What is service design?

Post by 
Ben van Rooy
January 3, 2021

hat is Service Design? Here are a few definitions I like:

  • An interdisciplinary approach - Marc Stickdorn
  • Results in the design of systems and processes aimed at providing a holistic service to the user - Copenhagen Institute for Interaction Design 2008
  • When you have two coffee shops right next to each other, and each sells the exact same coffee at the exact same price, service design is what makes you walk into one and not the other - 31Volts Service Design

What are the principles of Service Design? They are inclusive and human centric:

  1. User-centred - experienced through the customers eyes
  2. Co-creative - all stakeholders included in the process
  3. Sequencing - visualised as a sequence of interrelated actions
  4. Evidencing - intangible services visualised in terms of physical artefacts
  5. Holistic - the entire environment of a service should be considered

How is Service Design different to Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX)? CX and UX services just the customer or user need while SD serves both customer and business needs

  • Customer Experience (CX) design looks at specific moments of the service or specific products and creates a compelling experience around that
  • User Experience (CX) design looks at interactions a user has with a service or product and looks to optimise the experience
  • Service design looks at creating a great overall experience and looks to service both Customer need and Business Objective

What are the tools of Service Design? There are many, I use some of these

  • Research data
  • Personas
  • Journey maps & service blueprints
  • System maps
  • Service prototypes
  • Business model canvas

Where can I learn more about Service Design? Here are two books I use often:

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