Design
October 20, 2022

Designing A Service: The 7 Key Activities To Map A Service Experiences

As a Service designer, how do you create meaningful and memorable experiences for your clients? In this article we'll cover mapping an experience from the beginning to the end.

by 
Roald Larsen

Service design is the process of designing excellent customer experiences. Understanding the needs and wants of users, as well as the company's goals, is essential for a successful customer experience. The process usually begins with research, ideation, and prototyping before moving on to testing and launch. There are many tools available for mapping out customer interactions, including journey maps and blueprints. These tools help service designers identify problem points and areas for improvement within the customer experience. User research is an important part of designing a service. Stay up-to-date with surveys or interviews to gather data about user experiences at every step of their journey. Storyboards and scenario maps can also be helpful in mapping out the customer experience. To create an exceptional experience that meets the needs of your customers and exceeds their expectations, it's crucial to understand them at each stage of their journey.

What is Service Design?

Service design is a relatively new field, and there is still much debate about what it actually entails. Some people argue that it is simply a rebranding of existing disciplines such as experience design or operations management. Others believe that it is a distinct field with its own methods and approaches.

Regardless of its exact definition, service design is becoming increasingly important as more and more businesses move to a service-based model. Customers expect seamless, personalized experiences from the brands they interact with in our increasingly connected world. Service design helps businesses understand their customers' needs and create services that meet them.

Service Design Process

The service design process is a series of steps that help designers create comprehensive, useful, and effective service designs. By understanding the needs and wants of users, as well as the business goals of the company, designers can map out the user experience from start to finish. This process usually begins with research, followed by ideation and prototyping, before finally moving into testing and launch.

Through research, designers gain insights into user behavior, motivations, and expectations. This helps them identify problems and opportunities for improvement within the service. Ideation is then used to generate ideas for how the service could be improved. These ideas are explored and refined through prototypes, which are tested with users to ensure they meet their needs. Finally, the service is launched and monitored to ensure it continues to meet user needs over time.

Tools for Mapping Experiences:

There are a variety of tools available for mapping out customer experiences. Some of the most popular options include customer journey maps, service blueprints, and process maps.

Customer Journey Maps:


A customer journey map is a tool that can be used to visualize the steps that a customer takes during their interaction with a company. This type of map can be used to identify pain points and areas for improvement.

Service Blueprints:


A service blueprint is a tool that can be used to map out all of the touchpoints that a customer has with a company. This type of map can be used to identify areas for improvement and optimize the customer experience.

Process Maps:


A process map is a tool that can be used to visualize the steps involved in a process. This type of map can be used to identify bottlenecks and streamline processes.

1. Personas

When designing a service, it's important to have a clear understanding of who will be using it and what their needs are. This is where personas come in. Personas are fictional characters that represent your target users. They can be based on real data, like demographics and user behavior, or they can be completely made up. Either way, they should be detailed enough to give you a good sense of who they are and what they need from your service.

There are a few different ways to create personas. One is to simply make them up based on your own observations and assumptions about your target users. Another is to use data from user research, like surveys and interviews. And finally, you can combine both methods by using data to inform your assumptions and observations.

Whichever method you choose, the goal is to end up with a few well-rounded personas that cover the range of users you expect to encounter. Once you have your personas, you can start mapping out their experiences with your service.

2. Experience Maps

A good experience map will help you to understand how your customers interact with your product or service, and identify any pain points they may encounter. To create an experience map, you'll need to start by talking to your customers and observing their behavior. Once you have a good understanding of their journey, you can start to map out their experience.

There are a few different ways to create an experience map. You can use a mind map, a customer journey map, or even just a simple list. Whichever method you choose, make sure that you include all the touchpoints that your customer has with your product or service.

Once you've created your experience map, take a look at it and see if there are any areas where your customer might be getting frustrated. If so, try to come up with some solutions that would make their experience better. Remember, the goal is to make the customer's journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible!

3. User Research and Surveys

User research is the process of investigating how users interact with a product or service. This can be done through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and other methods. Surveys are a common tool used to collect data about user behavior. They can be used to understand how users feel about a product or service, what they think of its features, and how likely they are to recommend it to others.

