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Service design is a process in which the designer focuses on creating optimal service experiences. Service design often involves the use of customer journey maps, which tell the story of different customers’ interactions with a brand, thus offering deep insights. Marc Stickdorn and.
Table of contents

The service design blueprint clearly articulates the interactions between each part of the process. Then in , Prof. He would go on to form an international conglomerate of universities that provided service design education and a network for academics and professionals involved in the discipline. While these definitions have evolved a little over the years — they remain the core ethos of service design and what service designers should do in their work.

The tools for analysis can involve social studies, ethnographic studies, anthropology, etc. Design tools are used to create the blueprint of the service and the nature and characteristics of the interactions that fall within it. These tools include but are not limited to development of service scenarios and use cases.

Apple: They are one of the largest organizations in this country yet manage to give personal service and respond to a customer query within the hour. Raquel emailed me back as quickly as she had the first time, responding to my compliment:. Nothing makes Apple happier than to hear that we have pleased our customers.


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I wish you the best and hope you continue to be a valued member of the Apple family. We want you to be completely satisfied with your iTunes experience. Note the way the email is worded above. I am not an iTunes customer. She states I am a valuable part of the Apple iTunes Family. Now, I do realize much of the communications we have with corporations involve a lot of superfluous hyperbole.

But, sometimes even the slightest change of words can truly change the way we feel as a customer even if it is a little exaggerated. In this case, I actually felt special. Raquel made me feel valued and special and as though I were not talking to a machine or mindless drone. They have placed the customer first and make a special effort to personalize the service you receive. It only takes a small amount of time and effort to personalize a service — to treat a human like a human and not a dollar sign. But, this small effort can make all the difference. I used to work as a bartender and server.

Tips for How to Prototype a Service

I spent a lot of years working through college at various restaurants and prided myself in good service. One day, a manager admonished me for what he believed was the mindless overuse of paper goods. If the customer was eating something messy, I would drop off extra napkins. The manager instructed me to wait until the customer asked for extra napkins in order to keep our paper costs down.

To me, that is the equivalent of serving someone hot wings and waiting until they ask you to refill their drinks. You refill their drinks and even double them up on drinks in such instances. Organizational policy concerning the use of paper goods, dictated a poor experience for the customer. One small decision like this can cascade through the entire experience when profits takes precedence over the customer. One of the primary tenants of good service design is to ensure a customer has what they need before they have to ask.

Even better: Give them what they need before they even know they need it. In our automated world today, it is very easy to set up systems within organizations to support following up with a customer or user. Consider a patient who is released from a hospital stay with a no medical protocol they must follow. Or, consider someone who just made a major purchase such as a car or a house. The follow-up call allows your business to ensure everything is going smoothly and to answer any questions the customer might have while also managing any problems they may be having in the early stages.

There is a difference between truly caring for your customer and shamelessly seeking another star in a ratings engine. I have written quite a bit about waiting and the psychology of waiting — specifically as it relates to interfaces. You wait in line at a store where there are 30 checkout lanes and only two cashiers working registers. These are all crimes against good service design. There is nothing worse than the PR bullshit surrounding your call is important to us. But, when I have to wait excessively or routinely, I begin avoiding that business.

It is especially annoying when a business attempts to assure you that you are important to them when it is obvious decreasing labor costs is more important than your excessive wait. There are ways to mitigate wait times and different methods to leverage human psychology in relation to our perception of time. If you are going to pursue service design, there is probably no greater place you could begin than by evaluating how long customers wait for a given service. Suppose you go to a restaurant and the hostess is rude to you on top of a 45 minute wait before you are even seated.

Once you are seated, you wait another 10 minutes before a server comes by for your drink order. But, suppose the meal is the best you have ever had and after dinner, a special cake is brought out to celebrate your wedding anniversary — a total surprise to you. This is known as the Peak-end Rule in memory where we remember the peak and ending of an experience in greater detail.

Ideally, both the beginning and the ending of an experience will be carefully designed. The beginning of an experience can flavor everything that comes after. Service Design is not just a logical and analytical approach towards improvement of a service but also a creative and innovative approach of doing things to set a product or service apart. The Service Design process consists of intensive research and surveys as well as creative and visual content like storyboards, role plays and personas.

General Principles of Service Design

Thus, Service Design is a science as well as an art. Service Design ensures that the service actually gets used by users in the intended way and creates positive experiences, thus minimizing the need for costly and lengthy customer services. Engaging in a service design process benefits an organization in several ways:.

With availability of a wide range of service options, customers can switch services and brands very easily and thus are spoilt for choice. So enterprises have to look for ways to make their service or product distinct from their competition. Service design allows businesses to understand what customers are looking for and expecting from a service. They can then make their offerings adaptable and better suited to those needs.

Service Design — Practical Service Design

The service design approach allows enterprises to strengthen their brand. The service design process helps service managers to progress from the known to the unknown. It consists of the basic and yet critical evaluation of how the new envisaged product or service fits into the overall image and objectives of the company. Thus, the process helps an organization to stay true to its image and reaffirm its brand and stop it from steering away from its core values and objectives while offering a new service. Service design puts a brand to work, unlock its hidden potentials, and create and deliver value to the customers.

Creative and imaginative steps involved in the service design process help firms improving the efficiency of their employees and procedures. It helps in elimination of wastage and allows team members to pinpoint areas where there is a resource drain or a bottleneck. Service design blueprints help businesses locate problematic areas and potential failure points and rectify them before hand. Engaging teams in the service design procedure allows them to envision the bigger picture and situate their role in it.

What’s Service Design? And Why Does it Matter?

It helps them understand why change and innovation is necessary in what they are offering and how they are offering it. It helps managers pinpoint where services might be converging or overlapping and it can help them straighten them out before hand.


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This way inconsistencies and ambiguities can be discovered within the process on and can be rectified. This process can be a fairly simple and straightforward one or a complex one with several converging and diverging points. Breaking down the entire process into steps, tracing and retracing your step backwards and forwards and around different areas of the service ensures that even the minutest details are covered, steps are thought through, problems are identified and rectified, promises are set, service is delivered, and expectations are met.