Improving service design capability at Leeds Building Society

Leeds Building Society

a laptop open with a colourful diagram on

LBS recognised that good service design was essential in developing effective, customer-centred services for its members

We worked with Leeds Building Society to build their in-house capability and better define the service design discipline

Leeds Building Society (LBS) is a building society based in Leeds. It serves over 700,000 customers across the United Kingdom and operates as a mutual which is owned by its members. This differs to a bank as it reinvests its profit into the business for the benefit of current and future members, bringing savers and borrowers together to create a mutually beneficial relationship.

LBS recognised that good service design was essential in developing effective, customer-centred services for its members and wanted to invest in their service design function. They asked the strategy and design teams at dxw to work with them to build their in-house capability and better define the discipline within the building society. 

Impactful change and a plan for the future

During our time with the team at LBS, we identified and explored different approaches to service design and recommended a set of conditions for success to support their specific aims at the society. We also suggested a new service design approach based on their ambitions which effectively built on current ways of working.

We spent time coaching and developing the service designers and helped the team think about the impact and value they want to bring to their products and services. Developing the workforce in this way and providing internal opportunities for growth, helped to validate the need for service design capability at LBS and supported a business case to expand the team to work more widely across the organisation.

How coaching has helped the team

Our Strategy Principal and Service Design Lead spent time with the LBS team over a couple of months and worked collaboratively to shape the approach based on the goals and challenges they had identified.

We provided 121 and group coaching sessions for the team to share experience and expertise, and support them to explore their own thinking and apply their learning in practice. As part of this, we looked back at previous projects and identified what, if anything, they would do differently.

After spending time coaching and observing the team, we were able to share observations about the current maturity of service design at LBS and the strengths and barriers to embedding the function further within the society.

Working together, we helped them clearly define what good service design could look like for LBS and what was needed to get there. We iterated the existing skills matrix, which now includes skills related to communication, sensemaking and collaboration, as well as areas specific to working at LBS. We’ve since used the matrix to help each designer think about their practice and define achievable goals for the next year.

Next steps

We’re continuing to work with Leeds Building Society and are now looking at how we can test new ways of multidisciplinary working on a specific project.

Building on our initial recommendations, we’re also continuing to work with them to develop a playbook for their discipline, so they can more easily communicate about their practice to other areas of the business and provide support and guidance for others as they grow the team.