Interviews are another way to gather data about user experiences. They allow researchers to ask open-ended questions and probe deeper into why users feel the way they do. Focus groups are similar to interviews, but they involve a group of people instead of just one. This can be helpful for getting different perspectives on a issue.

Designing a service requires understanding how users interact with it. User research can help uncover areas where the experience can be improved. Surveys and interviews are two common ways to collect data about user experiences.

4. Storyboards

When it comes to designing a service, storyboards can be extremely helpful in mapping out the customer experience. By creating a storyboard, you can visualize how the customer will interact with your service at each step of the way. This can help you to identify potential pain points and areas for improvement.

When creating a storyboard, be sure to consider the following:

- The customer's journey: What are the steps that the customer will take when using your service? What are their goals at each stage?

- The customer's needs: What does the customer need to do in order to complete their journey? What information do they need?

- The interactions: How will the customer interact with your service? Will they use it online, in-person, or both?

Once you have considered these factors, you can begin creating your storyboard. To do this, you can use a tool like Google Sheets or Excel. Simply create a table with rows for each step of the journey and columns for different elements such as task, goal, interaction, etc. Then, fill in the details for each row.

If you're not sure where to start, there are plenty of storyboarding templates available online. Simply search for "storyboard template" and you'll find plenty of options to choose from.

5. Scenarios

When you think about designing a service, it's important to consider all of the potential scenarios in which your users might interact with it. To do this, you can create what are known as user journey maps.

User journey maps are a great way to visualize the various touchpoints that a customer has with your service. They can help you identify potential areas for improvement, and also give you a better understanding of how your customers experience your service.

There are a few different ways to create user journey maps. One popular method is to use sticky notes on a whiteboard or piece of paper. You can also use online tools like Google Drawings or Mural.

When creating your user journey map, be sure to include all of the steps that a customer would take when using your service. This includes everything from discovery and research, to purchase and support. Don't forget about those key moments when something goes wrong, or when a customer has an amazing experience!

Once you've created your user journey map, take some time to review it and see if there are any areas where you can improve the customer experience. Are there any steps that are unclear? Any pain points that need to be addressed? Use this exercise as an opportunity to make your service even better!

6. Customer Journey Maps

A customer journey map is a visualization of the steps your customers take to complete a task, such as making a purchase. It helps you understand what they need and want at each stage, so you can design a better experience for them.

Creating a customer journey map is simple:

1. Draw a line to represent the journey from start to finish.

2. Add circles along the line to indicate key touchpoints, or places where the customer interacts with your service.

3. Include arrows to show how the customer moves from one touchpoint to the next.

4. Write in what happens at each touchpoint, from the customer's perspective.

5. Repeat for different types of customers or different tasks (such as making a return).

Customer journey maps are an essential tool for designing great services. By understanding your customers' needs and wants at each stage of their journey, you can design an experience that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations.

7. Empathy Maps

Empathy maps are a tool that help designers understand their users’ needs, wants, and motivations. By mapping out users’ emotions and thoughts, designers can get a better sense of what they are trying to achieve and design accordingly.

There are four main elements to an empathy map:

1. Users – who are we designing for?

2. Needs – what do they need from the service?

3. Wants – what do they want from the service?

4. Motivations – what motivates them to use the service?

Empathy maps can be used at any stage of the design process, but they are particularly useful when starting out, as they help to focus on the user’s needs rather than our own assumptions about what they need.

Conclusion

Service design is a crucial process for creating excellent customer experiences. By understanding the needs and wants of users, as well as the company's business goals, designers can map out the user experience from start to finish. This process usually begins with research, ideation, and prototyping before finally moving into testing and launch. There are a variety of tools available for mapping out customer experiences, including customer journey maps, service blueprints, and process maps. These tools can help service designers identify pain points and areas for improvement within the customer experience. User research is an essential part of designing a service. Surveys and interviews are two common ways to collect data about user experiences. Storyboards and scenarios are also helpful in mapping out the customer experience. By understanding your customers' needs and wants at each stage of their journey, you can create an experience that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations.

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