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At Coca-Cola Global Business Services, GBS for short, we provide Finance, procurement, HR and IT services to the more than 700,000 Coca-Cola employees around the world. And just like any other service provider, we see delivering a great service experience as a vital aspect of what we do.

When Coca-Cola’s HR Operations became part of GBS in 2013, we decided to take a fresh approach to the way we provided these services. The idea was to treat the Coca-Cola employees we worked with, our colleagues, as customers of our services. Along with this new mindset came new emphasis on the experience of these services.

Putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers, we asked ourselves four key questions —

1. How do we ensure our services are relevant and easy-to-use?

2. How can we demonstrate a human touch in the digital world we work in?

3. How do we make sure our customers enjoy working with us?

4. How we deliver a delightful experience that reflects the Coca-Cola brand?

To answer these questions we turned to service design – an innovative approach to creating great service experiences grounded in customer insight.

Watch how Coca-Cola GBS used service design to improve customer experience

Watch how Coca-Cola GBS used service design to improve customer experience

What does that mean in practice? Traditionally, service providers structure their services according to their internal procedures, sometimes known as process maps. Service designers move away from that.

Instead, they get a deep understanding of customers’ desires, needs and pain points. They study this information and put together what they call a customer journey map. They then make sure the service provided reflects what’s on that map.
 

Service designers tailor services to meet the needs of the customer, rather than asking users to follow procedures put in place to suit the service provider

In other words, service designers tailor services to meet the needs of the customer, rather than asking users to follow procedures put in place to suit the service provider.

More and more GBS organisations around the world are moving away from focusing on cost reduction and instead concentrate on delivering customer-centric experiences. Part of the reason for doing this is a generational shift that’s taking place.

Recognised around the world for iconic brand and packaging design, service design is becoming increasingly central to The Coca-Cola Company

By 2030, Millennials (those born somewhere between 1980 and the early 2000s) are expected to account for 75% of the global workforce. As a generation they bring with them consumer expectations shaped by the experience of great online services from the likes of Google and Apple — and expect the same quality of digital services in the workplace.

These expectations are a major challenge for businesses worldwide. And firms will need to innovate in the way they hire, manage and grow the best talent.

Service design has allowed us to achieve a structured understanding of how to ensure a desirable service experience

What service design has done is allow us to achieve for the first time a structured understanding of how to ensure a desirable service experience. It helps us redesign our services based on customer journey maps, prototypes and service blueprints.

To do this we brought in a great service design agency, DesignThinkers based in Amsterdam, who worked closely with our HR team and employees from across the company. We also created two design councils – HR Design Council and Customer Voice Design Council – to gather essential insights and draw up a customer journey map for GBS services.

The result is a complete service experience that is intuitive and enjoyable, and incorporates mobile and digital technologies. To get there we needed to engage with stakeholders worldwide, working across the functional silos, to design a seamless end-to-end service.

Here’s what the results looked like —

  • New end-to-end customer centric GBS services based on user insights and journey mapping
  • New, digital, mobile-friendly, user-centric communication tools for employees
  • Improved user experience of the Coca-Cola careers sites and internal digital resources

The impact of these projects is clear – when services are organised around employees’ needs we have seen a significant increase in employee engagement, satisfaction and productivity.

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To discuss this project with us, leave a comment below or join the Service Design Thinking in HR LinkedIn group.

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