Service Design

The digital revolution is driving consumers to demand more quality and choice across multiple channels, while possibilities for creating, delivering and consuming services have multiplied. The result for businesses is complexity and uncertainty.

Service Design is an approach to solving these challenges. By taking a joined up view of the touch points over a customer’s lifecycle, Service Design defines the customer experience and the behind-the-scenes activities that enable these experiences to be delivered.


  • Increase sales by delivering seamless, joined up services through frictionless customer experiences
  • Grow customer loyalty by creating responsive and supportive customer service touch points
  • Reduce cost by consolidating fragmented transactions, products and content into sleek, efficient journeys
  • Increase employee engagement & productivity by streamlining fractured workflows, and involving end users in the design of the service


For us, Service Design isn’t about mental models or process charts. It’s about working with the end users and delivering well thought through services.

Our approach to Service Design is systematic and iterative. We take an integrated, interdisciplinary approach which brings together your internal teams to focus on service delivery over the customer lifecycle.

We look at the full range of front-of-house to back office processes, structuring communications and interactions across an end-to-end, multichannel customer journey that encompasses many parts of the organisation.

Our focus is on design through the layers of the organisation according to the needs of customers and the competences and capabilities of the company, so that the service is human-centred, competitive and relevant to the people consuming it, while being sustainable for your business.

Our Service Design offer includes:

  • Capability definition
  • Service Design principles
  • Service blueprints
  • Service roadmapping
  • Multi-channel experience design
  • Service concepting & piloting
  • Business mobilisation
  • Business process mapping
  • Management of change
  • Embedding expertise

“Newt shone as our trusted partner during the project … galvanising stakeholders and solving complexity to deliver an outstanding service design.”



Our Service Design team is drawn from top-tier management consultancies, product design firms and research agencies, so it has deep, first-hand experience working within large complex organisations to affect design-led change. This means you get industrial-scale thinking with the focus and agility of a small company.

We understand that good communication and well-run change programmes are critical parts of the jigsaw for delivering successful Service Design.


Transforming a high-level strategy into actionable goals

Innovation in Mobile Payments at Tesco

Connecting Customers with Tesco


How to beat the challenges facing Chief Customer Officers – Part 1

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Who owns the customer?

How to beat the challenges facing Chief Customer Officers – Part 1 of 3

Key insights into the best ways to cultivate a customer-centric culture.


Strategy Director

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In June this year, Paul Sands from Customer Bullseye published an article called Chief Customer Officers: Some Group Therapy, Some Golden Nuggets. In the article, he detailed the pains, challenges and frustrations that 50+ Chief Customer Officers faced on a daily basis. The findings were enlightening. So we’ve explored a few of these nuggets in more detail, adding in our own thoughts and experiences.

Interdepartmental responsibility is a big issue for big businesses. When there’s lots of departments involved, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of passing the buck when there’s a customer issue. Or, you might have a situation where departments are doing their own customer initiatives, and are unwilling to coordinate with pre-existing plans and roadmaps. This happened a lot when digital was first launched. Unfortunately, this lack of collaboration takes its toll, on both the customer and the business.

As Sands highlights, the solution is to create shared ownership around a unified vision for the customer experience across departmental silos.

What you can do:

  • Involve customers in vision-setting working
    In addition to engaging colleagues in vision-setting workshops, aim to get some real customers in the room too.

Why? It prevents disagreements about what people think customers want and need. Instead everyone can hear directly from the customers themselves. Which means you can create a vision based on real needs.

  • Make sure everyone is clear about their role
    When shaping the customer experience vision, make sure it’s very easy for everyone to see “their place” in delivering it. Show each department why their specific role is an important piece of the jigsaw. This needs quite a lot of thinking and visualisation – but it’s worth the effort.

Why? Success depends on everyone pulling together. And you’ll get much better buy in across departments once everyone understands their value and the part they have to play.

  • Recognise current successes
    Publicly recognise the positive things departments and people are already doing. Highlight how they are already playing a crucial part in delivering current successes in customer experience. Let them know that you are aware of and value the benefits of their hard work. And show how you’re building on existing capabilities (if possible) within the vision.

Why? Showing people they are appreciated leads to a happier workforce that will be more emotionally invested in your new vision.

  • Adopt a service design approach
    Service design encapsulates both “front of house” (customer-facing) and “back of house” (business operational) perspectives. It’s the best way to capture and visualise a seamless, practical, actionable vision to define customer experience.

Why? A service design approach promotes a shared understanding and vision by aligning departments and helping you engage the entire business.

This is just the first part in our three-part series. Look out for the rest of the articles.

Other articles in this series:

Part 1 - Who owns the customer

Part 2 - How to manage diverse departments

Part 3 - But who is my customer?

Find out more:
Discover the power of service design to find out more

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How to design better timelines visually

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How to design better

timelines visually

Create easy-to-use, intuitive timelines that will help your business function better.



Visual Designer

Timelines have broken out of the social media mould and are now starting to appear everywhere. We’re all used to seeing them as a snapshot of our life, but in business, timelines are being used to display everything from financial information to shopping histories. The great thing about timelines – and the reason for their surge in popularity – is that they’re able to display complex information, simply. But, this requires a lot of work to get right.

