The digital products we design are often only one component of a much broader experience that people have with your organization.
Service design looks at that experience as a whole to create a cohesive and impactful customer journey that goes well beyond the screen. Using the same design thinking principles as we do for product design, we blueprint, map out, and prototype the experience for everyone involved.
Examining the Entire Service
A service blueprint provides context and describes everything that happens in a service. In short, it’s a blueprint for what the service should ultimately look like. To create a service blueprint, we look at every component of the service. We look at everything from the digital products it includes all the way down to how an in-person interaction should be conducted. From there, we perfect the service and create a blueprint for its ideal state.
The Current User Journey
A journey map is what the service looks like in its current state. It outlines the entire journey that users experience when using the service from first point of contact all the way to post-service follow-up. We use these maps to identify points of friction and steps in the journey where we can improve the flow. As with service design blueprints, we look at every single component and interaction of the journey to ensure we don’t leave anything out.
The Who’s Who of the Entire Service
A stakeholder map outlines how all of the various stakeholders interact with the user throughout the service lifecycle and the impact those interactions have on the user’s experience. If we look at a healthcare system as an example, the patient is the user. Doctors, nurses, specialists, admins, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, even the hospital cafeteria staff all have a role to play in that one patient’s care. By mapping these interactions out and identifying positive and negative experiences, we’re able to pinpoint which areas of the service need to change to improve the overall experience.
The User’s Expectations vs Reality
An expectation map shows what the user’s expectations are as they move through the experience. It outlines how they expect to feel at each point of the journey. If a service blueprint shows the ideal state of the experience from an organization perspective, an expectation map shows the ideal state from a user perspective. We often use expectation maps in conjunction with stakeholder maps to compare and contrast the user’s expectations of an interaction with a stakeholder with how they actually occur. If we consistently find areas of unmet expectations, we know where to focus as we make changes and prototype the new service.
Prototyping the Experience from Start to Finish
Service design prototypes are as the name suggests. We actually build out a prototype of the entire service and act it out from start to finish. This exercise allows us to see how our ideals translate when put into practice. By prototyping the service, we can identify and implement any necessary changes to the service blueprint well before it’s fully launched. Service design prototypes are a critical step that ultimately results in a friction-less service.