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What is Service Design?

As someone who has just taken their first role at a company which specialises in service design, I have had to quickly learn what service design is, and how it is implemented. Therefore, I’m writing this blog to document what I have learnt about the process, and to provide others in the same position with an answer to the question that I started off with: what is service design?

Service design involves understanding the experience of users, employees’ and anyone else who may be affected by a service process and ensuring that the process fits the needs and requirements of each person. Therefore, service design is an important tool for improving an organisations processes and operations so that they can optimise the customer’s journey.

Carrying out service design on an existing or new process can take varying amounts of time — typically, the process of aligning a business process to the customers and employees’ needs should take somewhere between 2 and 6 weeks. This is often dependent on the client but either side of this time period might indicate that something isn’t working. Completing a service design in this time frame is optimal as it allows for the service designer to review the service ‘as is’ and collect information from all of the people involved about how they view the current process.

A service designer will start their work by carrying out desk research. This involves talking to the client and their employees to get a feel for how they view the current process and what doesn’t work for them. Following this, a service designer will move on to user research, where they will aim to understand the users experience of the current process and what pain points they might have. To a service designer, this is like putting the final few pieces of a puzzle together. Once this research has been carried out, a service designer will put the pieces together and finish with a final product that will reveal to them what can be changed or fixed to make the process optimal for everyone involved.

Therefore, the research carried out by a service designer around the current process and the experiences of those that interact with it is key to delivering a result that both users and employees are happy with. To acquire this information, a service designer will conduct both qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research involves conducting interviews, carrying out workshops or simply observing how the current process works. This type of research allows the service designer to collect in depth data that may be able to explain phenomena in more detail than statistics. However, that isn’t to say collecting and looking at statistics isn’t important.

This is why service designers will also carry out quantitative research. This type of research can involve sending out surveys and feedback forms to collect numerical data that can be analysed. Using qualitative and quantitative data in parallel allows a service designer to understand the facts of how a process is carried out and the opinions of those that it affects, therefore, allowing the service designer to propose a solution.

So, there we have an introduction to service design. What else would you add and do you agree with everything we have discussed? Feel free to contact us on twitter @BusinessAHub


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