Service design

Service design? What are you talking about?

21 March 2019 door Jan Van Caneghem

Design always ensures the translation of functions in use. A chair serves to sit on. The design of that chair should invite you to do that on the one hand, and on the other hand you must leave it as the design promises. By this I mean that an office chair has the promise to let you work in a comfortable manner for a few hours. That is the visual design. That promise should also make that office chair a reality through the functional design. That is what design. Means when we develop a product.

Design translates expectations into promises

Whether it is a product or service, its development should always be based on the concrete needs of future users. These needs have to be translated into functions or a system.

When those functions or that system have been developed, they must be translated to use again.

A product or service must be explanatory to the user in its appearance. In other words, the visual aspect must make clear to the user for whom it serves and how it should or can be used.

One chair more easily sits than the other

A seat in a fast food restaurant must therefore visibly invite. However, that chair is not designed so that the visitor wants to stay there for hours, the next visitors stand in line already after all. With the choice of materials for the chair, the ease of maintenance will be taken into account rather than warmth and coziness.

Do you take the jackets or are your visitors waiting in line?

The full experience of the visitor at the fast food restaurant is a matter of design, conscious or not.

Entering, joining, choosing the desired menu and so on, these are all interactions that have been considered by the service provider to a greater or lesser extent and that have an impact on the experience of the customer.

Not only the customer experience is impacted by the design of the service, also the entire organization behind it. A few examples of this:

  1. Can I choose a menu at a kiosk?
    This possibility can result in a somewhat impersonal service, but it will allow the visitor to choose at his own pace.
    Moreover, employees will lose less time with hesitant and doubting visitors.
  2. Do I pay by card or cash?
    The choice for both options may seem the simplest. If the restaurant would choose to only pay with a card, the possibilities of the customers are limited. On the other hand, there are fewer mistakes that can happen. There is less handling afterwards: the money does not have to be collected, counted and transported, …
  3. Do I have to clean myself?
    This is another consideration that you make as a restaurateur. Do you provide the service or do you let the client do the work himself?

These choices determine the design of the service. You already notice that service design is not a matter of doing or not, but of doing well and deliberately or not. Whether you think about it or not, or make conscious choices or not, in practice you only apply service design.

However, when you do that deliberately, you ensure that your offer is developed in line with the business strategy, the customer’s expectations and the values you want to convey.

At Waai we help companies to apply service design, based on the values of the organization and the expectations of the customer.