Service design should revolve around customers, while keeping in mind their potential differences.

What is service design? Well, there’s no single definition; it’s an evolving and interdisciplinary approach that combines multiple methods and tools to design new services.

However, there are five common principles that most everyone agrees on.

The first is that the process of service design should be user-centered. Or, to put it another way, when designing a service, the customer should be treated as a crucial piece of the process.

Unlike a physical product, a service is a process – an interaction between the service provider and the service user, the customer. So any successful service will recognize the customer as a central part of the process.

For instance, let’s look at a public transportation service, such as a bus. This is a valuable public service that benefits countless customers; the service would be of little value, however, if the bus didn’t stop at and travel to locations convenient to these customers.

Okay, so what if you’re trying to design a successful service of your own. There’s one pitfall, in particular, to be wary of: an overreliance on quantitative data, such as statistics.

Statistics are undoubtedly a great source of information, especially for discovering popular trends, such as when during the day people are most in need of a bus, but this isn’t enough to provide a valuable service.

Let’s say there are two people with very similar traits. They’re both married and financially successful men, they’re both around 70 years old, and they were both born in the United Kingdom. But based on these statistics alone, you wouldn’t know which one is Prince Charles and which one is Ozzy Osbourne, and it goes without saying that these men are quite different from one another.

This should remind you that no two customers are exactly alike. Each one has a culture, a set of habits, a range of motivations. If you want to fully understand your customer base, you can’t underestimate these differences; this qualitative information must be considered in combination with statistics in your efforts for a successful service design.

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