Service design brings people  out of the trenches
Article

Service design brings people out of the trenches

Denise Alonso
  • Denise Alonso
  • Studio Support
Take aways
  • Service design helps businesses get under the customer’s skin.
  • Customer experience mapping lowers the chances of rollout or adoption failures.
  • Service design breaks down silos as it encourages collaboration between teams.

Service design creates value for businesses in many ways. This approach helps you get under your customers’ skin and understand what they really value. It also extends the creative process by engaging stakeholders from as early as conceiving new ideas, and breaking down silos by encouraging collaboration between teams. Service designers also have tools to make abstract ideas tangible and easy to grasp, which facilitate productive discussions and foster wider engagement within an organisation.

Service design is not just about making services visually more appealing or easier to use. It transforms projects and businesses, enables stakeholders to collaborate and adds excitement to those who are involved.

A fresh perspective

Businesses across sectors are facing common challenges in understanding their customers and engaging with them across channels. Service design helps organisations look at these issues in a different light. Instead of reducing your customers into numbers or cases, a design tool of customer experience mapping helps you understand how humans would actually experience your service. These insights also come in as early as in the design and implementation stages, reducing the chances of failure during rollout or post-launch adoption.

Sustain the creative process

Consultants and external partners bring in knowledge and tools such as process maps, flowcharts and system diagrams, but these solutions must be embedded in the organisations in order to be effective. While creative workshops energise teams and create a more collaborative atmosphere, the impact often tapers off shortly after those sessions.

However, service design sustains the creative process and makes it more fluid and exploratory for the teams involved. A service blueprint, for instance, captures the insights drawn from stakeholders, users, customers and business partners.

Break silos

Siloed mentality and organisational structure limit the ability of a business to innovate, implement and develop products and services that are outside “the way we used to do things here”.

Service design helps unleash the experience, knowledge, expertise and insights possessed by different business teams. Designers have tools to help cross-functional teams perform at their best. Making early deliverables more tangible, for instance, engages more people in the creative process. Cartoon stories, paper mock-ups and hand sketches inform project teams in ways that wireframes and process flows do not. Such artefacts intrigue and engage the wider organisation, and facilitate more meaningful and productive discussions.

Two thirds of UK businesses believe that design is integral to future economic performance.

Designers create business value

Service design and other design tools are very effective in bringing teams to collaborate on new concepts and prototypes. Even in non-design environment, this approach creates business value by addressing internal misalignment and silo mentality that impact customers and the organisation itself everyday.