Service Design – Steps and Processes Involved

There are a lot of stages and processes involved in service design before any new product or service is launched into the market. This concept offers a lot of benefits both to the customer as well as the service provider. While the customer is guaranteed reliable, usable, desirable and quick service, the provider obtains adequate profits, long-term success and customer satisfaction in return.

The first and foremost step in the service design process is research. Extensive research at multiple levels is required before any new service or product is launched. Reports developed after insightful research helps the provider to understand the requirements of the customer and also the kind of service that is currently available in the market. Exploratory research techniques are used to understand the current situation and get a deeper understanding of the customers, their needs and expectations. The next step is genetic research in which the focus is on exercises and activities that will reveal how to respond to the findings of exploratory research. The final leg is evaluative research which helps to validate whether the service or recommendations designed actually meets the need of the customer or end user.

Service or product development process can be categorized into four stages starting with design, analysis, development and then market introduction. Each of these is connected and can be considered to be a feedback loop. The design process can involve both product and service design in equal measures and is put forward as a blueprint, physical model, prototype or business plan. While designing a physical product, multiple characteristics and attributes of the product is considered to make it effective and efficient. And while designing a service, the new idea is put forward through creative and meaningful representations. Usually both fuzzy and procedural approach is used during designing; in the fuzzy approach, the importance is on the idea. The executives are asked to come up with creative, genuine, unique and technologically advanced ideas that can be implemented either into the product or the service. In the procedural approach, a more methodological way of planning is employed and the product or service is looked into with greater detail.

There are various tools that are employed in this process; along with physical elements, interactions with people are also an important part during development. Sometimes, only an improvement in the existing service will be taken up which require a defect understanding of the current service, its strengths and weaknesses and the customers' opinion obtained in the form of feedback and surveys.

The success of any service experience depends largely on an integrated service design program which has been implemented seamlessly into the process. Creating a service blueprint allows the organization to consider all the issues and factors inherent in managing the particular service. The first step is to analyze and identify the weak points in the service, then create a time frame to make the necessary changes and the final step is to analyze the user reaction and profitability of the service.