Grow your Business with SERVICE DESIGN!

Now that we’ve covered the first three principles of service design in this Blog

Let’s turn to the last two – evidencing and holistic thinking.

When designing a service, it’s good to think of a tangible item, or physical evidence, for your service.


This is something that can prolong the service and act as a reminder for a customer after they’ve used the service – a sort of service souvenir, if you will.


Tourists and travelers bring home evidence from their trips in the form of coffee mugs, snow globes or postcards that depict the places they’ve been, whether it’s a hotel, the French Riviera or Niagara Falls.

Your service souvenir should function similarly. It should extend the experience into a post-service period and remind your customers of the great time they had, thus increasing the chances that they’ll become return customers.


Finally, to help you see the complete, big picture of your service, it’s time to take a holistic approach.

So far, we’ve mostly covered methods to help you see every tiny detail of your service, the goal being to overlook nothing. But it’s just as important not to get lost in the details and fail to see the grand design.


For example, you might be thinking a lot about what people see – but don’t forget what they hear, smell and even taste while interacting with your service. All of these senses can ultimately play a part.

Going back to the barbershop, customers are sure to be affected by the interior design, so rather than having harsh colors, you might want to choose a calming pastel. Thinking holistically will also help you see the potential for alternative sequences that could improve how the service begins, ends or unfolds.

For instance, what if there was always a pot of freshly brewed coffee (yum, yum) in your barbershop? Customers would not only have the option to enjoy a cup; the fresh brew would also fill the shop with a pleasant aroma. Talk about making a good first impression.



Now that we’ve covered the five principles of service-design thinking, it’s time to break out the toolbox.

A stakeholder map is a great way to avoid and solve problems.


You’ll remember that the third principle of service-design thinking is to make the process co-creative and to consider input from all stakeholders. But sometimes this is easier said than done.

  • A stakeholder map, the first tool in the toolbox, can obviate confusion.
  • A stakeholder map provides a visual representation of every stakeholder that is involved with your service. It shows every manager, marketer, government agent and employee.

You can generate this map by making a thorough list that includes every possible stakeholder along with a notation of what that stakeholder’s relationships is to the service and to all other stakeholders.

  • You can then draw lines and use symbols to illustrate those connections, making a visual guide that allows you to fully grasp the complexity of your service.

The map can also use circles of influence, centered around a bull’s-eye. The closer a stakeholder is to the bull’s-eye, the more influence the stakeholder has.


A stakeholder map was of great help when the service-design company DesignThinkers was working with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Specifically, they were working with the NL Agency, a troubled department that was in charge of a policy aimed at building better relations between the government and international business.

DesignThinkers was hired to help the NL Agency reach their goals, and they used a stakeholder map to help figure out why the agency was running into problems. The map was a great asset. It allowed the team to consider the complex relationships between all the businesses and government agents and how they affected the work.

The map made it clear why the agency was mired in conflict and confusion: the managers were spending too much time dealing with confused staff that were trying to follow agency orders as well as those from the influential outside forces.

This allowed the NL Agency to refocus on what was truly important: the customers, businesses and educational institutions that the agency was designed to help.


A customer journey map helps you see the grand design of your service as well as isolate individual features.


A stakeholder map isn’t the only tool that can help you see the big picture of your service. There’s also a tool called the customer journey map that works as a great visual aid for service designers.

A customer journey map can be created by listing and connecting all of the touchpoints and interactions that you make with a customer.

Here, it’s important to reach out to customers and ask them about their experiences to make sure you get each and every part of their journey. After all, they’re the real experts.


So, for your barbershop, did you note the very first interaction,

  • when they noticed your service online?
  • How was their next experience, when they made their appointment over the phone?
  • What happened once they arrived at the shop?
  • Did they find the location easily?
  • Did they like the coffee and magazines that were offered?
  • And were they happy with the haircut and payment options?

These are just a few of the possible interactions that can make up a customer journey map, and when you visualize all these touchpoints in a timeline, they can provide valuable insight, as well as opportunities for improvement.


Let’s say that your number one complaint is that customers feel like they have to wait too long to receive service. They don’t appreciate having to sit around while you make coffee and sweep the floor in between customers.

With the help of a customer journey map, you could easily figure out how to improve their experience and change some of these individual touchpoints. And since the map presents the full picture, you’ll know how a change might affect the other interactions to which they’re connected. So maybe you need to hire another member of staff to sweep and make coffee, allowing you to see customers earlier.

In this way, a customer journey map is a tool for seeing both the big picture and each of the individual touchpoints, which is necessary if you’re going to successfully improve your service.

Whether you’re hoping to make a big improvement or just a small one – like redesigning your website – a customer journey map will show just how that improvement will affect all the other aspects of your service.


Just give it a try and find out yourself:)




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