Service organizations are increasingly managing customer experiences to promote differentiation and customer loyalty. This article examines the design of experience-centric services, particularly the design of their context. Drawing on relevant literature in service and experience design, the authors develop a theory-based set of propositions for experience design.The propositions are then investigated empirically by means of 17 case studies of design agencies, consulting firms, and experience-centric service providers in different industries. Strong support was found for the designing of “customer journeys” and “touchpoints,” for sensory design, and for the designing of a dramatic structure of events. In addition, the engagement of employees, the management of fellow customers, and the close coupling of backstage employees and frontstage activities represent promising new frontiers in experience design. By identifying the current design practices of leaders in experience design, this study both informs this practice and presents a unique perspective on the design of service delivery systems.
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