Lutron: Designing a New Customer Experience

Role: Service Designer / Time Frame: 2 Months
Group Members: Myself, Thuy-Vy Nguyen, Sewon Park, Erick Valencia Torres
Carnegie Mellon University

Final screen from prototype
Defining the Problem
In Spring of 2021 I worked with a team of Carnegie Mellon graduate students and a group of Lutron employees to propose a new service for the lighting company as a part of the Service Design course. This project spanned several months as our team explored the problem space and narrowed in on a solution around educating potential customers on ways that home automation could improve their lives.
Understanding the User
To get off the ground and find a need worth addressing for Lutron, our team conducted a series of interviews with a variety of users. We scripted loose protocols based around several main themes (automation, Lutron customer service, lighting needs in their home), and adapted them for each type of user we interviewed. Among the users we spoke to were Lutron certified installers, Lutron Caseta customers, realtors with smart home experience, and retail workers. While many of these interviews were conducted remotely over the phone and Zoom, I managed to conduct some street research (or guerilla research) to better understand customers’ thoughts during the point of sale in the retail environment.
Theater Masks
Guerilla Research
Lofi prototype page 3
During our in-store research we conducted competetive analyses against other offered lighting solutions
Myself and another team member surveyed employees and customers across several retail locations with Lutron displays, including Lowe’s and Home Depot. It was a fun challenge to meet people in their environment and pull on context to improvise questions that might be relevant. Speaking with on Home Depot employee, we found that many customers were pointed toward the less confusion ‘dumb dimmers’, which are not connected to the Lutron Caseta system. This bias against smart home devices as being too ‘out of reach’ for the average customer was a sentiment reflected across much of our research, and prompted us to develop a new service that addressed this issue.
Rapid Design
Lofi prototype page 3
Customer Journey Blueprint with a focus on the showroom
Our team mapped several possible service blueprints to address the customers’ lack of familiarity with the benefits of Smart Home devices. One thing we had found was that once customers brought Smart Home into their lives, they were delighted with the simplicity and benefits that followed. The challenge was to create a service which made that transition more palatable.

After several iterations we landed on the idea of promoting Smart Home through a joint collaboration with home furniture suppliers such as IKEA. As many people are going to these places during a home renovation period, we felt it would be most appropriate to introduce the possibility of Smart Home at this juncture. When Lutron approved of the idea in an initial pitch meeting, we moved forward with finalizing the concept for a formal pitch at the end of the semester.
Creating a Service Pitch
One element of our service pitch was a short video detailing how our service would work in the real world. I filmed the video on-site at an IKEA and used Premiere Pro in editing. Our goal was to sell the service from the customer’s perspective, showing how our service addresses the common concerns people have over Smart Home integration from a human-centric approach.

We debuted our video and pitched our solution to Lutron, who were highly receptive to the idea and appreciated that we focused on finding a practical service solution to a real problem. It was affirming that in their own research they too had found many customers who were skeptical in taking the leap to Smart Home, but grateful once they had done so. Here is the video in full:
Created by Brady Baldwin, 2021