Megan Grocki has written piece over at UX Magazine called Service Design: Setting The Stage For The Consummate Experience. She starts with running through some of the key influences from marketing, which is part of her background, and runs through a general overview of service design.
It’s definitely worth a read if this is new to you, but for us the element of people is what is critical. The key is hidden in one sentence in Megan’s piece: “It means that every one of a company’s employees understands that customer care is an integral part of the job”. Service design is designing with people and not just for them and it’s in that subtle distinction that service design differs, often, from UX, CX, marketing and IxD. With public services, in particular, there may be no “customer” as such, or we might not be designing for them. Healthcare is a situation in which we might be have a project working with nurses, for example. What are they – customers or service providers? The answer is both. They provide services to patients and doctors, but they also use services within the hospital. In most other ways of dealing with user/human-centred design, regardless of discipline, designers are either on one side of the fence or the other. Service design tries to take in the whole ecosystem.
The main reason from blogging this here, though, is because of the comments to Megan’s piece. Margot Bloomstein and John W Lewis (whose comment turned into a blog post) both raised eyebrows at the possibility of service design doing everything it claims to do. There is obviously a need to clear up some skepticism and that’s part of the goal of our book. Service design does deal with a holistic approach to uncovering complex relationships and working to design a coherent whole. This process is pretty hard to describe in a single blog post, hence the book. It’s also easier to understand when you have a case study in to look at rather than in the abstract. We find most people get their “Aha!” moment at this point.
So, our question to you is, “What are your questions?” We know there is skepticism about the breadth and depth of service design, but we also know we have worked on projects that cover this breadth and depth (one of which will be in the book). As a professional from UX, IA, IxD, CX or marketing (or others?), what do you feel you need us to explain or prove the case of?
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