Service Design: An Internal IT Department’s “Recipe for Success”

Posted on February 13, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

What is service design?

Did you know a series of unique interactions make up the overall customer experience? And that one single negative interaction in the customer journey can adversely impact the whole experience?

Organizations that want to provide customer experiences devoid of negative interactions, but increase revenue, customer loyalty and retention while lowering cost, need to embrace service design. Internal IT departments have a two-fold reason to embrace service design – they deliver products and perform a service.

Service design is the “planning and organizing of people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers”1.

Elements of service design include:

  • Discovery, mapping and design of the customer touch points and interactions with a product and/or service
    • Both “human to human” and “human to machine”
      • Requirements analysis
        • What we think they need, and what they think they need, may not be what they need
      • Define personas
        • Who are the various users and what are their motivations and goals?
      • Plot the customer experience journey
        • Activity, problem and interaction scenarios
      • Define best technology for the customer and purpose
      • Define best customer service and support for the customer and purpose
    • Ensuring each touch point has value
      • More business value for less cost
    • Ensuring the design will meet organizational as well as customer goals
    • Continuous improvement

Customer touch points and interactions = customer journey

You have probably heard of customer experience design (CX) but how does CX differ from service design?  Unlike CX and UX (user experience), service design also covers “the behind-the-scenes activities that enable those experiences to be delivered as planned”1. See diagram below, more on this here.

Service design overlap

Service design plans, documents and implements the best way for all the external and internal puzzle pieces to fit together. It designs “interactions that span time and multiple touchpoints”.2 Service architecture includes:

  • Stakeholders – Who are the customers and which human entities do they touch? I.e. delivery person, sales person, customer service
  • Processes – Steps the customer and other stakeholders (and indirect stakeholders such as suppliers) take to complete tasks and deliver services
  • Product and service components – what is and should be delivered? Information, education, warranties, results, contracts, tools, goods, etc.
  • Touch points – In person, over the phone, via technology…with context
  • Business rules – Business practices which define the actual implementation (business logic)
  • Data – What data needs to be captured, stored and delivered before, during and after the touch points?

System map example 4

 Service design map

How do we incorporate service design?

Service design makes the experiences an organization delivers “useful, usable, efficient, effective and desirable”.

As a department, internal IT teams provide technology that delivers services. At the same time, they are delivering a service by developing the software.  In this case, these teams are a bit unique compared to software development companies. So they need to incorporate service design on two levels: 1) in how they deliver the project and 2) in how well the product delivers a service (product design).

Service design thinking can be incorporated into every role and every phase of a project, centered and coordinated around a hub of expertise and tools.

Project and Service Delivery

  • Team and service design responsibilities
    • Stakeholders / Customer: Communicate needs, pain points, and current way of working
    • Project Manager: Be sure timeline and deliverables are clearly communicated, accommodate stakeholders “way of working” into project delivery, manage post launch follow up
    • Project Manager / Business Analyst: Define / refine business case and scope

Service and Product Design

  • Team and service design responsibilities
    • Stakeholder / Customer: Provide input and feedback
    • PM / Product Owner: Leadership, communicate priority, changes, status and issues between customer and team
    • BA / UX researcher: Requirements, Personas, Use Cases, Process Flows and Wireframes, Functional specifications, process design and transition plan (work with the Business / Customer Service)
    • Designer: Mockups, prototypes, final designs
    • Infrastructure specialist: Recommend and design infrastructure and platform
    • Application specialist: Technical specifications and implementation
    • Marketing: Internal and external communications and promotions around the product or service
    • Technical writer: Manuals, tutorials, demos
    • QA: Test plans, QA, UAT

Post Launch

  • Measure and improve

Sources and Further Reading

  1. Service Design Fundamentals for BAs and PMs
  2. How Does Service Design Relate To CX And UX?
  3. Service Design: The Most Important Design Discipline You’ve Never Heard Of
  4. Flickr User Model

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