Service Design thru Ethnographic Research

Retail Service Design Study for Fortune 50 Telecom

I led a study that set out to evaluate the retail employee experience working in the client’s retail stores to understand what the company could improve for employees that would, in-turn, improve the customer’s experience.

I sought the answers to two primary questions:

  • What are the obstacles for customers to have a good customer experience?
  • What are the obstacles for employees to provide a good customer experience?

With one other consultant from fassforward Consulting Group, I visited three stores across the country and administered ethnographic research. I formed the study to include both passive observation and active participation; I also included interviews with employees across the store hierarchy.

As part of the passive observation, I documented the store layout, the level of activity (slow or busy) throughout the day, and observed customers as they waited for service, and interacted with store employees. Employees explained their duties, showed me how to update inventory and stock accessories, walked me through key customer experiences, and let us sit in on pre-shift team meetings.

During the interviews, I had employees diagram the management hierarchy, answer pointed questions, and play word-association when given company-related cues (i.e. enterprise software systems, Timesheets, Employees from Headquarters, etc.). Questions varied slightly for Managers versus Employees to understand when they viewed things in the same ways, and how views departed across experience and responsibility levels.

What I Did

  • Set Research Objectives
  • Developed Discussion Guide
  • Conducted Interviews
  • Analyzed Findings
  • Used Storytelling to Highlight Challenges
  • Wrote Final Report
  • Presented Findings