Service design is all about making the service you deliver useful, usable, efficient, effective and desirable.
It’s not intangible or about the feeling you give customers or users. It’s about actual things, which service designers might call touch points. If you commission a service designer they might:
- Help you identify problem areas and generate ideas for improvement
- Redesign your products to improve the way they allow your customers to interact while they use a service.
- Design spaces so that they deliver a service more efficiently.
- Create printed material, websites, uniforms, adverts and the branded things that allow you to communicate what your service is all about.
A service design project is a more strategic project which uses design techniques like thorough client research, collaborative idea generation and early stage prototyping and testing to deliver services that are built around the real needs of the client, that simplify complex problems and deliver solutions that are future focused and cost conscious.
Why use service design?
Three quarters of the UK economy is due to services and 80% of employment is service related. While half of the UK’s manufacturers think design is crucial to competitiveness, our service industry.
Whether that’s financial services, retailers or public services, are less convinced. Only one in 10 services businesses thinks design can set them apart and make them more competitive.
That means the UK’s £1trillion service economy and its service business and public services are missing many opportunities to distinguish themselves from competitors by improving their offering, better communicating what they do or providing innovative new services.
Key reasons why investing in service design can help:
- Designers have the tools and experience to understand what users want and need
- Their work combines technology, function and aesthetics, it’s not just about the surface level
- They are issues-centred, and work on anything from saving the planet to making business opportunities
The importance of services to our economy keeps growing and as our expectations of value for money from our public services keep rising, designers have started working with service providers to help them make their services better.
This approach is often called service design, but it’s maybe easier to start thinking about why it is that designers can help services.