Here in the U.S., the news is crowded with stories about President Joe Biden’s ambitious federal improvement plans that could double the nation’s short-term spending to $14 trillion.

The ability for the government to afford these programs rests on quality services, a stark reality that goes a long way to answer why services need to be designed.

Our nation’s economy is complicated and well beyond this discussion, but some facts help explain the importance of the service economy.  The pandemic caused the loss of approximately 22 million jobs, many in the service sector such as hospitality, restaurants and retail. Yet the service economy is enduring and about half of those jobs came back as of January 2021. Moreover, those temporary losses, unlike other sectors, don’t dampen the rosy projections for continued service sector growth.

Depending on The Service Sector to Whittle Down the U.S. Deficit

The Biden Administration is also hoping that its plans don’t add more to the deficit and hopefully an ability to pay some of the debt down.  A tall order, indeed.

Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. deficit equaled $17.4 trillion, and between then and when President Joe Biden took office, It soared to $21.6 trillion, a figure that equals the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, the economic index that tallies the output of goods and services. To drive down the deficit those numbers will require an uptick in output from the nation’s economy, which is dominated by services.

Biden legislative proposals include the now passed America Rescue Plan, $1.9 trillion, the America Jobs Plan, $2.3 trillion, and America’s Family Plan, $1.8 trillion. There are also discussions underway to complete a police reform bill by January 2121.

As an aside, because we use ‘trillion’ so frequently it has become more like an adverb than a noun. In actual numbers, a trillion is 12 zeros, or one thousand million. Perhaps an anecdote helps grapple with the enormity: the earth is 4 billion years old, less than half a trillion.

The Service Sector

Services make up roughly two-thirds of GDP in the U.S.  Industrialized nations also rely on a strong service sector to boost their economies. So, it becomes rather apparent that failure in this service would cause enormous harm to governments, businesses, to employees, and ultimately to everyone – by lowering the standard of living (available goods and services and ability to pay for them).

The bulwark of this nation’s economy has always been the Fortune 500 companies, and today, the majority of them are service-based, providing customers with financial services, hospitality, retail, health, human services, information technology and education.  The government is also in the mix, providing a great number of services to citizens.

The Service Sector Depends on Quality Services

A service is an intangible transaction that requires a seller and buyer, or provider and end-user. The only way that transaction occurs for a provider is if there is a willing end-user.  Therefore, an end-user must believe that the service will fulfill their desire or need.  So, the first axiom of a quality service is to achieve a user-need.

The second, in logical flow, is to create a satisfactory end-user experience, with the user achieving their intention, a deliverable for one, but a reliable path or journey to that aim.  This is the challenge all service providers face.

Solving that challenge requires someone skilled in Service Design, a field whose approach and techniques are user-centric—focused on the user.  A skilled service designer will follow Service Design’s user-centric approach to meet user needs.

Some Attributes of Quality Services

  • User-centric
  • Meets user needs
  • Scales to meet new, expanding needs
  • Creates individual experiences while ensuring consistent delivery

If you want to learn more about becoming a service designer check out the International Service Design Institute