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closing the delivery gap

Š Brand Manual Ltd, 2012 All rights reserved.

closing the delivery gap


the void


Your need to sell won’t make anyone buy

Although there are a great many companies selling stuff, most people don’t actually buy stuff for the reason of owning it but rather to use it to get something done. No-one wants to own a quarter inch drill. But a great many people are interested in quarter inch holes with screws in them so that paintings can be hung. Companies that attribute the value of what they make to owning stuff rather than what you can do with it, i.e. getting a service, are by definition valuing the wrong thing. Delivering services is where the money is.


Closing the delivery gap

companies that believe they deliver a superior value proposition


companies whose customers agree

delivery gap

8% Bain Customer-Led Growth diagnostic questionaire; Satmetrix Net Promoter database

The service sector makes up 70% of today’s economy. Raising the efficiency and quality of services, however, is unlike raising the quality of production, because service quality is created in cooperation with the user of the service. The goal of every business is to serve more customers in a given timeframe, without sacrificing quality. Understanding real customer motivation, and taking that into account while providing the service, is where the financial effect can be felt. Delivering a good service can also close the delivery gap.

This book is about how to do that. 11


According to Wikipedia, service design is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers. The word “design� in this context does not directly refer to aesthetics, but rather to purpose – doing something by design means doing it on purpose. And that is the key to understanding service design, because it means that all aspects of the service are there on purpose.

Design is making sense of things. Klaus Krippendorff


How to have your cake and eat it too

One of the great benefits of a well delivered service is that you can save half of your marketing budget. You can save this cash because there is no need to spend money on explaining the service to customers. A customer who understands what he is being offered, what benefit he receives and what he has to do, will use what you offer without additional coercion. On top of that, if it’s done well he’ll tweet and blog and talk about it.

You can’t buy this kind of publicity, but you sure can reap the benefits! > 15

The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told In 2011 Peter Shankman was en route from Tampa to Newark. Before the flight took off, being hungry, he tweeted “Hey @Mortons - can you meet me at newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks.:)� It was a joke and he expected nothing from it. It was like asking the weather to turn nice. Two and half hours later he arrived and walking out of the security area, he was met by Alex from Morton's steakhouse in Hackensack. Alex said that he heard that Peter was hungry and here was his steak with a side of shrimp and potatoes.

The tweet was a joke! Morton's Hackensack is 23 miles from the aiport. Morton's had to, in under three hours: see the tweet, figure out that Peter is a frequent customer, get authorization to do the stunt, order the meal from the Hackensack restaurant, find out which flight and which gate, drive to the airport and deliver the meal. Most companies would never try this because too many things could go wrong. But what if it went right? And if Peter’s first thought is to broadcast it to the world? What if someone else writes about it?



I’m me! Not “them”.

Service design approaches the service from the customers pointof-view. Customers aren’t brief interludes that appear at the door and disappear once they’ve been served. They have a history, experiences, knowledge and purpose. Taking that into account begins with treating them as people. To understand the customer – not only the transaction, but also his motivation for it – map the customer journey.




Cheap booze or sauce base?


Fresh meat and fish Packaged meats Cheese, eggs & milk

Fruit aisle - the bananas are rotten No lettuce – I have to change the menu

What an interesting choice of music Get a shopping trolley Damn, the wheel is loose

Why can’t anyone put their trolley away?

Get to car, drive to supermarket Lousy weather – how can I park close? Parking lot is full, why?

Do I take my own bags? How many?

Longer shopping list (via cook books) What else – call wife

Shopping list – what do I need?

Realisation – fridge is empty

A customer’s journey



Finally got everything in and unpacked Now, what’s for dinner?

How do I get the stuff into the house?

Drive home

Out of the supermarket – it’s pouring! Get to the car – all wet Why did I take paper bags? Everything into the car I’ll just leave the trolley, too much rain

Pack into new bags Need one more bag – but I have no cash

Where have they hidden the toothpaste? Long line at the cashier F**k – forgot the butter - run back Cashier What do you mean my card doesn’t go?

My favourite beer is warm

In the case of grocery shopping, what happens before and after the store can affect how the customer feels more, than what is usually considered the store's problem.


designing service...




The touchpoints: where your business and your customer's life meet. Consider all the points, where, if you were there, you could make the service easier to use, more valuable, more engaging or just plain faster. The customer journey and service provider touchpoint mapping, complete with an overview of service procedures, is a good starting point to understanding where the bottlenecks of your service are. Virgin Atlantic manages to eliminate the part of traveling that we all hate – the airport. Read the case >


Virgin way Even though it is not part of a holistic programme, Virgin Atlantic uses the service design concept of the extended customer journey. Flying Upper Class with Virgin Atlantic means that the service begins from the moment passenger leaves his/her home or office. Virgin offers to arrange for complimentary chauffeur service to collect their passengers and luggage from

work or home. The driver checks the passenger in on the way to the airport and drops them off to a dedicated high-speed walk-through customs. The luggage is taken care of by the driver. After a relaxed and enjoyable wait in the lounge and high quality in-flight service, the passenger is met by his luggage and a car waiting outside the airport to take him or her to the desired destination.

