off the lessons learnt by other industries.

Scale great design across disparate teams.

Leverage work in one team across the organisation, align experiences owned by disparate product teams and maximise your investment in customer research and design.

Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Creating a seamless, consistent experience across your organisation and meeting customer expectations will improve customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.

Taking action

Service Patterns are a hero tool in your CX Toolkit and essential to driving ongoing transformation for your customer and employee experience. Our foundational Service Patterns, developed over decades of experience, can help create a tailored and effective set of Service Patterns and Building blocks aligned with your customer insights.

Contact us to learn more about how Service Patterns can streamline your design process, save time and investment, and enable you to design great experiences at scale.

Speak with an expert

Lauren Terry
Head of Design
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