Service design or how to design services

Service design or how to design services?

Service design has its roots in the 17th century, when a prominent economist Adam Smith started to talk about the distinction between products and services. Over the following centuries, the concept has grown significantly, and in the 21st century. No one is surprised that a lot of attention is paid to this. Let’s see how service design looks like in practice.

The principles of service design

Before you start designing your services you should know what rules are involved. The effectiveness of the activities performed depends on them. The main principle connected with service design is user orientation. His needs, expectations and experiences are crucial here, so you need to get to know the target group as well as possible and look at it not only through the prism of dry demographic data, but definitely more broadly, remembering that his experience may be affected by all the senses.

The second important principle that should be followed while designing services is their co-creation i.e. allowing all interested parties to design services. We do not have here a dictator in the form of a service provider, but an attentive listener who steps down from his pedestal of omniscience and listens to the voices of customers. Thanks to them you can discover areas worth improving and important from the customer’s point of view.

It is also worth remembering about the holistic and interdisciplinary approach to design. You cannot focus only on one aspect related to the service, but on all points of contact between the service provider and the customer that will have an impact on the overall impression. Some customer experiences, even those seemingly unrelated to the service, can have an impact on their satisfaction with the contact with the company.

Service design stages

Now that we know what principles should be followed in service design, it is time to get to know the stages of this process. Each of them results from the previous one and cannot be omitted if we want to achieve a satisfactory effect. The first stage is discovery, which aims to identify the subject, needs, expectations and problems that may arise. It is an introduction to the second stage, that is defining the design task, which will be solved during further stages of service design work. The next three stages will involve coming up with solutions and exploring new ideas, followed by prototyping. The last and final stage will be testing the selected prototype to see if such a solution makes sense, and then evaluating it, i.e. assessing the effects achieved.

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