Consider a timeline that needs to schedule hundreds of employees with different roles, needs, and work statuses. The timeline needs to be helpful, functional, informative and easy to use for multiple purposes, across different domains and departments. And it needs to serve a business purpose – eg reduce wasted time, enable information sharing, increase customer loyalty etc.

That’s a big ask. Before you start designing, you need to talk to users to establish the multitude of requirements and pinpoint problem areas. Then interpret this research in a way that can be universally understood. Your goal is to create something that people will want to use, that makes their life easier, and enables success.

With this is mind, here are ten points that will help you design better real time applications.

Ten steps to timeline success

1. Understand the interconnectivity of timeline and pixels

A timeline user interface (UI) is going to include a lot of elements and may span 24 hours or more. It’s impossible to show this level of information in any detail that is useful to the user, even if you added in zoom functionality. Zooming comes with its own problems as it can be disorientating to move between zoom states, i.e. be zoomed in on one page, then move to another that’s zoomed out.

• We usually work on a five-hour timeframe. This lets us narrow our frame of focus and build UI elements that are easy to read.

• We also use the frame of one pixel per minute. This is helpful when it comes to handing designs over to developers as it reduces any complicated maths in the coding. From here, we are able to plan what space could be used for our timeline and what could be used for a side panel list.

2. Design for the worse case scenario

Spend some time highlighting the worse case scenarios so you can plan solutions in advance. Talk to users, ask questions and dig deeper as they may not always think small details are important. But in reference to a timeline, considerations such as designing for the smallest timeframe may impact typography and layout. Other things to consider are what if times clash, how will this look?

3. Do the “one line challenge”

Set yourself a challenge of reducing key information to one line. Short, succinct details are much easier to read and process, and therefore more useful. Try enforcing a limited word count through the design – for example, in the past we’ve used a 40x60px box to display information. Be creative in how to save space. Use initials rather than full names and, for things like employee codes, cash cards, or car registrations, limit digits to the last three or four. If you need to include more information, add ellipses (…) to show that clicking onto the next layer will display further details.

4. Keep things clean

Clean, clear designs are crucial for timelines. If they are too busy, users can become overwhelmed and be distracted from key information. A white background is an obvious choice. Colours can then be used to highlight features and guide the eye.

5. Make it easy to scan

Visual legibility is crucial. Timelines usually display vast quantities of information, which need to be presented in an easy-to-understand format. This means structuring content intuitively and drip-feeding information in a way that can be quickly interpreted. For example, columns can be used to align text and enable users to jump from one piece of information to the next. When reducing information, it’s important to have clear signposts guiding people to click to view full details.

6. Define a visual hierarchy

Consistency is key. Your design needs to guide people’s eyes to important information. But at the same time, it needs to follow a pattern and colour code that can be easily deciphered. Choose a neutral colour to display everyday and continuous content, and stick to this throughout the design. Use bright colours to draw attention and highlight key content. Keep smaller elements such as dates and time the same size and font on every page. Use opacities to bring forward and set back information.

7. Establish a colour palette

There are no set rules for which colours you use – that’s up to you and what works for your business (though they need to be accessible – see point 9). But you need to stick to whatever palette you choose across every page and element. In one project, we used a restricted traffic light colour palette to apply meaning to different layers of information. The benefit of this is that there is an innate understanding of the semiotics of these colours, making the design more intuitive.

8. Use symbols

Symbols are a great way to represent further levels of information. They can even sit within your colour code and form groups, simplifying data and making information easier to interpret. Symbols can be visual, for example, a van for journeys, or simply the first letter of what you need to represent i.e. ‘L’ for Loading.

9. Help the user with a key

It’s not normally possible to rely solely on universal symbols and icons. Each timeline, and the information it displays, is unique. So, as a designer, you often need to create new, project-specific symbols and icons. To help users understand these, especially in the initial, learning stage, it’s best practice to include a key. As the learning stage is usually quite short it’s best to position your key away from the main interface. Users will soon understand what the symbols means and after a while are likely to ignore the key button completely.

10. Test for colour blindness

Globally, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have colour blindness, with reds and greens being commonly misinterpreted. To make your design accessible, it’s important that it doesn’t solely rely on colour coding. Try combining colours with symbols or texts so there’s more than one way to interpret information.

That’s our round up of how to design better timelines. Keeping these points in mind will help you design robust and resilient applications that are a joy to use and help people achieve more.

Talk timelines

Get in touch to discuss how we can help your business, service or product. Email us at

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Discover the power of service design

By | service-service-design, Services | No Comments

Discover the power

of Service Design

Get to grips with Service Design and see how it can boost your business


Strategy Director

Call_icon_31px_olive_tint07786 657 504


Increased sales, lower running costs, happier customers and a more engaged workforce. These are just some of the results being reported by businesses that have adopted a Service Design approach. Forrester describes it as “the most important design disciplineand with many forward-thinking businesses reaping the benefits; it’s not hard to understand why.

