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As Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, once decisively asserted, "Obsess over customers: when given the option of obsessing over competitors or customers, always obsess over customers."

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Flevy Management Insights: Service Design


As Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, once decisively asserted, "Obsess over customers: when given the option of obsessing over competitors or customers, always obsess over customers."

That obsession for customers is the core of Service Design. Rooted in the understanding that services should be tailored to the needs and behaviors of customers, Service Design is a multidisciplinary approach that helps firms innovate and improve services to make them more useful, usable, and desirable for clients, while effective and efficient for themselves.

The Principle of Service Design

Service Design largely revolves around the orchestration of people, infrastructures, communication, and material components of a service in a way that enhances user experiences, satisfies their needs, and creates value for both users and service providers.

Why Service Design Matters at Executive Level

Executives should not mistake Service Design as something that only concerns the customer-facing departments. It affects the entire Value Chain and therefore requires Strategic Planning at the highest levels of management. When Service Design is embraced by the C-suite, it can drive Digital Transformation, enhance Operational Excellence, mitigate Risk Management challenges, and improve Performance Management.

Key Approaches in Service Design

Service Design Tools for Successful Implementation

Several technological tools aid in implementing effective Service Design. Tools such as customer journey mapping software, service blueprints, and persona building tools can provide invaluable insights that can drive service improvements.

Case Study: Bank of America's Keeping the Change Program

One great example of successful Service Design implementation is Bank of America's "Keep the Change" program. By incorporating insights from ethnographic research on how customers manage spending and saving, they managed to design a service that rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the increment into savings.

Best Practices in Service Design

  1. Observe and Understand Your Users: This is the first step in designing a service that meets users' needs. It involves user interviews, contextual inquiries, and actual observation of user behavior.
  2. Co-Create with Users: Engaging users in the service creation process can yield a service that truly reflects their needs and preferences.
  3. Prototype and Test: Prototypes allow service providers the opportunity to identify issues and areas of improvement before fully launching the service. User feedback during testing can be highly valuable for service refinement.
  4. Analyze and Improve: Even after a service has been deployed, continuous analysis and improvement is key. This can involve post-deployment user-surveys, ongoing user feedback collection, and periodic service audits.

Service Design is both an art and a science. It’s the art of crafting touchpoints that users interact with and the science of understanding users’ behaviors and needs. Most importantly, effective Service Design places customers at the center of a business's strategy, driving them to create value in the most user-focused way possible.

For effective implementation, take a look at these Service Design best practices:


Explore related management topics: Customer Journey User Experience Customer Experience Ideation Innovation Management Creativity Business Framework PowerPoint Diagrams Design Sprint Service Transformation Corporate Culture Customer Decision Journey




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