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Communicating the Design of Services with Service Blueprints

Ashutosh Chandra | 16th June 2020

Service blueprints became popular over the last few years as service designing has grown as a profession. They are useful in service designing and sometimes operational management uses them to measure the efficiency of work within an organization.

 

Service blueprints are an elongated version of a customer journey map. A customer journey map shows all the interactions a customer will have with a company throughout its customer lifecycle. Service blueprint goes deeper and takes a look at all the physical and digital interactions. Those interactions support customer interactions and add a little more detail to the mix.

Communicating the Design of Services with Service Blueprints


Also, Read |
What Is a Design System?


The Need For a Service Blueprint


Service blueprints fulfil a variety of uses but mostly they are used for:

 

  • Improving a service: By understanding the first service very well – it’s possible to identify and eliminate pain points.
  • Designing a new service: A blueprint for a new service provides service prototypes and testing before launching it for customers.
  • Understanding a service: There are many services that became so ingrained in a corporate culture that they are no longer understood by anyone. Blueprints can assist in identifying those services and areas of opacity in existing processes.
  • Understanding the workers in a service: When there are various workers (customers, suppliers, consultants, employees, teams, etc.) it may be very useful to have a blueprint to manage the complexity of a situation.
  • Transitioning from a high-touch service to a low-touch service and vice-versa.

 

Broadening or narrowing the audience for a service requires careful consideration. A blueprint can guide the way for this, and with UX UI consulting services, it’s possible to achieve this.

 

You might also be interested in – A detailed study on Information Architecture


What Goes Into a Service Blueprint

 

Communicating the Design of Services with Service Blueprints

 

The blueprint is in general represented in a diagram based on swimlanes with each lane assigned to a specific category. The interactions are linked between lanes using arrows to represent the flow of work.

 

The five main swim lanes in a service blueprint are as follows:

 

  • The physical evidence: Anything that a customer can see, hear, smell or touch belongs to this lane. It includes signs, forms, products, etc. and is not limited to storefronts and websites.
  • A customer’s actions: What does your client base must do to use the service at the touchpoint? If the customer doesn’t take action, it won’t be possible to respond to his needs.
  • The front office: The activities, people, and physical evidence that a customer can observe after taking action.
  • The back office: The activities, people, and physical evidence that is essential to deliver the service but customers cannot see or interact with directly.
  • Supporting actions: Anything that supports the service without being unique to the service.

 

Split up any of these lanes if they are getting too complicated. For example, split digital and physical interactions into different lanes for clarity.

 

User research consultants can also assist in these planning and splitting processes.


Structuring Your Blueprint

 

Structuring your blueprint involves following a simple process:

 

  • Identify the method for blueprinting.
  • Identify the shoppers to serve them this method.
  • Examine the customer’s perspective of the service (the customer journey)
  • Identify the actions by employees, technology, and other workers (suppliers, etc.) on the service.
  • Link activities together for natural flow so as that they occur
  • Ensure to spot the evidence and KPIs for a successful outcome
  • Notations on Blueprints

 

There are two mutual notations on service blueprints:

 

Arrows

We use single-headed arrows to indicate the source of control moving to the next dependency. Double-headed arrows indicate that agreements must reach between workers prior to the process moving forward.

 

Annotations

Make notes in a likeable way on your diagrams as they are, after all, your diagrams. It would assist in building a legend and key for clarity and ease of communication.


Conclusion


The line between product and service has become almost blurred. So, the only sensible thing for a UX designer is to learn how to deliver and use service blueprints in their work.

Oodles Studio combines the experiential knowledge of researchers from diverse fields with their UX research services. They work with the latest analytical tools and technologies to extract meaningful user insights.

 

About Author

Ashutosh Chandra

Ashutosh is a blogger and technical writer at Oodles, who covers topics ranging from Branding, UI/UX design, Graphic design to other design and technology-related matters.

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