What is Service Design?

Service Design is a practice of innovating (creating new) or improving existing services through research, developing ideas and testing customer experiences. It is all about making services we deliver more useful, usable, desirable and enjoyable for clients. Every touchpoint within the client’s interaction with a product or a service is designed to deliver experiences based on the brand’s promise, and to respond to customer needs and expectations. It is both a creative and analytical methodology to improve and innovate service offerings and to innovatively design new ones.

Service Design Thinking

Thinking like a Designer can transform the way you develop your visual communication, products, services, processes, strategy, or the way you solve your organisation problems. Designing a service around customer experience means applying best practices to the design and prototyping process to deliver an intuitive, simple and enjoyable service. Design and design thinking are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century like science and technology did in the last century. Service Design helps to innovate (create new) or improve (existing) services to make them more useful, usable, desirable and enjoyable for clients, and efficient as well as effective for organisations. It is a new holistic, multi-disciplinary, integrative field.

Services Today
Developing Service Design at Coca-Cola
How The Coca-Cola Company used service design to take a human-centred approach to Shared Services.


Some of the key stages in a service design project and its deliverables.

‘As Is’ Customer Journey Map
Mapping the current customer journey from a customer perspective results in an improved understanding of end-to-end holistic customer experience, existing pain-points and areas for improvements. Seeing a service through customers’ eyes offers powerful insights that make customers’ expectations, experiences, and behaviours more tangible. It provides deeper understanding of their emotions as they interact and transact with a business.
Customer Journey (Re)Design
In this stage we identify opportunities to re-design the customer journey and better fullfill customer needs and expectations. This typically follows the ‘As Is’ journey mapping and captures ideas how the experience can be improved, how to reduce number of pain points or ease customer frustrations, how to offer additional customer support around ‘moments that matter the most’ to our customers.
Service Blueprint
Future state Customer Journey Map is followed by a detailed Service Blueprint. This comprehensive document shows the service delivery process from the customer's perspective, including technologies, teams, processes, digital and physical touch-points, defined use cases, features, operational framework. The blueprint is also an operational tool that describes the nature and the characteristics of the service interaction in enough detail to verify, implement and maintain it.
Designing Service Touch-points
The next step is to define scope of work based on identified service features (in the Blueprint). This includes designing and delivering specific service touch-points: websites, mobile App, digital interface and its functionality, service centre, forms, customer documents, customer communication, etc. The best practice here focuses on early prototyping and testing those touch-points with a representative group of customers to iterate and improve before releasing to the market.

When service design thinking methodology is applied a service is designed around end to end customer experience rather than around the process flow. A key principle here is to integrate service end-users into the design and prototyping process that will help to fine-tune a service model and deliver an intuitive, enjoyable and empowering customer experience.

Business Value of developing Service Design capability:

Improved Customer Experience and Retention
Scale and Efficiency
Technology & Business Model Innovation
Design-led Business Performance

Customer Journey Map is used as one of the main tools shared across service design. It captures customers emotions and experience throughout the service model. It also helps to ideate the future aspirational customer experience. Every touchpoint within the client’s interaction with a product or a service is designed to deliver experiences based on the brand’s promise, and responding to client needs and expectations.

Business Value:

Scale, adaptability, agility and innovation. In today’s volatile and rapidly chaining world, these are essentials that every company needs to grow and to remain relevant. Service design thinking that is focus on customer perspective and user experience is a real game changer and a raising new big direction across many industries. More and more we realise the necessity to become customer centric as opposite to process centric. In fact companies are seeking balance between excellent lean processes and excellent customer service. Driven by adaptation of new digital technologies services are being designed around customer needs and experience fusing digital and physical environments. Service Design methodology is entering service world the same way as Lean/ Six Sigma/ Operational Excellence was entering services world 7-8 years ago.

…Because people have a computer or a smartphone in their hands at any given second, the individual moment they’re in is now the most important part of their customer journey…Across the entire customer journey, every touch-point is a brand experience.

Great client experience design is about injecting purpose and empathy into everything a brand does. Numerous research has shown that over 70 percent of buying experiences are based on how clients feel they are being treated—and a large part of that has to do with showing the client we (as the brand) care about them, and value their business. Because in a world where physical and virtual environments rapidly converge, people have a digital device in their hands at any given second, and the individual moment they are in is now the most important part of the customer journey. Across the entire customer journey, every touch-point is a brand experience.


The development of service design has been increasingly focused on the ‘transformation’ of existing service propositions. In addition to being a driver of innovation, design nowadays plays an active role in the transformation of businesses and its operating models.

Service Design at Scale
Only banks that become design-led ’digital houses’ will survive ongoing disruption…
Financial Services by Design
Banking and investment management industry embraces design thinking...
Guideline for luxury companies to become more client-centric and constantly evolve to offer their clients unique, seamless digitally enabled and personal experiences.