We all know what a service does in broad strokes, don’t we? It helps us do something else, like achieve a goal or perform a task.
Yet services are ubiquitous and elusive at the same time — we interact with a host of them daily, but can we say we know how they work and what lies behind their surface? Probably not! Many people are at their wit’s end when defining the term.
The irony is that the “service economy” is in full swing and grows ever complex. Now that virtually every product has a service component attached to it, and with technology continuously disrupting the playing field, the time is now for brands to develop a service “literacy”.
Not surprisingly, Service Design is in increasingly high demand. Forward-looking organisations have been eyeing this speciality for some time now to improve their customer journeys, better their products, and build more resilient internal processes and workflows.
This article looks at the prevailing principles of Service Design, the benefits that it can bring to businesses and brands, and some handy tools and techniques.
What do services look like today?
First off, before delving into the art and science of Service Design, it’s vital to pin down what services have become today.
Services have existed since the year dot — think about your local post office, rather than someone coming over to your house to clean the garden.
However, the second half of the XX century marked a new era of relentless servitisation.
Companies have been moving their commercial focus from the mere product to a marketable set of products and services, able to fulfil customers’ needs jointly. And in this process, services have ended up playing the lion’s share.
It was a paradigmatic shift that today, in the most advanced countries, services account for the most significant share of GNPs and have transformed users’ lifestyles in radical new ways.
We’ve got used to applications and systems, which are transposing, in an online setting, activities that in the past we would have carried out solely in the physical world.