Your Service Design Toolkit

The Service Design Toolkit helps you design customer-centered services. It focuses on the interactions that customers have with your service, as well as the behind-the-scenes people and processes that enable these interactions. By thinking about your customer service in this holistic way, it allows you to design a better experience for the end user.
At Skyline, we have been using service design to transform digital services that integrate seamlessly with existing physical services. We have helped retailers integrate their digital presence with their high street stores, and worked with charities to connect people through services such as automating their marketing activities.
Through this work, we have developed a framework for how we approach to service design.
Start with user requirements
We always start with user needs. Do research to identify real user needs, and design your service to help users achieve their goals.
You can use a variety of research methods, from observing users using products and services to developing personas. If you already have a service, evaluate the existing customer journey to find opportunities and pain points. You can also evaluate your competitors, think of their services as free prototypes. Be creative about who your competitors are. Uber is competing with taxi companies, but by getting someone from A to B, Google Maps is also a competitor.

Gather input from across your organisation 
Because services involve so many components, gathering input from across your organisation is essential.
We frequently find organisational structure is one of the biggest blockers to a successful user experience and it is, therefore, essential to get buy-in and input from across your team. Run co-design sessions, where people from across the organisation work together to identify opportunities and brainstorm solutions.
You should observe and interview not only your front-line workers such as contractors, service providers or stakeholders, but also the behind-the-scenes team members that work on supporting processes that deliver your service such as warehouse staff.
Map out and integrate your service
Create a service blueprint to join all the disparate touchpoints, people, and processes that comprise your service. Blueprinting allows you to evaluate the service holistically, identify potential bottlenecks and simplify the experience by eliminating unnecessary steps.

Blueprints are focussed on the delivery of the service but are still customer-centric. We split touchpoints into front-stage, those that the customer sees and interacts with such as shop floor staff, email comms or a website, and back-stage, interactions and processes that happen behind the scenes to deliver the service.
Use prototypes to test new innovation
Use prototypes to explore and test different design solutions before you commit to building anything. Prototypes can be anything from paper sketches to an interactive website. The key thing to remember is that prototypes are design props that are used to learn. They should be malleable and discarded once they have served their purpose.
We worked with Public Health England to design an online assessment platform for health apps. During the design phase, we used online tools such as Google Docs and Gmail to simulate an online platform, allowing us to quickly learn what sort of tools we needed to build and evaluate the content the service needed.

Test, Launch and iterate
Successful services are used over and over again and improve through constant iteration and optimisation. Focus on processes, not projects. Identify metrics to evaluate performance and use this data to drive new features and remove features that aren’t working. This is how services evolve from a minimum viable product to something as established and successful as Uber, Google Maps or Airbnb.
Ultimately, service design is another lens through which to view user-centered design and uses many of the techniques and principles familiar to interaction designers. By applying these techniques to a variety of touchpoints, we can design an exceptional customer experience that works across all offline and digital channels.

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