Service design may sound complicated. But it's straightforward: it's the design of services.
“A service is something that helps someone do something.”
Maybe that’s getting from A to B, or moving your belongings from one house to another.
In business, service designers intentionally design a business/brand from the customer’s point of view. The goal is to deliver the right experience at the right time, in the right way, between the business and the customer. It’s about giving people what they really want and value - even if they are not aware of all the elements that go into making them happy.
We’re moving from a world of products …
The world’s largest taxi firm, Uber, owns no cars.
The world’s most popular media company, Facebook, creates no content. And the world’s largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, owns no property.
Gone are the days of retail locations. In the good old days: you made something, marketed it, and then sold it. Today we live in a world of infinite choice in the palm of our hands. But the nature of business is always in flux. The internet has made everything easier than ever before to serve vast numbers of new customers. That’s why we’re seeing tiny start-ups eat established Goliaths for breakfast.
So what's the most valuable business asset for anyone today?
It's the ability to get services right. Instead of developing slightly better services and products, we need to design better experiences.
We live in a service economy. Adapt or fail!
Why is it important to view the world as a service designer?
Customer service is now a brand differentiator - better service is the new way to win new customers, and more importantly, keep them.
From the start, companies like Uber and Google, set their customers’ needs being met as their number one metric, gaining loyalty as they grow. These brands understand that loyal fans reduces “churn” and guarantees a steady income flow over long periods.
Look at the problem from a human perspective. To do that, we take notes from Jan Gehl
. Gehl is a master architect who set out to better understand human behaviour into city design. He called it “starting at the human scale”.
He observed how people actually used the city spaces and worked from there by spending time on the streets and park benches. It may sound obvious, but nobody had really done it this way before. Often you can find the best solutions by merely stopping to observe people. Now his work has and continues to revolutionise cities worldwide in the way they approach architecture and planning. It's no longer about buildings. It's about people.
And what's the starting point for excellent service design?
So set out with questions like, who is this for? What do they do at the moment? What do they want? How can I make it easier for them to do what they want to do?
Big, complicated problems, like brands, are often solved in small, simple ways when you look at them from the human perspective.