Our services Service design
When a consumer uses a product or service, he or she is always hoping to achieve a greater goal; having a fun day out with the family, for example, or getting the right kind of help smoothly in hospital. That’s not news. But understanding your customer at every point in their journey, and making sure that your organisation contributes to that journey, that’s another matter.
Fabrique, thoroughbred service designers
It’s no secret that when it comes to communication, interaction and transaction, it is important to always keep the big picture in mind. For years, Fabrique has been designing and building many different platforms for clients, and has connected these to form clever journeys. Print, web, apps, spatial design, and more. Together, these platforms make up the total customer experience; awareness of this fact is embedded deep into our DNA. For that reason, our design teams are made up of researchers and service designers that always keep a helicopter view and, together with our clients, ensure that no single platform remains an island.
To create a great design, you first have to fall in love with the problem.
Service Design, Design Thinking or Customer Experience (CX) Design?
The mentality and activities that together form service design aren’t new. A number of other terms are used that have a slightly different viewpoint or scope, such as “design thinking” or “customer experience design”. Now that the concept of service design is becoming more widely known, people ask us more often what the distinction is. Honestly, in most cases we don’t think it really matters, and the differences are small. But if you really want to know the nitty-gritty details, just ask!
The three ingredients of service design
Each service design project has three important aspects
- Orchestration; ordering platforms in space and time, in journeys or on maps.
- Research, more specifically design research, such as context mapping and interviews.
- Organisation. Your organisation must be able to offer and support the required user experience.
For a definition in one sentence we use the below, based on the work of Cheryn Flanagan:
Service Design is the orchestration of touchpoints, places, processes and people, which together support the complete user experience.
Seen this way, the actual final design and production of the platforms is not a part of service design. But they are, of course, connected very closely! The briefings for all platforms follow from the service design.
As mentioned, ordering platforms and people in space and time is an important aspect of service design. This orchestration is the central engine. It is for this reason that so much is written and said about making journeys and maps, by others as well as by us. Customer experience maps, stakeholder maps, service blueprints and more: many maps are so complex that they overshoot their target and end up in a desk drawer or on a distant hard drive. That’s why we always make sure we keep the end goal in mind when we make our maps: do we want to give a quick overview or are we trying to convey in-depth information? A good map is user-friendly in itself!
Secondly, within service design it is important to understand that the context in which people use the service is so unpredictable, that to create an effective product, it is no longer sufficient to depend only on the designer’s intuition. Instead, we use pragmatic design research to uncover often surprising insights. This way, we often get an idea of the customer journeys and the motivations, requirements and irritations of various target groups within as little as a few weeks.
Finally, for organisations, in other words for our clients, it is often a laborious process to support a new brand-oriented customer experience from beginning to end. Branded communication, with staff as well as with customers, often leaves something to be desired. Team members’ needs and frustrations are not always verbalised clearly. A service designer will help to improve this situation and will collaborate with the client to optimise processes, tools, skills and, not unimportantly, the right attitude!
Three examples of service design
Van Gogh multimedia tour
When the Van Gogh Museum renewed the way the permanent collection was presented, it also introduced a matching multimedia tour through the museum. This unusual tour was designed to get people interested in the museum as well as in the life and work of Van Gogh.
In the first phase of the project, our research focused on both the visitors as well as the organisation. We analysed the available data, held interviews, observed visitors and mapped the visitor journey and the relevant touchpoints. Based on this design research we formulated design principles, always using the visitor experience as a base.
Schiphol self-service border control
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol asked us: How can we best manage the increasing passenger flow? We researched the situation and created a new vision on the process; we took away the intimidating obstacles surrounding border control that stop and check travellers and instead created a flow that helps travellers get where they need to be. We turned the control booths by 90 degrees and developed self-service e-gates that better match the passenger streams and experience of Schiphol Airport. Together we ensured that the flow, the hardware, and the interfaces are not only user friendly for the traveller, but also for the border control employees.
Online service for housing association De Key
Over the past few years, housing association De Key in Amsterdam has been transitioning from a service provider only to a corporation that allows residents to handle their own affairs. Fabrique guided this development with a new service design. We spoke extensively with customer service, repair service and administrative teams. Requesting maintenance, signing and cancelling rental agreements: it is now all possible online. At the same time, we also took away some unnecessary steps in the underlying administrative process. Tenants can now take care of their own affairs, 24 hours a day, and De Key can work more efficiently.
A service designer will first consider the challenges ahead. Can the customer experience of a product or service be improved? Or is it unclear what this experience is and are customer journeys not yet defined? Together, we will look at the strength of your brand, the clarity of communication and visual identity. Finally, we will discuss which knowledge and commitment is available in your organisation, how it can be put to the best use, and how we should divide the tasks. In a first meeting we can discuss the most important points, so that you can quickly make changes for the better.
Would you like to know more about service design?
Please contact Pieter.
Or take a look at a selection of our projects concerning service design in our portfolio.