Human-centered design

You might be wondering "So, what is Service Design?"

As product and service designer, Shahrzad Samadzadeh, explains in her article on service design, "Service design originated from the combination of marketing, service operations, and user-centered design. It is the application of systems-thinking and design methods to address the needs that emerge from human systems (those that include users, employees, etc)."

Here are some key concepts of service design: 

Front stage & back stage: "Some parts of services are visible to the service user; these parts are called front stage. Some part of services are not visible to the service user; these parts are called back stage. As a general rule of thumb, it’s safe to assume that most services are shaped like icebergs, with an enormous amount of complexity back stage."

Actors: Humans and systems enact the service. They are the actors who are on stage.

Touchpoints & Channels: "Moments of interaction with a service happen via touchpoints. Mediums for the delivery of a service are called channels."

Cycles & Life Cycles: "A user’s service needs don’t disappear when the service is completed, they often reappear after a certain trigger; this cyclical nature of service needs is called a cycle. Users experience most services more than once over the course of their lives, and their experience with the service tends to change and develop; this is called a life cycle. As a general rule of thumb, the completion of a good service includes user-centered triggers to continue back into the beginning of the service."

Journeys: "Services unfold over time, which means that service users experience a service over time; this is called a journey. Journeys can span any length of time, from a single cycle to a life cycle. When mapping a journey, pick a scope and altitude that will be in service of your work."

What are we designing?

"Service design acts on a variety of objects, and can influence or create change at a variety of levels."

Some examples of how to read the chart provided in her article are listed below (for all examples, read the full article):

  • "If you’re designing a touchpoint (reading left to right): you’re primarily shaping a service encounter, creating change in a system of value exchange, and influencing societal practices."
  • "If you’re designing a service encounter (reading top to bottom): you’re primarily designing touchpoints and behaviors, while changing experiences and influencing at least one business." 
  • "If you’ve set out to explicitly design a system that exchanges value (reading top to bottom): you are designing behaviors, businesses, experiences, and likely at least one touchpoint."

Service design tools
So, you might be asking what type of tools do you use to design services? According to Ms. Samadzadeh, "All the tools of the trade in design are fair game. From modeling to workshops, service design does not reinvent the wheel."  One of the tools that is "quite specific to the practice of service design" is the Service Blueprint, which is "a kind of journey map that blows out, in detail, both the front stage and back stage of a service. It is a deep dive into a tightly scoped area."  And remember that since services are shaped like icebergs (and you usually only see the tip) "do not think you can blueprint the entirety of a service."  

To this question, "Why bother with service design?" Ms. Samadzadeh aptly replies with the following answers:

  1. "Because service design encompasses product-centric thinking, it can consider and deliver on all types of value exchange; it can meet a breadth of human needs — not just user and/or business needs."
  2. "Most importantly, service design provides a conceptual framework for tackling baffling open-ended problems that have implications across encounters, systems, and societal practices."

This is just a quick overview of Shahrzad Samadzadeh's excellent post on Service Design.  Please see the entirety of her article, to get the rest of the story!

Source: “So, like, what is service design?” by Shahrzad Samadzadeh | Medium.com


 

Service Design Basics - Part 2

Erik Flowers does an excellent job on his Practical Service Design blog post Demystifying Service Design Part 1 and Part 2 of clearly explaining the core principals of Service Design.  Part 2 continues dissecting the key elements of the Service Design concept by providing a real-life, easily understood example of the application of the process.

He uses this example:

A trip to the amusement park to ride the new SuperCoaster 5000 rollercoaster. 

