Discover the power of service design

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

By Amanda Salter

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:

  1.   Service blueprints
  2.   Service concept cards
  3.   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:

Service Design Network
Service Design Implementation

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