By: Ben Reason, Lavrans Lovlie, Melvin Brand Flu

Like a lot of other books, Service Design for Business is mostly focused on customer experience and service design. But there is one major difference. This book is not for designers but for managers and business owners, as they will find how service design is capable of changing their life.

Technology can dehumanize and make things harder to navigate for customers and less flexible. Service design offers tools to domesticate and humanize technology.

Why Service Design?

As industrial and product design emerged with the development of mass manufacturing, service design responds to some important economic, social, and technical trends. These trends show why service design is a growing discipline and of growing interest to organizations. Service design offers a perspective, method, and toolset that allows organizations to understand business objectives and techniques to deal with internal and external challenges. There are basic concepts that form the service design approach like, design thinking, qualitative customer research, visualization. The service design approach emphasizes complementing quantitative research with qualitative methods. It allows teams to merge a strong subjective understanding of the human experience with predictable patterns that apply to most customers.

Foundations

Understanding signals through services is critical to any organization that wants to reach customer-oriented goals like attracting, acquiring, and keeping customers. The language used in service design refers to the movement to some extent, like customer journeys. This recognizes that there is a time-based dynamic to a service. Service design helps to understand and design for this movement and make it smoother, more successful, and eventually enable customers to achieve their goals. The framework of a service includes the channels employed, the business architecture, and the organizational structure that delivers the service. Service design offers tools to understand and guide human and organizational behavior. This enables delivering experiences that result in customer satisfaction.

The Customer Story

Customer stories and their experiences are impacted by their services, whether it is a hospital visit or a flight to some destination. Understanding customer stories also helps service providers to think about what story they want customers to tell about their experience with the organization. First, service design offers an approach to understand and capture customers’ stories in ways that make their experience easier to understand. Second, service design methods enable organizations to develop new stories about how they can provide better services. But there is the challenge of customer experience excellence and how to approach it. There are also irritations and failures for customers which have impacts on stakeholders and the service itself. These irritations can be identified through staff, ex-customers, and direct observations. If you map irritations to the customer lifecycle, it will provide structure to your insights, prioritize fixes, and relate them to root causes.

Single irritations can seem small and immaterial. Businesses that successfully address irritations take an incremental gains philosophy that sees each irritation as perhaps 1 percent of the problem so that 20 resolved irritations can be seen as a significant 20 percent improvement.

Business Impact

Thinking about business impact as being highly dependent on successful interactions with customers provides a new view to approach one’s challenges or work harder for the goals. Service design provides an approach for understanding the business needs. It begins outside the business, in the markets, businesses, or in the lives of customers. This approach offers a new perspective on the challenges one faces and new tools to address them. Business concepts offer tools to find pain points, look at parallel models in different sectors, and using scenarios and storytelling, it helps to validate new concepts. It helps on becoming more digital, achieving high customer performance, and successfully launching new products or services. Business concepts enable organizations to have a clear understanding of their purpose and the way they do business. A service design approach ensures that digital initiatives achieve two things: value to customers by reducing waste and complexity, and quicker, easier, and more direct interactions between customers and services.

Organizational Challenge

There are four aspects of the organizational challenge that we face in changing services. It includes fostering internal alignment and collaboration, delivering better staff engagement and participation, building a customer-centric organization, and building a more agile organization. Developing an agile, customer-centric organization can lead to engaging staff and aligning disparate functions in service of a common intention. Businesses that bring cross-functional teams together to focus on how they each support the creation of customer value build a different kind of organizational strength. A service design approach has proven to be a powerful tool to define a customer-centric vision and turn it into a concrete reality for staff and customers. Employing the customer needs model and identifying needs for information, interaction, and transactions allowed the team to develop a strategy to move forward.

Tools

Businesses have to design their operations to deliver to lots of customers. To do this they standardize and create processes and operations that enable delivery for many customers. A core tool to counter this effect is the customer profile. 

Customer profiles allow insights into the customer experience to be shared with a wider team or whole organization. Insight into customers, their needs, experiences, behaviors, and motivations, is key to all service design. 

Customer journeys are used to describe the experience from the customer’s point of view, which shows how important it is to understand that experience. 

A cross-channel view used simultaneously with a customer journey is a powerful and highly visual tool for ensuring this holistic and strategic view.

 An organizational impact analysis is an essential part of how service design moved concepts into the organization and navigated the challenges of changing the machinery of the business.

Have a remote coffee with us to help you redesigning your service for a better experience, not only for the customers but also for everyone backstage of your organization!

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Ela is in the marketing team of Flexiana. After finishing her studies, she got involved with multinational companies. She loves being a remote player as she loves travelling and backpacking.