Service Design is not to be confused with customer service. The practice is much more about planning, testing, implementing and monitoring services to fulfill users’ needs. When it comes to customer service, many services are entirely automated or moving in that direction in order to keep up with user expectations. So, face-to-face interactions are becoming increasingly rare, and irrelevant.

Service Design focuses on the user, using techniques that leverage technology and methodology to produce quality user experiences.  This can only occur when technology and process operate in tandem, seamlessly and without distractions to the user.  When operating as intended, the service should guide users to fulfill a pre-designed outcome. 

If you’re ready to improve your customer experiences through Service Design techniques, the following seven essential techniques lay the foundation for Service Design and will serve not only as an introduction; but also, as a guide. 

Technique 1


When practicing Service Design, it’s important to identify market segments that can be shaped into valid personas. Developing personas helps define who you’re trying to reach with your service and how your service matches your users’ needs. As you create personas, you’ll find that this process breaks down silos and shows gaps in communications to users, along with what is needed to fill the gap in terms of your messaging. Build the personas out by categorizing those who attend and participate in your organization’s programs and services. Seek to validate your assumptions by making hypotheses and testing them.

Technique 2


A Service Concept highlights your organization’s mission and passion, but is not a Mission or Vision Statement. The Service Concept follows a specific formula and is valuable for deciding quickly whether the organization should adopt an idea before investing, particularly new programs and services.  Additionally, the Service Concept helps organizations serves to determine to keep a program and service operational. 

Technique 3


A Demand Model shows a marketing approach to building four stages of awareness-to-demand for the purpose of adding more users to new or existing programs and services. Demand models are ideal for progressing through a complicated message or communicating multiple messages over time to achieve a desired result.

Technique 4


By creating a Journey Map, you’re looking at how an individual user (your persona) follows a path of a service or program. Through a Journey Map, you’re able to discover the changes in mood and the different needs that come about during a user’s experience. The Journey Map will lead to ways of improving programs and services because it will enable you to identify possible problems and challenges that are getting in the way of a user completing a program or service or preventing the occurrence a favorable experience. 

Technique 5


Service Blueprints are used to storyboard a service and visualize how the program or service looks and feels to users.  It shows how an organization’s functions come together to create user experiences. The blueprint depicts how a service unfolds, shows opportunities to automate routine activities and how to fix any glitches in order to run smoothly.

Technique 6


 A touchpoint plan is a map demonstrating the intersections where the users and service interact. Touchpoints are identified within the blueprint framework and are intentional messages to users. For instance, they can be used either when there might be the reluctance to move forward or to seek feedback from users at critical junctures for ensuring successful service completion. Touchpoints should also be thought of as “listening opportunities” where simple surveys or split tests are introduced to understand users’ mindsets at any juncture.  These tests may include usage metrics, such as how far users go before dropping off.

Technique 7


Service outcomes – in search of positive outcomes – are measured using ServQUAL or ServPERF models for detecting user satisfaction. This is to make sure that services and programs meet the business or organization’s needs, as well as solving an unmet need of users.  It’s important to check programs and services for proper standards and processes.

Next Steps 


The International Service Design Institute offers courses and resources to help you become an expert Service Designer. We have made it our mission to bring clarity, organization and real-world application to the field of Service Design through a systems approach, combined with behavior psychology and usability, so you can create more meaningful customer experiences and stronger connection throughout your brand. 

Well-designed services can reach their goals reliably, and are repeatable, and scaleable. They enjoy of multitude of benefits, ranging from new and increased revenue, stakeholder engagement (including difficult market segments to reach i.e. millennials whom will make up nearly 2/3s of the buying market in the next ten years), motivated market segments, new lines of business development, limited waste and more efficient use of resources.

But, how does a service become well-designed? These seven techniques are a starting point. However, there’s much to learn. Service Design is a field of study focused on  the user and features models and tools for visualizing aspects of a service and developing its structure. Service Design saves companies time and money because they no longer need to rely on trial and error. By visualizing a service, developers can arrange people, process, functions and technology to achieve their desired service results.

Service Design uses Personas, Service Concepts, Demand Models, Journey Maps, and Service Blueprints, along with Touchpoints and more advanced tools like ServQUAL and ServPERF in order to plan out their communications with users, mostly for feedback, performance, and improvement.

If you need help with developing better customer experiences, the first step is to sign up for a course that teaches you the foundations, gives you a complete roadmap and show you practical applications for improving your services. 

Check out our website to find the best fit for you. We offer courses for every level, from Apprentice to Master, each building on each other and giving you the tools to become an expert service designer.

Click here to get started!