Service Design is the activity responsible for organizing and planning infra-structure, communication, people and every other element that composes a service. It’s goal is to improve the service’s quality through the consumer’s interaction towards the service.

Focused on the user and his/her needs, always seeking to improve the service’s relevance. Service Design was a design course’s subject that came up in 1991 at the International School of Design in Colonia, Germany, taught by Professor Dr. Michael Erlhoff. Some Service Design’s tools and concepts were used even during the previous decade but these were listed as marketing and management subjects, and service blueprints were used to organize services.

“... there’s no job meant to be worked by one person, I might be a service design leader but that implies that I’m a leader at guiding a service design process, managing the service design thoughts… It’s a multi-disciplinary job, it’s not meant to be done by one single person. Service Design’s concept is based upon people who have different cultures and ideas so that we can gather different perspectives…” – Melina Alves

Service Design depends on a few principles and according to Marc Stickdorn on “This Is Service Design Doing” – Service Design’s 5 main guidelines are:

Focus on the user: Just like other Design areas, the focus is the user, and his/her perspective guide the creation and the tests to the service.

Co-creative: rethinking service it becomes noticeable that stakeholders and employees participation in the process is extremely important so that they become aware about the changes that might come out of it from the beginning. Also their participation assures that the service designer is aligned with the client’s values and expectations.

Sequential: Series of interactions and contact points produce user’s perception about the experience. This sequence is very important and the points taken from it have to be consistent.

Evidence: Services are intangible and since you cannot feel it or have a taste of it before the purchase, there’s the need of having evidence of all the non-physical elements before delivering it.

Holistic: All services elements and environments might be taken into consideration.

“Service Design supports the correction of routes or the improvement of the products’ and services’ conception of experience and even interaction.” – Melina Alves

Service designers are professionals experienced in different knowledge areas, such as operation managers, administrators, interaction designers graphic or product-wise, and experts in other areas.

These professionals create a structure and design all of the service’s process from the beginning or redesigning an existent one. They always focus on the user experience on interaction with the service.

Laura Keller, a North American designer, divides Service Design into four main stages: exploration, creation, reflection and implementation.

Exploration: In this stage the service designer develops all the questions related to functioning and experience. These questions and the research are the guidelines used by the designer to better understand the company’s and the service’s image from the user’s point of view, providing the designer with insights about the service’s opportunities and threats.

Creation: Now that the problem or the opportunity is highlighted, it’s time to create a solution for it. In this stage is quite important to have a multi-disciplinary team because the different perspectives might complement the solution in different ways and making the team’s Know How diversified. It’s also important that in this stage the employees, stakeholders and users be involved, making sure that all the expectations are aligned.

Reflection: After filtering all the of the ideas from the previous stage it comes to developing prototypes and testing the ideas conceived. It’s essential that the entire team be able to figure out and visualize this service’s functioning. In order to complete this stage simulations focusing on detecting flaws in this new process are made.

Implementation: So that this stage is successfully executed it’s necessary that not only the Service Design team can visualize the new idea as a process, but also all of the employees that will take part on providing it. These employees must understand what changed in the process, and how it’s structured now.

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