Designing for Service

I started a new class today: Designing for Service, taught by Shelley Evenson. What is a service, and why bother designing it? Services are all around us. A service is a chain of (sequential, parallel, overlapping and/or recurrent) value-creating activities or events which form a process. Customers often take part in performing different elements in the interactions with employees of the service company for the purpose of achieving a particular result. In service design, the "users" are both the customers and the employees.

Services make up 70% of the economy. (Goods are the other 30%.) It's important to start designing services because good service is good business and a well-designed service can be a great business. Customer expectations are rising too. Fed Ex, with their allowing customers to track their own packages, started the trend of customers expecting things to happen in real-time and with them in control (or seeming control) over the service.

Dematerializing products can have a positive impact on our society and environment as well. By making less products and more services, there is a conceptual shift away from ownership of things. Customers don't have to own the product anymore, just the service. What if, instead of a washer/drier, you instead purchased "laundry service" from Sears?

Services are intangible, but designers are good at leaving tangible traces to experience. We can create the tangible evidence or artifacts of the service experience. So is service design really experience design? Yes and no. A service is a thing, and the experience is the environment of the service. Experiences have personal meanings. You can't design an experience (or activities), but you can provide the environment and tools for activities and experiences to happen. This environment is composed of people, products, and places--a setting with resources with potential for interaction and participation.

Service design is about many different touchpoints that happen over time. A service design language has to function (provide resources) across all levels of the system and as the experience develops among constituents (customers and employees), in stages of time, through different channels/methods of service, and at different touchpoints (the objects themselves).

Originally posted on Monday, March 14, 2005

Search Entries

O Danny Boy is About Me, Dan Saffer, and has my Portfolio, Resumé, Blog, and some Extras. It also has the blog I kept of my graduate studies and ways to Contact Me.