6 Principles of Service Design to Help You Reach Your Customers
Posted by mariahayhow
Three months ago, in a group interview for a position at Distilled, Rob Ousbey asked, “If I were to do a Google search on “coffee” in Seattle at noon on a Saturday, what would it look like?” Still not sure I gave the best answer, but the rest of the interview must have gone well.
Another coffee quote that has been brewing in my mind (I’ll stop now) has to do with service design.
Marc Fontijn, co-founder of the Dutch service design agency 31Volts states, “When you have two coffee shops right next to each other, that each sell the exact same coffee at the exact same price. Service design is what makes you walk into the one and not the other.”
Good service design is a series of choreographed tangible and intangible brand experiences that lead users to differentiate and choose between products and services.
I’ve become increasingly interested in how to pinpoint what makes good service design and how it can enhance businesses and brands. The field is very well explained in This is Service Design Thinking‘s one-minute video below…
One major principle of service design is meeting users where they are, and what better place than the Internet? For the purposes of this audience and those you serve, let’s look at six ways in which service design can be applied to your work online.
Service design helps weave together experiences with brands, creating an ongoing brand relationship.
Take, for example, Lululemon’s “One More Time“campaign, which asks the heylululemon online community members to collectively decide which garments to bring back into production. Lululemon then relays the story of how and why the garment was made in “Sketchpad to Shelf.”
The multiple asks for user-participation in “One More Time” allows users to feel like part of the designer and merchant selection process, while the “SketchPad to Shelf” collateral allows users to experience even more of the creation process.
Bounce rate: Check out Michael King’s blog segment on user journey exercises. It offers insight into how users interact both on- and offline. Consider developing user journeys to create a more user-centric website design, inserting delightful moments throughout the users’ navigation.
Service design improves support system infrastructure while empowering all users.
Kiind, a “zero-waste gift campaign platform,” allows gift-givers the ability to send and track gift card usage. The service allows gift recipients to either use the gift certificate or donate the dollar amount to charity. The gift-giver is notified of how the recipients used the gift, so they can determine the best gifts to give in the future. The gift-giver is also not charged for any unclaimed gift cards.
Seamless operational design and close attention to user needs allows for all involved parties to have an experience worth their engagement or recommendation.
Conversion rate: Look no further than Paddy Moogan’s 18 Tools for CRO. Pinpoint which user testing tools and tactics can identify your users’ needs and predict their future behaviors.
The application of service design principles can expand business offerings, defend brand ethos, and re-affirm customer loyalty.
Look to the popular “Dumb Ways to Die” Internet video sensation, which supported a pledge campaign for rail safety and is now expanding into the plush toy market. The idea to push the adorably dead-defined creatures to plush came from fans of the viral video. While there were other offers for product monetization, Metro spokesperson Leah Waymark stated they “narrowed it to what we thought would be most important, and that’s the brand integrity […] Finding a way to engage with people in different ways and keep the conversation alive was foremost.”
The focus on maintaining the original piece’s brand integrity not only maintains consistency but prolongs the character(s) of the video in a meaningful way. Service design places a large emphasis on the user relationship, not just a single interaction.
Content strategy: Look at Stephanie Chang’s breakdown of consumer purchasing involvement outlines how to determine the, “marketability of a product.” Note the differences between “think” and “feel” purchases in order to create content catered to your consumers’ expectations and level of brand investment.
The best examples of service design aren’t built with data in mind, but by data itself.
Jetpac, a city app guide, taps into Instagram via image analysis algorithms, to determine an area’s feel. The data analysis determines people’s moods in the photos, using even their facial attributes to curate the “Happiest places in town” or the background colors to compose “Scenic Hikes.” The app uses publicly posted photos to vote up specific areas in each city to compose these lists.
The Jetpac app portrays data in a very personable and quirky way, all too relatable for travelers looking to grab a cup of joe while avoiding “Hipster hangouts.” The ability to provide a service for people by other locals’ input helps to create more personalized and unique experiences.
Applied online…Keyword research: No one says it better than THE Kate Morris, “If you want to know what content to write to rank for terms, ask the people who are searching for that topic what they are looking for, and write that. This changes how we do research, but I think for the better.” Check in with your consumers early and often, and build content accordingly.
In regards to user expectations for online experiences, good informational design and content should allow the user to understand the information presented to them and offer a logical next step in their decision process. Service design uses the same navigable path, but seeks to provide moments of delight.
Grey Poupon meets its consumers in an online space, but in lieu of begging for Facebook likes their digital campaign judges whether people actually belong in “The Society of Good Taste.” The application process is unique to Grey Poupon, with the same British snarkiness seen in their earlier TV marketing campaigns.
Service design thrives upon creating an open dialogue between creators and consumers. Brands that give their users something to talk about and a space to discuss enable a series of more notable brand relationship.
Influencer amplification: Brands that celebrate their users ultimately create influencers, who as Rand states, “need new unique content to share, all the time.” Continuing the conversation is ultimately continuing the consumer relationship; brands should build experiences that enable ongoing conversations, to be seen as and support a higher level of service.
Each touch point with a brand be it on or offline should carry equal recognition from the user. Good service design supports and infrastructure of consistent messaging, in a variety of unique ways.
Cards Against Humanity, the self-proclaimed “party game for horrible people,” launched “12 Days of Holiday Bullshit,” with 100,000 people paying $12/ea for an unknown array of gifts over 12 days. Cards Against Humanity obviously prides itself on witty content and the campaign collateral held its own. The brand messaging is consistent from the order summary email, the FAQ response to complaints regarding late shipments, and a 12-day recap website.
Service design is built to offer the user a seamless series of brand experiences with moments of delight. Cards Against Humanity ensured each piece of collateral was in its brand tone of voice and was delivered in a novel way.
Highly targeted content: Get the full tutorial from Kyra Kuik’s post which details how you can build a consistent brand experience, brand identification, and brand trust.
Service design is designing notable experiences in consistently novel ways.
I’m truly excited by the potential of service design as a driver of both good user-centric design and innovation, online. It’s great to see the mesh of a seemingly intangible field produce tangible results.
Please leave your thoughts or comments below!
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