5 Principles of Service Design

26 Jun 2019 - Holly Allison and Michael Turner

Where UX has traditionally focused on the front-end digital experience that a user or customer has with an organisation, service design looks at this as well as the back-end processes, people, tools and training needed to enable that front-end experience. It considers all touchpoints between the user and service, not just the online ones. At Orange Bus, we work towards the below principles to ensure that we are delivering the best outcomes for our clients. These principles have been inspired by IDEO and form the basis of our work within service design.

User centred: services should be experienced through the customer’s eyes.

To create a great product or service experience - we need to understand the people we’re designing for. Demographics alone can’t tell us what people’s habits, motivations and needs are. To understand what makes users tick, there’s no substitute for talking to them. Even surveys and quantitative data can only tell us so much. Qualitative research gives a richer and more detailed insight to work with.

Iterative: services should be continuously evaluated and improved.

Mistakes happen - but they should be learned from and services should be reviewed both early and often to ensure they are meeting user needs. It is highly unlikely that everything will be right first time, so be prepared to fail. Remember to learn from the failure and make improvements. Don’t fall victim to the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

Co-creative: all stakeholders should be included in the process.

At Orange Bus, we host lots of workshops and co-design studios with stakeholders, internal teams, end users and also with different teams within the company. For example, engaging both developers and researchers can highlight different perspectives, skill-sets and experiences. Doing this throughout the design process leads to a sense of co-ownership, increased buy-in and increased loyalty and long-term engagement.

Including everyone who touches the service - senior decision makers, delivery staff, customer support, sales and different types of end users ensures that everyone’s needs or goals are taken into account.

Visible: intangible services should be visualised in terms of the physical

For end users, understanding what goes on in the background can result in an increased appreciation of the service experience. For example, folded toilet rolls and a made-up bed to show that housekeeping have been. In-service experience evidencing could be: bills, mail, emails, brochures, signs and souvenirs.

Holistic: the entire environment of a service should be considered.

Consider the experience as a whole and every touchpoint between the service and the end user.

Touchpoints can be: social media, website, emails, letters, phone calls, customer service and support teams. How do they work together and how consistent is the experience across these touchpoints?

Service blueprints are a great way to visualise the end-to-end service and all of the connections and dependencies. These are similar to customer journey maps and include all details such as what the user is doing, thinking and feeling, but also maps out the back-end processes, teams and tools that are involved in delivering each moment in that journey.

Service blueprints also allow us to spot gaps and pain points, and identify opportunities to create internal efficiencies as well as moments of delight for customers.

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