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What is a Service?
Products of economic
activity that you can’t drop
on your foot, ranging from
hairdressing to websites.
Product vs. Service
• “what can we make?”
• Tangible and identical objects that can
be touched, tried, felt, tasted, or
transferred or even returned.
• They must be manufactured, stored,
transported, marketed, and sold, and
are separable from the seller.
• Production and consumption might
have a time lag - there might be goods
ready to be sold
• Mass production ensures uniform
• There is no customer involvement.
• Car, mobile, pen, mattress, table, etc.
• “what can we do?”
• Intangible and diversiﬁed amenities
provided by people that are often
“experienced” but never retained,
transferred or ever returned.
• They are outputs of individual action or
collective performance and can’t be
“stored”, and are inseparable from the
• Production and consumption must occur
simultaneously - there are no inventories
• Uniformity in services and timeliness are
• The customer has a high involvement.
• Transport, internet, banking, music
streaming, hotel booking, etc.
What is Service Design
“A service is something that I use but do not
own. Service design is therefore the shaping
of service experiences so that they really
work for people. Removing the lumps and
bumps that make them frustrating, and then
adding some magic to make them
Mat Hunter, Chief Design Oﬃcer at the Design
Why Service Design?
The term “service design” was coined by Lynn
Shostack in 1982. Shostack proposed that
organizations develop an understanding of how
behind-the-scenes processes interact with
each other because “leaving services to
individual talent and managing the pieces
rather than the whole make a company more
vulnerable and creates a service that reacts
slowly to market needs and opportunities.”
A touchpoint represents a speciﬁc
interaction between a customer and an
organization. It includes the device being
used, the channel used for the interaction,
and the speciﬁc task being completed.
A customer journey is made up by a series of
touchpoints, with each touchpoint deﬁning
the details of the speciﬁc interaction.
A customer journey map provides a
vivid but structured visualisation of a
service user’s experience as an
This story details their service
interactions and accompanying
emotions in a highly accessible
Service blueprints visualize organizational processes in order
to optimize how a business delivers a user experience.
A service blueprint is a diagram that visualizes the
relationships between diﬀerent service components — people,
props (physical or digital evidence), and processes — that are
directly tied to touchpoints in a speciﬁc customer journey.
Blueprinting is an ideal approach to experiences that are
omnichannel, involve multiple touchpoints, or require a
crossfunctional eﬀort (that is, coordination of multiple
• Services are everywhere (and growing!)
• Everything else equal, quality of service
determines user experience (and thus
• Companies need to consciously work on
continuously improving services
• Service Design Thinking allows a systematic
way to approach it