I open this article with a bold title , and I hope that l can explain how I have come to this conclusion, and it comes from a variant of an advice I learned, that you should invest in marketing during a downturn. However, instead of investing in promotion and new products, my advice would be to look inwards and towards being more optimal in how you deliver and sell your services, manage your people and their skills, optimise your support processes and how to engage better with your users and customers.
First, I will very briefly explain what Service Design means. Service Design and UX (User Experience) Design are often mixed up however they are quite different in their approach. UX Design focuses on a product or specific service, how the user interacts and engages with that, and how it can be improved to be more efficient, engaging and fun for the user. For Service Design, we zoom out and look at the bigger picture and look at all the actors or factors which could have a touch point with that product or service, and beyond.
If we consider an airline as an analogy, where currently at everis we are working on a mobile application for an airline client to improve their user engagement with purchasing holidays. This is UX Design, where we looked at how the app works, how the user interacts with it, and with some empathy mapping we looked for opportunities to improve it. From a Service Design, approach we are looking at much more. We consider the user journey in its entirety, which takes in every touchpoint for the user and not just with the application. The user will search for flights online, download the airline app, make a purchase. Then Service Design continues with the user how when they arrive at the airport, go through security and duty free, then board their flight and land at their destination. Service Design will also look at the post-experience to follow up with the user. So it is an end-to-end look at the entire service the airline provides.
A Service Design exercise should encompass all areas of the business. To do this we dig deep into all aspects of the business with a focus on 3 main areas: They are:
- Front-stage (user touch-points)
- Back-stage (internal support (people + technology))
- Support Processes (technology)
The result of the work looking at these areas will be a Service Blueprint, like the example below. It helps to identify different focus points to improve on.
With this blueprint, you can focus your investments by looking internally in these 3 areas and start asking the right questions: Are we being as efficient as possible on all touch points for our users? Can we be more efficient in how we deliver our services to our users? And can we run our applications, infrastructure and support services to be more efficient? The answers may lie in customer support, optimised processes (RPA) or simply a CMS upgrade.
When we come through this downturn and look out the other side, we need to be stronger and more resilient to face these types of serious disruptions in the future, like COVID. We are rapidly changing how we work today, communicate and collaborate, and now we are working from home more often. This means we are learning how to communicate and collaborate differently internally and with our clients and customers. With all these changes, now is the time to reflect (quickly), look internally and examine how we as organisations can be more efficient, more effective and more enjoyable to work for.
In summary, I recommend to invest in Service Design in this current climate. Be a stronger version of your current self, in order to have a springboard to innovate further and beat the competition.
To learn more about Service Design, get in touch and our team will look at 6 key steps in an improvement journey
- Understand thoroughly the service proposition of the organisation or company in question
- Discern the needs of all the stakeholders and actors in a service - both customers and service providers
- Map out the service through a service ecology, service blueprint, and user journeys
- Co-create possible solutions or improvements by collaborating with service stakeholders
- Prototype and pilot new service experiences with real customers and staff
- Zoom in and out constantly between the details of individual touchpoints and the design of the overall service
To learn more get in touch, just pop me an email, and we can have a virtual coffee and a chat. You can find me details here.
Service design principles support the development of services which deliver high quality experiences to users and customers.