Design is an amalgamation of several things as it draws inspiration from varied fields and areas. In today’s day and age, apart from emotions, intelligence and aesthetics, technology too plays a vital role. Service design is one such modern-day design influenced by marketing, project management and user experience to enhance services. Let us see what service design is and its principles in detail.
The term ‘Service Design’ originated in the year 1991 as a design discipline by Professors Michael Erlhoff and Brigit Mager at Köln International School of Design. Service design is an evolving field with no strict definition. However, in practice, service design can be defined as – ‘The process in which the designer focuses on creating optimal service experiences.’
It can thus be said that service design is a customer-first design that takes into account the needs of the customer, so that the design is user-friendly, competitive in the market, as well as, relevant to the customer.
For example, imagine a Food Delivery App where the primary idea is to connect the restaurant to the client (the one ordering food). Here, there are a host of employees ranging from the delivery agent, head of the delivery app, manager of the restaurant, and waiter. Service design focuses on how the Food Delivery App connects to the restaurant and delivers it to the customer on time. This includes placing the order to the restaurant on behalf of the customer, to onboarding new delivery agents, communication between the delivery agent and the restaurant manager, as well as, manager and the waiter. Each segment plays an important role in the food that is delivered to the customer, even though it is not directly a part of the customer experience.
You can map service design using a service blueprint. Service blueprint helps to visualise processes to optimise how a business delivers the user experience.
We’ve covered the definition of service design, let us now move on to understanding the practical application of the design and its principles. We’ll also see, what it is that differentiates service design from UX.
‘This is Service Design Thinking’, by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider, is one of the foremost books outlining the five basic principles that dominate service design.
Now, that we’ve seen what service design is and its principles. Let us move on to finding the right tools to map your customer journey. That being said, service design is still in its nascent stages, and it may take a while to discover specific tools. Nevertheless, the good news is that several UX and marketing tools overlap with service design.
Here are our top 3 picks of the tools you can use:
A customer journey map helps you visualise andplot the best and worst parts of a customer’s experiences. The idea is to put the customer’s perspective to paper right from the time they came to your service, to the point where they’ve decided to use your service and reach the end goal.
For example, you have an e-commerce website, and the journey in simple can be divided into – customer browsing your website, adding products to the cart, either abandoning them or purchasing them.
‘This is Service Design Thinking’ offer a customer journey canvas for you in your design service. In fact, you can collaborate with your stakeholders and customers to ensure your map is co-creative. This is free and available in 7 different languages viz. English, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Polish, German, and French.
Smaply is a popular web-based software tool that enables you to visualise Personas, Customer Journey Maps, and Stakeholder Maps. With smaply, you can digitise, customise, share, comment, standardise and present your results with the team in an easy and quick manner.
This is a freemium tool i.e. you can sign up and test it for free for a period of 14 days and later if you like, you can upgrade to a paid version!
Experiencefellow is a tool that uses mobile ethnography to research and collect customer experiences in a digital environment. Ethnography is essentially observing your customers in their natural environment to gain better insights into their overall experience.
With experiencefellow, this research is digitised as it enables customers to document their experiences with a simple smartphone app. As a business, you can then view and analyse your customers’ journey based on the data provided by them on your browser.
Even though service design is in a developing phase, there are several tools out there in the market to help businesses cater to their customers better by understanding their journey. Service design is thus, not just for designers but for anyone who wishes to integrate services for a more powerful and effective approach to drive businesses, as it focuses on how customer touchpoints are connected in their journey. In a nutshell, service design aims to understand and visualise the user and their experience to improve the service experience of the user.
On an endnote, you can even checkout, Service Design Toolkit and Service Design Tools Website to learn more about implementing service design.