Customer-centricity is “still a lofty ambition and very difficult to achieve”

Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau of Continuum will speak at NEXT Service Design 2013 on Monday. Before that they gave us a little interview

Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau of Continuum will speak at NEXT Service Design 2013 on Monday. Before that they gave us a little interview.

Together with your team you designed ‘Bank of the Future’ for the Spanisch bank BBVA. What was the idea behind it?

Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau: At it’s core we knew the bank of the future would be a digital bank. However, as a result of our research we recognized that the bank of the future would need to transition from the bank of today to that future vision. We need to create a customer ecosystem that anticipated an ideal future and was responsive to new technologies and behaviors that might arise in the intervening time, looking 10 years down the line.

The system is customer-centric and for individual banking. Is that the point that makes this system so revolutionary?

Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau:  It’s great, but a little sad, that you think the system is revolutionary. It shouldn’t be so revolutionary! I think it is because customer-centricity is still a lofty ambition and very difficult to achieve. We did indeed design this banking experience to be driven by customers – not by the bank! The various manifestation of the bank – branch, kiosk, ATM, staff, remote locations, call center, mobile devices, etc are there to support customer goals and needs with the bank service processes enabling it to respond flexibly and consistently.


Do you think that this system could be a role model for other banks and also for other markets?

Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau: Yes, we do! The financial services industry is one of the verticals that has been pushing service innovation. There are a lot of good examples of success, which have inspired others to also take the initiative. Multi-channel, or omni-channel as it also being called, makes it very difficult, especially for large institutions struggling to bring systems up-to-date. But it is no less desirable and important. To date, other than reducing the number of physical banks, no bank has taken away customer channels. Taking advantage of the recent wave of digital innovation they are adding channels, and innovating many means of customer engagement within those channels. As a result, customers are becoming more and more channel agnostic. Other industries that are pushing service innovation include retail, healthcare, fitness, and urban transportation.

From your experience which, do you think, are the industries that have the highest pressure to improve their service design strategies?

Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau: All industries should feel the pressure. Some are responding faster and better than others. Ones with a high touch experience need to move faster. Healthcare is one where there are huge opportunities and huge barriers and financial services, which can be very commoditized. B2B services – especially around low margin services such as fulfillment/delivery and Retail – with its high volume and low margin. Cities, especially in emerging markets, face huge service design challenges.

What can the attendees of NEXT Service Design 2013 expect from your presentation? Which parts of the service design process will be pointed out?

Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau: The importance of understanding people to drive design and the incredible value of experiential prototyping.

Want to see the talk of Brian Gillespie and Lee Moreau? Get your ticket and join us in Berlin: