Industry-wide the marketing ecosystem is highly competitive. Companies are constantly trying to reach a broader audience, engage new customers, and convert them into sales qualified leads.
What users are looking for is a more and more personalized experience.
Just think of what our world has become. You get your personalized news feed on Facebook, listen to your daily playlists based on your music interests in Spotify, you subscribe to newsletters and topics you want to get information on, Google and Snapchat give you the opportunity to turn yourself into an emoji.
Almost every successful digital project right now offers personalized experiences. Strategic and marketing efforts aimed at users’ intent are proving to be more and more effective and are now shaping the future of businesses worldwide.
What Is Service Design?
Service design is the process of planning and organizing business resources (people, processes, infrastructure, products, communication) to improve both employee and customer experience.
Service design is done on a strategic level.
Managing the whole rather than just pieces (e.g. product design, support process, customer journey) which provides a coherent user experience (on all levels) and provides flexibility towards market needs and opportunities. Service design is all about aligning all pieces of your businesses and making them work towards achieving strategic goals.
Think of it as a theater. Your audience (customers & employees) see your performance but what happens at the backstage is unseen by the end-user. For example, front stage components are things such as the channels you use, products you’re offering, the touchpoints, the design.
Backstage components include policies, technology, approaches, infrastructure, and systems.
This is why service design spreads through your company’s strategy across all departments and on all levels within the organization. It involves product development, interaction design, system design; it may even affect everyday processes to make them fit the needs of the end-user.
Define Your Ideal Customer as a Buyer Persona
To be able to offer a personalized service, you need to know who your ideal customer is and present this information by creating a buyer persona, so everyone within the company will have this data accessible in an easy-to-use infographic way.
It’s important to understand users’ intent, interest, requirements, and problems in order to offer a service that’s going to address all psychographics of the consumer. This approach will help you generate more leads and convert them into brand ambassadors.
While creating your buyer personas, you must assure they include the needed information to build an hyper-effective service design around it. Such data includes:
- Demographics and location – Gives you a general knowledge of users’ interests and behaviors. Helps you to better define your target audience for campaigns.
- Persona’s problems and challenges – Helps you orient your services and product to answer the needs of consumers, bring additional value, and serve as an efficient solution.
- Channels users use, groups and communities they’re part of, and interests – to understand what content they best react to and get insights into targeting possibilities.
- How they measure success – Understand what functionalities will best serve your customers’ needs, offer a service that will bring real practical value to your target market, and form your unique value proposition based on the usefulness of your service
- What do they search for on Google – Information ion you (in terms of content), key selling points, competitive advantages, and SEO opportunities.
Mapping the Customer Journey
A customer journey map is an Infographic schematically showing user experience, key points (touchpoints) of the journey and predictable behavior patterns, the movement of the customer down the funnel, possible problems and various mechanics to engage with the end-user.
So, why is it vital to make a map of the customer journey? It gives a clear picture to all teams to understand and follow. The approach helps align efforts across the whole company and helps employees better understand and perform their individual tasks.
Having a bird’s-eye view of the whole strategy gives service design an additional level of flexibility. The map marks potential problems and weak links and helps implement a proactive approach of polishing and personalizing everything to the very last detail.
Creating a Service Blueprint
The service blueprint is a block diagram that gives an end-to-end view of both the user experience and the “behind-the-scenes” efforts. Its goal is to present you with a clear picture of the touchpoints, actors, systems, and policies.
The service blueprint shows both internal processes and the customer experience. While building it, you’ll acquire some significant insights into clients’ needs, relate both to the surface-to-core information and the end-to-end view of the service. This approach helps you reshape the way your company delivers its service for the better.
The Process of Efficient Service Blueprinting
To make a blueprint that will really present you with the 360-degree data you need regarding your service, you have to approach it the right way. To ease you in the process, we made a practical guide with 5 steps to follow.
Step 1: Choose an Opportunity Space
The first thing you need to do is choose an opportunity space to work in. This means selecting a part of your service that’s not too specific and is easy for everyone to understand. The opportunity spaces are high-level concepts that help you polish your overall strategy. For example, it may be a “registration process”, “the process of acquiring information”, or “purchasing”.
Step 2: Explore Scenarios
At this stage, you have to think of possible scenarios within the opportunity space. It’s a good practice to focus on the most commonly occurring and the most problematic ones such as “a user providing fake email during registration process”. This approach will help you come up with a flexible enough strategy that will allow you to adapt and answer the needs of your customers.
Step 3: Blueprint the Scenarios
This is one of the steps that will require the most brainstorming and critical thinking out of you. You need to start mapping out each scenario, including different steps, touchpoints, systems, metrics, and rules. The aim of this stage is to identify critical moments, find potential problems, and come up with ideas for service improvement.
For example, as you go through the “a user providing fake email during registration process” scenario, you’ll discover that the critical moment comes when the email needs to be authenticated to verify the account.
Instead of making the user create a new account, you can store all data of non-authenticated accounts and give the user access to the information they’ve provided to be able to change the non-valid email address with an accurate one (provided the user has allowed that in their browser/app settings). This way you’ll both receive the information you need and provide a smooth user experience.
Step 4: Group Critical Moments and Ideas
One of the most important things in service design is to find and collect different critical moments and the improvement ideas that go with them. This approach is especially useful if you’re conducting multiple service design sessions, going through a few different opportunity spaces, and marking the critical moments.
Through grouping the critical moments into themes, you’ll be able to gain a broader understanding and discover patterns. This will help you improve your service and implement the required changes on a strategic level.
Step 5: Strategy & Tactics
This is the stage of planning your future efforts. The idea is to go through all the themes you’ve identified and come up with:
- Tactical Fixes – Issues that could be directly resolved in the backlog of the relevant service team. Each of them could be classified as common sense ready-to-go solutions to immediate needs like “adding a Back button” or “storing non-authenticated accounts’ data and giving users the ability to access the information they’ve provided after registration and change the email address if not able to verify it”.
- Broad Strategic Implications – You have to outline a problem that encompasses all the themes you’ve gathered, encompassing the whole opportunity space. Broad strategic implications address such issues and are connected to broad thinking. They introduce long-term strategic changes and innovations and require a shared vision across the organization. For example, a broad strategic implication may be “need to communicate our competitive advantages more clearly to users” or “provide access to a highly trained support team that can resolve common problems within 24 hours”.
The Future of Services
You’re surrounded by personalized services. If they were just a great market opportunity to reach new audiences in the past, today service design is a requirement if you want to generate clients and secure steady growth. It’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of your customers, determine who they are and precisely what they need.
Then, relying on the gathered information, you have to build your service around potential clients and implement this on a strategic level. Offer your audience people-centric experiences that are designed for them to increase your conversion rates and start building your community!