A broader point of view

Competition in services clearly demonstrates that the question is not in money or time spent, but how people feel when they are served and how the service provider values them. Bureaucratic procedures make the service easier to provide but increase dissatisfaction with it. A service doesn’t mean being served. A service is something a person can receive from signage in the waiting room, that the waiting period is not wasted, that documents to be filled are understandable. There is a continuous tug-of-war between standardization of services into large chunks, that are provided to everyone in the same way, and the need to approach people as individuals, with all their quirks and foibles. 27

treat me as an important customer and I will be loyal

treat me as a source of profit and all I want from you is a discount


Not what, but how!

Banks all buy and sell money, mobile operators let you keep in touch. Supermarkets sell the same stuff. It is not what you sell, but how you sell it, that makes the difference. Providing this in a customer centric, understandable and memorable fashion let’s loose word-of-mouth. In this context, it is notable that buying customers with quick fixes and special price is a race to the bottom. Easy, but not very sustainable.


Vorsprung durch Technik

Take cars. People quite obviously don’t buy cars just to get from point A to point B. In fact, currently in Europe, the A2B volume car makers are doing quite badly. Meanwhile the superiority of German engineering is cruising along the sales-autobahn at top speed. Luxury brands have weathered the recession better than their middle-of-the-road brethren. Luxury products offer an understandable and differentiating benefit that makes sense. You may not be able to afford it, but you know why you’d like one. Average stuff, however, is stuff you buy because it’s the best choice at the moment. So if you decide to buy something real, you might as well buy the real thing.


Learn or ignore

VHS 12:00



The clock on the VCR wasn’t important because almost no-one used it to record programmes. The microwave oven was initially marketed to house wives as a means to save time while cooking turkeys and other big meals. “Cook a three hour turkey in just 1½ hours!”. In reality microwaves are mainly used to reheat left-overs and warm up milk. No cooking going on, because microwaves just aren’t good at that. People will use what you create, but they may use it incorrectly. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have a business. Maybe you just have a different business to the one you thought you had. 35


Service design is immediate. Make the smallest viable improvement and let it loose. You’ll get real-time feedback and you’ll know what to do next. But like Murphy said, “if you try to please everyone, then someone won’t like it”.



branding. design.

Brand Manual We started our company April 1, 2009. We had the idea, that instead of making companies just look good, we could help make them be good. For the past 3 years we’ve worked with management and owners to define the competitive advantage of their products and services. We’ve focused on the consumer benefit and, in some cases, changed how the service is offered. We call this branding. Three years ago it was a hypothesis. Today it’s a theory. We do make them talk about you.


J.Margus Klaar Margus creates homogenous and single minded concepts out of disparate, and sometimes at first sight contradictory, information. He is a skilled speaker and often runs trainings and workshops with clients, working through their brand and challenges together. ph: +372 509 4129

Markko Karu Markko is a 3 dimensional thinker, able to simplify and streamline complex systems into understandable services. As a graphic designer, he creates structures: identities, user interfaces and service concepts that others can extend and expand upon. ph: +372 5667 2111

Dan Mikkin The king of details. Dan's work ensures that even the least noticeable aspects are perfectly executed. However, his obsession with detail is not an artistic fancy. Although it is the execution that everyone else remembers, clients value him most for the thinking that is applied prior to design. ph: + 372 506 5213

Kaarel Mikkin Getting the right information from the right people at the right time to make the right decisions is Kaarel's undoubted strength. He works with clients to help them understand their own organizations and staff and is often a consultant to the top management, providing a design thinking point-of-view to business and brand strategy questions. ph: +372 511 6555

The Crew Brand Manual was founded on the principle, that everyone that joins the company must make the sum greater than the individual parts. Therefore we have recruited experts with as varied a background as possible. This diversity of people and cultures enriches our work and keeps us moving forward. And we are always on the lookout for talented and interesting people from around the world, either as interns or staff. Interested?


For comprehensive case studies please go to:

is a member of the Service Design Network and Design Excellence Estonia

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A service doesn't just mean being served. There are scores of details that can be designed to make people talk about you. And bring you more business along the way. Find out how, inside.

Our previous books on branding and innovation are available online at

Service Design Handbook  

Service Design - how to design a service that people will talk about. And bring you more business along the way

Service Design Handbook  

Service Design - how to design a service that people will talk about. And bring you more business along the way