Why you should design and audit services holistically

February 17, 2017
Posted by in Brain bites: 2 min insights

In both theatre and service design, everything that is happening off-stage has an impact on what is happening on-stage and on the customer’s overall experience. It is therefore key to design and audit services holistically to understand how everything works together and identify the issues and opportunities.

This Christmas I saw a great pantomime. Written and directed by a friend, it took place at a cosy local theatre. Lots of glittery sets and costumes, an evil step-sister and special effects made for a fun show.

Afterwards I was treated to a backstage tour and got a unique insight into how the whole performance happens. There were as many people off-stage as there were on-stage, each with important roles, and though none had singing parts, without them the show could not go on!

There may be a bit of a mental leap between the world of pantomime and the world of service design, but bear with me…

Focus on off-stage interactions

When designing or auditing services, it can be tempting to focus on the ‘on-stage interactions’; those that the customer has directly with the service provider i.e. face-to-face or over the phone. However, these interactions are only part of the story. Behind the scenes there are lots of ‘off-stage interactions’ taking place that are key to the service provision; for example, staff communicating with each other, database lookups and staff rota systems.

One of the best ways to break this, often vast, information down is by using a ‘service blueprint’. The mini example below shows some of the early elements included in a blueprint for booking and taking a flight with an airline.

Service blueprint for an airport

Service blueprints are a great way to denote a high-level overview of the elements of a service and then to delve into the detail of each element. If you want to find out more about designing a great full service experience, sign up to our training course or give us a call.

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