• October 18, 2022
  • By Sayantan Basu, experience design director, digital customer experience (DCX), Capgemini Americas

Engagement Blueprinting: How Your Company Can Leverage Service Design

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How can a brand look through the lens of its customers, employees, and partners? The short answer is to chart their end-to-end journeys and interactions and look for pain points and opportunities. But there’s more to it than that. Plotting the course of multiple intersecting persona segments, business processes, and tech stacks can present challenges. For example, nearly a third of organizations told Gartner they find it challenging to incorporate their customer journey maps into their overall customer experience efforts.

Engagement Blueprinting is a service design framework that moves beyond static business process printouts and instead strives for iterative refinement. Engagement Blueprinting takes a journey management approach, mapping the end-to-end experiences of customers, employees, and partners, and their interactions with other actors, processes, data, and apps to identify the areas that demand attention. An Engagement Blueprint aims to liberate the organization from monolithic UX thinking, replace it with an engine of continual adaptation, and reveal the signature moments hidden in plain sight.

Benefits of Engagement Blueprinting

Today’s enterprises understand the benefits of visualizing persona journeys. But ideally, companies should continuously look at the interactions among their customers, employees, and partners to ensure they’re working optimally, the technology is adequate, the data insightful, and the KPIs relevant.

Blueprinting has become a survival skill for organizations seeking to closely align their user and service experiences with what people want and need. While service design isn’t as widely adopted as user experience is, it’s hard to imagine one without the other. Many leading companies are embracing a customer-first mind-set and adopting a service design framework to support it. Forrester Research’s Global State of Design Teams Survey for Q4 2020 found that 46 percent were using service blueprints, 12 percent more than in 2019. Given that growth trend, it’s likely just a matter of time before it’s something that every organization is expected to do.

No organization can ignore the role of service design in their customer life cycle. Engagement Blueprinting breaks down journeys into smaller motions called micro journeys, and it is a practical way of reckoning with the nonlinear experiences becoming the norm.

As a result, stakeholders can focus and zoom into areas of interest to manage journeys more efficiently at the micro and macro levels. The goal is to connect the dots through time and space rather than in a flat context. Most importantly, by making persona interactions observable across dimensions, Engagement Blueprints help companies understand that their personas’ experiences are not about technology but about people (at least for now, but artificial intelligence is relentlessly reshaping the landscape).

Setting the Scope for a Engagement Blueprint

Blueprinting sessions can be holistic, end-to-end projects that encompass an entire process at an organizational level, such as a go-to-market strategy. However, you can also create Engagement Blueprints to examine smaller problems. In fact, starting with an Engagement Blueprint of lesser scope and fewer journey sets allows companies to build frameworks that scale up, connecting more organizational dimensions as your journey management capability evolves.

Regardless of the scope of your Engagement Blueprint project, you need to begin with a long-term goal and a big-picture vision for a group, product, persona journey, or the entire company. That may seem obvious, but aligning stakeholders on a purpose and vision is a critical and foundational step to a successful service design blueprint.

You also need a problem statement that the blueprint will address and clearly defined and segmented personas whose journeys the blueprint will map. Those personas need to be relatively current—ideally, post-pandemic, because of the dramatic shifts in customer behavior.

With your personas updated and fine-tuned, you can identify their pain points. Those pain points represent opportunities, and the opportunities are the starting lines for developing solutions to address them.

Finally, successful Engagement Blueprinting requires patience and tolerance for discomfort because the process will almost certainly reveal gaps in customer journeys, persona insights, or other areas of the business. Identifying those gaps and finding ways to close them is the goal, but the process can be jarring. Those tough conversations are necessary to move the organization forward and create a better way to manage products and journeys.

The Impacts of Engagement Blueprinting

Because Engagement Blueprints go beyond a static printout, they can evolve as your business and your personas evolve to help map your progress, identify new opportunities, and highlight areas that need optimization as you grow. These blueprints can also help you identify the KPIs that matter, cut through the clutter, and gather relevant information for continuous improvement. They tap into the insights organizations need to navigate and manage uncertainty and constant change in ways that benefit customers, employees, partners, and the organization as a whole.

Sayantan Basu is experience design director, digital customer experience (DCX), at Capgemini Americas. He has extensive knowledge of CX across domains such as retail, banking, insurance, pharma, and media communications. Along with his management background he comes with a strong visual art training that gives him the edge on providing complete 360-degree customer solution from conceptualization to visualization of the end product.

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