What is Service Design?

“Service Design is a human-centred design approach that seeks to design end-to-end experiences and the underlying business systems that support them.”

Leah Buley, Forrester 

Service Design looks at every aspect of the service that your business offers, across every touchpoint in the real world and digital. Currently, it is primarily used across things like government and healthcare – i.e. domains that offer a public service, for example the NHS. However, more and more businesses are waking up the realisation that there’s a lot to be gained in adopting Service Design thinking.

Benefits of Service Design:

1. Makes your entire organisation more customer-centred, which can only ever be a good thing.

“The more successful our customers are, the more successful our business becomes.”

Jeff Gothelf, Sense and Respond

2. Helps you discover new products to solve knotty problems and deliver business profitability and customer satisfaction.

3. Gives visibility of your customer touchpoints through the end-to-end journey and highlights places where the customer experience is disjointed or fragmented.

4. Pinpoints opportunities and helps you decide the initiatives that will make the biggest impact to your business and customers.

5. Promotes a shared understanding and vision by aligning different departments and helping you engage the entire business.

6. Helps you to integrate new touchpoints, product or services seamlessly within your existing ecosystem of products and channels.

7. Gives you a competitive edge. A Service Design case study for Yhteistyöapteekit (YTA), the largest pharmacy chain in Finland, reported:

  •   47% growth in customer volume
  •   4 out 5 customers extremely likely to recommend
  •   69% growth in prescription drugs
  •   300% increase in sales of new wellbeing services

How to use Service Design

Business are using Service Design as the central approach to product strategy, product innovation, and product design.

Often, Service Design kicks in at the point when businesses decide they want to drive differentiation and transformation. However, you can also use it to analyse and optimise your current product or service experience. There is a lot of value in simply understanding what your landscape looks like today.

Principles of Service Design

Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider describe the five principles that lie behind Service Design in their 2014 book “This is Service Design thinking” 

These are still spot on today. Service Design should be:

1. User centred – put your customer front and centre

2. Co-creative – stakeholders from different departments collaborating together

3. Sequenced – visualise experiences as a sequence of interrelated actions or events

4. Evidenced – experiences must include something tangible that will persist beyond just memories

5. Holistic – consider the wider environment and context within which the experience must live

Common Service Design techniques and tools

Service Design brings together a collection of emerging techniques and ways of thinking. One of the most well known tools in Service Design – and one that we use a lot at Newt – is the Customer Journey Map.

Other tools that come into play at various points can include:

  •   Service blueprints
  •   Service concept cards
  •   Affinity maps

Hopefully this article has given you a deeper insight into the importance of Service Design and the difference it can make to your business.

If you’d like to speak to someone about bringing Service Design to your company, drop us at line at

Read more about Service Design

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Define the scope of your Customer Journey Map

By | Retail, service-customer-journey-mapping, service-service-design | No Comments

Define the scope

of your Customer

Journey Map

The ultimate guide to Customer Journey Mapping – Part 2 of 5:

Customer Journey Maps are essential for any business that’s serious about developing rewarding customer experiences. But they require careful planning or you risk wasting time and money. Our series of five step-by-step articles will guide you through the opportunities and obstacles.


Strategy Director

Call_icon_31px_olive_tint07786 657 504


Determining specific goals, deliverables, costs and deadlines will help you focus on what’s important and make it easier to get stakeholder buy-in. To be as productive as possible, you must prioritise. Here’s how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

1. Decide your objectives

Focus on the key things you want to achieve for your business. This could be one key statement from this year’s business strategy, for example. A good Customer Journey Map should provide valuable insights into your business. If you try to cover everything at once, it can become overwhelming. Bitesize, actionable tasks are much easier to assimilate and process than a mountain of seemingly insurmountable requirements – and each will add up to form the bigger picture.

2. Identify areas of opportunity

Take a strategic look at your business and pinpoint areas in your existing customer journey where you can see obvious opportunities to differentiate or pain points to solve. For example, if you’re receiving complaints about your after sales service, focus on fixing this. The more targeted your Customer Journey Map, the quicker you’ll be able to implement changes and see results. Which will make both your board and customers happy.

3. Focus on global regions sequentially

Multinational business should concentrate on a particular region at a time, starting with the ones where there’s the biggest opportunity for improvement or biggest market. Once again, look for the customer pain points that are causing the most problems and/or are the easiest to fix. By tackling regions one by one, you will not only discover the specific needs and idiosyncrasies of each market, but also find common ground with other regions. This will make it easier to roll out subsequent Customer Journey Maps.

Other articles in this series:

Part 1 - Set the foundations for a productive Customer Journey Map

Part 2 - Define the scope of your Customer Journey Map

Part 3 - Choosing the right level of granularity

Part 4 - Shape your Customer Journey map for today and tomorrow

Part 5 - What to do after your Customer Journey Map


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Sign up for our monthly insights on how to boost your business. Plus get our exclusive guide to Customer Journey Mapping.

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See how we can help align your service to fit your customers and capabilities. Talk to our experts about your ambitions for service design thinking and they’ll set you on the road to success – get in touch today!