Jun 25 An Overview of Service Design

Why is it that you choose to walk into one coffee shop over another, even if their location, products, and pricing are comparable? Or why you choose a specific grocery store over many other choices when they have mostly the same items? I would expect it has a lot to do with the intangible attributes and feelings you associate with the experience that ultimately forms your decision. The idea of creating inviting experiences that are tailored to customers’ needs and wants is why the discipline of service design is rapidly gaining popularity.

Service design is an interdisciplinary field that spans across multiple domains. It focuses on how organizations interact with their customers at all touchpoints and uncovers what the customer is thinking and feeling at each interaction point.

Unlike traditional marketing and sales, service design is built on empathy. By putting the customers in the middle of these interactions and touchpoints, organizations can craft services that truly meet the needs and desires of individuals. Empathy is a foundational principle of service design and human-centered design thinking as a whole.

As technology continues to improve and become more sophisticated, organizations can find new and unique ways to deliver individualized experiences to consumers on a large scale. Although this approach of mass marketing has traditionally been associated with a one-size-fits-all approach. The combination of holistic, human-centered service design with more innovative and useable technology allows organizations to personalize experiences for customers.

As an integrated strategy and service design consulting firm, Rêve Consulting uses these principles in helping clients rethink and re-engineer their services. The best way for clients to start thinking about their touchpoints with customers is by completing a ‘customer journey map’.

A customer journey map is segmented by the stages a customer goes through when interacting with a specific brand. Usually, it begins with ‘awareness’ and ends with ‘purchase’ or ‘loyalty’. In each stage, a client considers how their customer is thinking and feeling, and also identifies the barriers the customer has to overcome within each stage. From these inputs, we discover opportunities where the brand can improve.

The common theme and most important word in all of this work is ‘customer’. This ‘customer journey map’ is just a tool to extract a customer’s point-of-view. There are many ways to glean these insights. For example, another way is to involve real customers in a voice-of-customer session.

Regardless, it is imperative to incorporate the customer’s needs and wants into the design of services in order to create a positive experience for the customer. The companies that win are the ones that use this human-centered and empathetic approach to creating engaging and impactful experiences. They are the coffee shops or grocery stores that win your business.