Sprocket recently attended the annual Service Design Global Conference in Dublin – a collection of more than 800 professionals from around the world that focus on this black magic. While amazingly popular in Europe, it’s just getting started in the US.  

Service Design Global Conference Dublin

If you’re like most professionals in the US, you’re not likely to have heard the term yet. If you’re in the minority of those that have, you probably have a fuzzy notion about what it is and what it can do for your business.  

Service Design is a holistic design practice that seeks to create service experiences that are effective, easy, and enjoyable for users and efficient and profitable for businesses. The craft is relatively new (you can’t easily go to school for this stuff yet), and many people get into it through the doors of operations, UX, or marketing (like me). It’s a unique way of thinking that considers the needs of users as well as the way the business operates to serve those needs.  

So what’s in it for you and your business?  

In short, service design is an incredibly powerful strategic framework and method to help you grow with your existing customers. Here are three elements of service design that you should care about if you care about growing your business with your existing customers: 

Service design is human (customer)-centered: using a service design method begins with learning more about your customers, their needs, and motivations. Most of our clients haven’t formally defined their customers and their journeys; after going through this exercise we always identify “low hanging fruit” as well as long-term innovation opportunities. 

Service design is business-focused: service design connects the dots between the customer’s experience and the efforts taken by the organization to enable those experiences. It describes the interactions between customer and organization. Want to see where your organization is succeeding or failing at meeting customer needs? One of the key artifacts of service design is a journey map or service blueprint that visually shows what’s going on. And it’s not just for services; this mindset and approach is fantastic for product businesses; after all, a product is simply a service delivered in a moment. 

Service design is future-proof: service design isn’t centered on a particular technology or tool, rather it’s a framework for understanding the dance between customer and organization. This makes it an enduring method to describe, improve, and innovate services.  

If you find yourself stuck in a growth rut, use a service design framework to get yourself kick-started. And if you need some help, you know where to find us.