To stress the importance of recognizing the inner workings of the process he breaks down each step of a customers experience on the way to achieving his/her goal of riding the SuperCoaster 5000:

  • Trip to amusement park to ride new rollercoaster.
  • Packed parking lot.
  • From one maze to another, you get in line at the front gates.
  • Gate attendant to scan ticket.
  • SuperCoaster 5000 awaits, past the other rides, the various park staff, kiosks, garbage cans, gift shops, churro stands, and the rest of the guests making their way towards that ultimate goal.
  • Finally, your turn arrives! You move into your stall like a rodeo bronco getting ready to be released. You get in and the restraints clamp down, and it's time. 
  • Zipping through the air, the coaster races down the tracks. 
  • After a few more rides, and what seems like miles of walking, you make a stop and partake of the park's fine cuisine. It's all worth it. 
  • "The memory of the experience. The entire park served the purpose of providing them not a $10 photograph in a cheap cardboard frame, but providing them with a memory that they can keep forever."
"As you read the story, were you taking note of all the touchpoints? The channels? The actors? What may be going on backstage and behind the scenes? If the story was successful, you probably weren’t." Erik Flowers

"As you read the story, were you taking note of all the touchpoints? The channels? The actors? What may be going on backstage and behind the scenes? If the story was successful, you probably weren’t." Erik Flowers

"The SuperCoaster 5000 doesn’t exist in a vacuum, though. It’s a part of the whole park, and all the other different types of touchpoints and channels that exist in the park ecosystem."

"The SuperCoaster 5000 doesn’t exist in a vacuum, though. It’s a part of the whole park, and all the other different types of touchpoints and channels that exist in the park ecosystem."

Touchpoints park (blog).jpg

"What is important to recognize is that the customers are the ones who piece together their experience through the ecosystem. We set up as much as we can, but in the end, if we truly hope to offer more than just a one dimensional product, we have to account for the freedom of customers to do and feel what they want."

Erik Flowers

He sums it up by giving us some key points to remember:

  • “We can’t design an experience, we design for an experience.”

  • Customers design their experience each and every time. We only set the stage in service of the customer’s journey.

  • How you serve is who you are.

  • The way in which you serve is what defines you. This is the fundamental guiding principle of service design.

  • By defining and refining how we serve our external customers and internal actors, we can create more powerful and effective ways to serve both.

Service Design Basics - Part 1

Erik Flowers does an excellent job on his Practical Service Design blog post Demystifying Service Design Part 1 and Part 2 of clearly explaining the core principals of Service Design

"The customer benefit is what all parties should be trying to enhance. From a service designer’s point of view, this could mean:"

Erik Flowers

"This next benefit is where UX and design often is lacking: organization benefit. Most of the time, UX doesn’t really work on this."

Erik Flowers

DF (Blog2).JPG

"This being the case, service design makes another promise. It’s not only here to design your services. It is here to help you design for service; the way in which you are going to serve. This focuses on how the organization is going to ensure the successful delivery of service to the customer."

Erik Flowers

He stresses the fact that service is not simply a straight line between product and customer but a spectrum of options in between.

Classic service model

"Maybe you specialize and offer different types of hammers to serve more specific tasks. Maybe you rent hammers. Maybe you have your hammers up in the cloud (HAAS: hammering as a service). Or, maybe you have professional hammering advisors who will tell you exactly how to hammer, but not do it for you."

Erik Flowers

Another core principle is what he refers to as "Stage Theory."

"The backstage is of the utmost importance for a very simple reason: it’s not visible,  but it is felt.  Felt in huge ways. The front stage is a product of, and constrained by, the health and effectiveness of the backstage." Erik Flowers

"The backstage is of the utmost importance for a very simple reason: it’s not visible, but it is felt. Felt in huge ways. The front stage is a product of, and constrained by, the health and effectiveness of the backstage." Erik Flowers

The final core principle he refers to is called "Behind the Scenes."

"This is crucial to understand in service design stage theory. What we can and can’t do is dictated by our behind the scenes. And yet, rarely does anyone apply any design thinking to it." Erik Flowers

"This is crucial to understand in service design stage theory. What we can and can’t do is dictated by our behind the scenes. And yet, rarely does anyone apply any design thinking to it." Erik Flowers

How you serve is who you are.
— Erik Flowers

Part 2 is summarized on the blog post Demystifying Service Design (cont.)