A week ago I’ve had the pleasure to guide a group of entrepreneurs towards a new service with the help of Service Design Thinking. Service Design Thinking is a very creative but systematic way to think from the point of view of the customer. Starting with who is the customer? Not only kind of customer but actual keeping a customer in mind. We keept a family in mind. I can not write exactly what kind of service we have designed but I can write something about the process of Service Design. Starting with the comment “I am not an expert in Service Design”
Principle 1 keeping the customer in mind (user centred)
Give the customer a name, a hobby, friends and family. Make a Persona out of him or her or them. Using customer journey maps provides a visualisation of a service user’s experience. The touch points (points where users interact with the service) are used to construct a journey based upon the experiences of the customer. A customer journey is often visualised in a timeline. If you want a more storytelling kind of visualisation a contextual interview could be the technique to observe and probe the behaviour of the customer.
Principle 2 It must be co-creative.
All stakeholders must be involved in exploring and defining the service proposition. All of the people involved must speak a common language and must be creative. (Not as easy as it sounds like). The first step in this principle is revealing subconscious stakeholder motivations. I used the 5 why’s as a way to analyse the motivations. The next step is Idea Generation. Structured by brainstorming sessions all stakeholders share their ideas with the group. Design scenarios gave us hypothetical stories which were the base of a very creative process with the all group.
Principle 3 It is sequencing.
A service timeline is crucial to consider since the rhythm of a service influences the mood of the customer. If a part of the customer journey takes to long (remember you are looking through the eyes of the customer) he can get bored and abandon the journey. A superior service should keep a sense of expectations (without getting to exitend) Keep the customer interested. This part was rather difficult because in the creative process we had our minds went from one point to the other. A person who takes care of structuring the process from the outside is very important.
Principle 4 It is evidencing
Perhaps the evidence of a service is not always visible, but customer do take the memory of the service home with them, like a physical souvenir it sticks in their memory and stays there. But service can made visible, such as the folded toilet paper representative of housekeeping in hotels. Service evidence follows the service inherent story and its touchpoint sequence. Give it a storyline like in a movie and the customer will notice and appreciate. Our story started with Once upon a time there was a…. and ended with and he went happily home remembering all the fun he had.
Principle 5 It is holistic
The final principle is the holistic part of the design. Subconsciously the customer uses all his senses to experience an environment. Hearing something or just the immense silence, the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning, the smile of the person behind the counter etc etc. All of these things determine our memories of a certain journey.
I really enjoyed this journey. And I know perhaps it wasn’t perfect but I think the entrepreneurs who were part of the group experienced the Service Design Principles and have had a good experience just like. Service Design Thinking offers tools which companies can use to improve or innovate their services in a very creative manner.