Customer Experience Design

The Service Profit Chain Institute applies a targeted five-step consulting engagement for re-designing the current customer experience based on proven research-based principles from behavior science.

These five steps ensure that the improved customer service experience has been developed and tested to achieve some specific business objectives.


Step 1: Understand the current customer experience

Customer experience innovation begins with research into the unconscious needs and feelings about the target customers. To achieve true innovation in improving the customer experience, traditional research methods may not be enough.


What we need to learn includes:

  • Identify customer satisfaction and loyalty drivers and our client’s performance relative to their competition
  • Identify employee satisfaction and loyalty drivers
  • The ‘core metaphor’ that describe what customers unconsciously desire in the experience
  • The emotional needs of customers at each major touchpoint of the current customer experience
  • Touchpoints in the current experience that represent clear opportunities to ‘wow’ the customer
  • Touchpoints in the current experience that represent chronic problems for the customer
  • Cues in the current experience that do not support the delivery of our brand promise

Most importantly, we ask our clients to remember that the customer service experience we are designing is meant to influence specific customer behavior that will drive improved business results.


Step 2: Defining the brand platform

The brand platform includes three elements that must be clearly defined before moving ahead to design or improve the customer experience:


Although related, each element of the brand platform defines a different aspect of a company’s brand strategy that are essential to provide direction as we consider creating innovation in the customer experience.


Step 3: Design the Customer experience

Here are some key points to consider when it comes to creating innovation in the customer experience:

  • Re-designing a new customer experience is built based on:
    • The brand platform (positioning, promise and experience theme)
    • Customer and employee research
    • Key desired customer behaviors
  • Is ‘bounded’ by “Heard from a friend about…” and ends with “Told a friend about…”
  • Designed to create a ‘significantly memorable’ and ‘emotionally attaching’ experience that is delivered consistently across all touchpoints
  • The experience is engineered with explicit and subtle ‘brand cues’ that create a unifying theme to the experience
  • Includes elements that create tangible value for customers over novelty, including intentional ways to extend the experience


Experience theme

In some cases the customer experience design team may pick an experience theme to help unify the experience. To establish the experience theme it helps to:

  • Determine the emotions that have to be generated or enhanced.
  • Determine the emotions that have to be mitigated.

The emotional tone a company will wish to create in their customer experience should be based on the emotional attributes they associate with their brand.


  • Harrah’s: Feeling of luck
  • Disney: Delight
  • Joie de Vivre Hotel Chain: Edgy (Phoenix Hotel – Rolling Stone magazine); Serene (Hotel Vitale– Country Living)
  • McKinsey: Trust


Step 4: Exceed customer expectations at critical moments of truth

Companies that deliver a world class customer service experience ensure that they consistently exceed customer expectations at those points in the experience that really count in the eyes of their target customers. This could include the first time they use a new product, or enter a store to browse for a new cell phone. Once the customer experience has been designed and tested, implementation requires careful attention to the customer service delivery system that ensures the brand promise is delivered with high standards.


Step 5: Measure to continuously improve and innovate

Measurement is central to ensuring the customer experience is performing as intended and producing strong customer advocates. There are five dimensions to ensure companies are measuring the right things to guide their customer service improvement efforts.



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