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Service Design & Service Blueprint

Eine Wand mit Post-Its zur Ideensammlung

Service design is an extension of classic user experience design. While in UX design we focus on a specific product, in service design we consider the design of a complete customer journey to develop and optimize services – for example, the process of visiting a restaurant or using public transportation.

The value of service design lies in taking a holistic view of the needs and motivations of customers and other stakeholders, understanding them precisely, and developing an enjoyable and effective service.

The 5 Stages of Service Design:

  1. Research
  2. Ideation
  3. Prototyping
  4. Implementation
  5. Evaluation

Sound familiar? That’s right – it’s basically the Design Thinking method, tailored to the specific needs of designing a service.

The Service Design Toolbox:

  • Personas for visualizing users
  • Interviewing users based on an Interview Guide
  • Identifying Moments that Matter during the service
  • Clearly understanding users with an Empathy Map
  • Considering all the relationships with a Stakeholders Map
  • Creating relevant stories with User-Scenarios and -Flows

This data about customers and their actions provides the basis for service design, and we visualize it for easier analysis and comprehension using the following methods:

  • The Customer Journey describes all customer interactions with a service, including their satisfaction and all touchpoints
  • The Service Blueprint extends the Customer Journey and focuses on the alignment of visible and invisible processes on the side of the service provider
  • The Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas are tools to develop the business strategy behind the service

What is the Service Blueprint?

A Service Blueprint is an extended visual representation of the customer’s journey through a service, from the first contact with the service to the end result, and all actions and processes of the service provider. To use the restaurant example, from the thought of getting something to eat to ordering, consuming, and paying for the meal, including all the actions and processes of the restaurant and its employees.

The main difference compared to a simple customer journey map is that the Blueprint focuses on the activities of the service provider, both visible and invisible to the customer. In this way, all elements that make up a service can be documented – from touchpoints and people, to technology, physical artifacts, places, communication, resources, and support processes.

Ein Mann, der in ein Restaurant geht und etwas bestellt

How is the Service Blueprint structured?

The main components are the Customer Journey, the Service Provider Journey and the Support Processes. Their respective actions and thoughts are divided into three categories: pre-, during and post-use of the service.

  • The Customer Journey contains all actions of the customer during the service.
  • Front-of-House is the part of the service with which the customer interacts. This includes all physical spaces, such as a store or website, service staff, an app, or customer service.
  • Back-of-House is the part of the service that is invisible to customers, that is, with which they do not interact directly. This includes all the processes that make Front-of-House possible, such as logistics and marketing.

In a service blueprint, the various actions of all three areas are connected via lines of visibility or lines of external communication to represent interrelated processes. In addition, the required artifacts (physical objects, digital interfaces, print products), key moments, other stakeholders and emotional states can be visually mapped.

Service design & service blueprint process. With the 3 phases "Before", "During" and "After" and the 3 areas "Customer journey", "Front-of-House" and "Back-of-House"

With the help of a service blueprint, an existing service can be documented, examined and improved, or a completely new service can be developed. In both cases, we have found that working on a printed Blueprint together with Post-its helps us to stay flexible and open, and to collaboratively develop new ideas with our customers. Finally, the Service Blueprint is a living document that can and should be revised and updated regularly.

What’s the benefit of a Service Blueprint?

The added value of the Service Blueprint lies in its ability to visualize and understand the relationships between the customer’s journey and the service provider’s processes. This allows us to ensure that all touchpoints with the customer are consistent. By understanding the customer’s needs, goals and motivations, we find potential for improvement and innovation in the Service Blueprint, and allows us to analyze and sharpen existing service concepts.

It’s a relatively quick and simple process that can have a big impact if done correctly. In addition, a Service Blueprint is a valuable tool for communicating the service to various stakeholders and overcoming obstacles.

Want to create a lasting experience with your service?

  • Tag #Design Principles
  • Tag #UX Design
  • Tag #UX Process