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How to find and fix service design failure points

11th Sep 2020
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There's a hole in my bucket...

That kids’ song. My young sons used to love it. The comically-frustrating story of Henry, fixing a hole in his bucket.

Every problem he encounters is connected to another one further upstream. Until finally full-circle, he proves to “Dear Liza” and himself that change and improvement are futile.

CX service failure points can feel like this. Particularly in large, complex organisations.

Something’s broken – your customers clearly see the hole. But you also know there’s a chain of add-on chaos just waiting to steal your soul.  

You don’t have a resource for a complete rebuild. You don’t want to break anything else. And you don’t want to get traditional consultants in or you’ll be rebuilding the entire factory.

Using a human-centered design to fix identified service failure points

At Proto, we see businesses struggle to fix identified service failure points. We hear them complain they started something and it’s gone wrong - or they’ve not started yet because it’s too hard.

In Human-Centered Design (HCD) terms, a single service failure point has several elements:

  • There’s the immediate cause of the failure. Your employees can often speak to that.
  • There’s the immediate impact. Your customers are telling you what they don’t want – and (broadly) what they do.
  • There’s the associated causes, which is where the problem starts to get too big to contain. Too many teams and departments to align.
  • And the associated impacts, positive and negative.  (Because any service failure can deliver good things. By ignoring the last ‘stupid’ checkbox, intelligent employees can afford great CX today and bake-in a service failure point tomorrow).  


Fixing targeted service failure points is a skill. Misidentifying interrelationships can create
automatic failure. Sprint your actions and ‘Solve, Reloop, Relearn’ for no more holes in your bucket.

Fixing identified service failures without it being overwhelming

Motivating the right people is just one half of the task; ensuring that the overall CX improves, as a result, is the other half.

Proto partners have significant experience in the central co-ordination role:

  • We know your customer intimately by the time we start work. We won’t let you deviate from building value in everything you do. 
  • We identify the moving parts and people; we know exactly who needs to be in the room, in what capacity and in what order. 
  • We break down the actions into micro-activities to fit an overall project scope (short-term tune-up or long-term world domination).
  • We establish a results cadence for short sprints of activity to match scope – daily co-ordination with some teams, weekly with others.
  • Once we’ve got the service failures fixed, we loop your learnings. Your overall CX needs to lead market expectations and your competitors.  

Fixing targeted service failure points is a skill.

Misidentifying interrelationships can create automatic failure. Slicing the project wrongly can generate uproar. Tackling things ‘as a whole’ can fast-track you to paralysis.

But not fixing targeted service failure points is a wasted opportunity. And experiencing full-circle futility on a daily basis erodes the human spirit.

So appoint the right co-ordinator, step into your role and out of theirs, sprint your actions and ‘Solve, Reloop, Relearn’.

With Proto, you’ll get no more holes in the bucket.

Just a couple more reasons to sing.

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