If you’ve been involved in user experience or researched some of its methods and best practices, then you’re probably well aware of Nielsen Norman Group. They’re a consulting agency best known for their research, reports and training highlighting what’s been proven to work in usability and showcasing examples of interfaces that utilize best practices and those that don’t.
As with most UX practitioners, they are making their way into the area of design thinking and have recently released the following video highlighting the key components of service blueprints, one of our favourite tools to use when designing great experiences, particularly in more complex service environments.
If you need to explain to a stakeholder group what a service blueprint is, this video might help. Adding to what NN/g is highligthing in the video, we’d also be sure to include ‘pain points’, ‘opportunities’ and even ‘platform’ or ‘system’ to ensure you can assess the efficiency of the service you’re delivering in a given environment.
On March 14 and 15, we had the opportunity to work with some really smart and passionate people in talking about service design and the role it plays in delivering a great customer experience.
With workshop attendees representing government, finance, post-secondary institutions, IT, small business and more, there was a whole lot of great discussion, ideation and sharing to go along with the curriculum and activities that covered the two-day session.
Held at the new Fairfield Marriott in Regina, the workshop covered topics such as the importance of customer experience, the impact on businesses and the common challenges why organizations are having such a hard time moving the needle. From there, we moved into strategy, business model development and innovation, design research and understanding the needs and the world of your customer. We discussed and created a business model canvas, customer journey maps, personas, service blueprints and even went through a very condensed design sprint.
I don’t know if it’s the prairie water or the promise of spring, but we were so energized by the highly engaged, insightful and quick learning participants of the workshop. There was lively and astute discussion about the importance of change management, gaining buy-in for service design and the challenges organizations face in implementing new features, products or services to improve the overall customer experience.
It was a great success, feedback was extremely positive and we are confident that there are consumers and stakeholders that will begin to realize better experiences with the organizations that were represented in the workshop.
If you’re familiar with service design in North America, you know that there are limited options for training and education in this space.
There are some excellent events offered in San Francisco, some formal education provided by SCAD in Atlanta – but there really isn’t a hands-on workshop style offering that quickly gets you up and running with service design. This is certainly the case when it comes to service design in Canada.
We are happy to announce that Tesani will be regularly offering a two-day service design workshop in different locations throughout Canada. In this hands-on workshop, we will not only be sharing concepts and strategies related to service design, but we will also be actively learning and doing many of the key of the methods and tools utilized within he practice. This includes concepts such as journey maps, service blueprints, empathy mapping, personas, design research, design sprints, business model canvas development and more. Our intent is to allow participants to walk away from the workshop with the ability to start applying service design in their professional role the following day.
Our first event is scheduled for March in Regina, Saskatchewan. From there, we are currently planning events in Vancouver and Montreal.
Visit our Workshops page to learn more and to subscribe by email to receive updates about announcements for upcoming workshops.
We’re really excited to share our knowledge and experience with service design with those who can apply it in their work and we look forward to meeting champions of great experiences from all across the country.
You know those brands.
Those that are the envy of their category. Those that have grown to an iconic or near cult-like status. Businesses that have created a rabid and loyal customer base. Brands that always seem to be able to launch the most successful offering, that deliver a seamless experience and that always leave their customers recommending them to friends or colleagues.
What’s most compelling is that these brands have multiple competitors offering the same options for customers and at the same price.
What sets them apart is Service Design.
Service Design is a multi-disciplinary practice and methodology that allows you to plan and provide valuable service experiences for your customers while ensuring you have the ability to effectively deliver those services in a sustainable way.
It makes certain that what your customers experience through your services sets you apart and that you have the systems, processes and capabilities to provide those services to realize positive business results.
In defining Service Design, Forrester Research states, “Like customer experience (CX), service design focuses on the design and implementation of interactions that happen across the entire customer journey. Service design also designs the behind-the-scenes activities that enable those experiences to be delivered as planned.” 
It’s what has helped build those iconic brands, including Nike, Starbucks, Disney and more. These are all companies that use Service Design.
It can be utilized for either an internal or an external user of services.
It looks at all interactions your customers experience across channels over the life of the service delivery – which is referred to as “front stage”. It also considers the internal elements impacted by the delivery of those experiences that the customer doesn’t see – referred to as “back stage”.
Front Stage = User experiences
Line of sight —————————————————————-
Back stage = Internal elements of service delivery
Service design is user-centred, meaning a critical component of the practice is discovery. Discovery of the needs of your customers, their pain points and opportunities to provide them value and the best experience possible. This includes tools such as stakeholder maps, personas, service safaris, customer journey mapping and more.
It’s also collaborative, both with the user of your services and across internal teams. This ensures more effective ideation and that ability to not only determine the right solutions to improve the experience but also to eliminate those ideas that won’t have the right impact or that can’t simply be delivered. Service Design is about designing with people and not just for them.
It relies heavily on evidencing, or the practice of visualizing ideas in terms of physical artifacts or prototypes that allow for testing with users and the ability to further define detailed requirements. This process alone can result in significant savings prior to unnecessary development.
Finally, it maps out current and future state experiences to identify areas of focus, allowing organizations a user-centred process to prioritize action and initiatives for further planning and execution, resulting in a clear strategic roadmap. Common tools include Service Blueprints or a Business Model Canvas.
Customer expectations are growing faster than most companies can meet. What’s important is that your business focus on what are the right experiences you can offer your customers and have a clear understanding what it will take to deliver them effectively.
This is where Service Design can help.
 Forrester Research, How Does Service Design Relate to CX?
If you provide a service using a number of different channels, you likely have developed a strategy for each of those touchpoints, whether it’s a mobile strategy, a social media strategy, a retail strategy, etc. The problem is that your customers don’t care about touchpoints. They care about your overall service experience and how it helps them make their lives better.
A stellar mobile app won’t create brand loyalty for the airline that offers a lousy service experience. Great selection in your store won’t be as valued if the purchase process is painful. The best approach to drive strategy is to start with the service experience. Make sure that the journey your customers experience when using your services is optimized from beginning to end, no matter the touchpoint they use.
The key is to plan and design the service experience and then create your channel strategies to support that experience so that each touchpoint makes the desired customer journey a reality. This way, you end up with a customer experience by design as opposed to one by default.
Service Design helps you identify the needs, pain points, opportunities and concepts to help you design the experiences your customers want. Gaining insights using tools like Journey Maps and planning end to end service experiences with Service Blueprints will allow you to identify how you can develop your various channels to add value to your customers and create advocates to build your brand and your business.