Customer-oriented service with Service Design


Customer-oriented service with Service Design

More and more products are becoming digital services. From CDs to Spotify, from videos to Netflix and also cars and drills can be rented as a service instead of a product. But how do you compete with a service? Service design is the design discipline that deals with shaping services. I talk to Birgit Mager, service design professor and organizer of the Service Design Network Global Conference on 27 October.

What exactly is service design?

From a customer-oriented vision, service designers work on the innovation of strategic positions, the involvement of new technologies in innovative processes and the improvement of services with the aim of increasing value for both the customer and the service provider. Service design can be applied by small and large organizations; in government, healthcare and the wider public sector. Service design shares the same customer focus of related disciplines, such as User Experience design (UX) and customer experience (CX) and therefore reaches many facets of an organization; from marketing and strategy to IT and innovation.”

Why have I never heard of this service design?

“Service design is a relatively young discipline that originated about twenty years ago. With the current exponential growth of complex, often digitally managed services in combination with the recognition of the customer experience as a positive differentiator, service design is growing and evolving at a rapid pace. Although you may not have heard about it before, you are sure to hear more about it in the future. Service designers are deployed in various fields. Initially by agencies, but nowadays service design is increasingly carried out in-house.”

What does service design do for companies? What problem does it solve?

“Service design has the ability to accelerate innovation through collaboration between multiple stakeholders and to enable an 'outside-in' mindset. I see great added value in bridging differences between departments of a company to work towards a common goal. It also supports the independence of employees to create a good relationship with the users. Service design helps to visualize scenarios of services that do not yet exist, to prototype and test them and to accelerate innovation processes. Direct benefits are efficiency, cost savings, brand differentiation, etc.”

Can you give an example?

“A good example is a project realized by the Norwegian Designit, which won a Service Design Award in the 'non-profit / Public' category last year with a project for Oslo University Hospital. The project reduced the waiting time for breast cancer patients by 90 percent. A fantastic result for both patients and the hospital and a very concrete example of how service design can optimize processes with all the added value that this entails.”

You are organizing a Service Design Global Conference on 27 and 28 October. Why is that necessary?

“We founded the Service Design Network to support service designers and professionals as well as to create awareness about the field. We do this through events, knowledge sharing, news, case studies, publications, trend reports, an Award program. We organize the SDGC to create an annual event where our community – more than 30,000 students, professionals and researchers – has the opportunity to come together, discuss what is going on in the field and promote service design in other fields.”

Who is this event interesting for and why?

“SDGC is for service designers and anyone who wants to learn about what service design is and how it can create value and apply it within their specific industry. It is of course also for service design professionals who want to network and hear about the latest developments. This year we welcome 71 international experts on stage who will present specific cases of service design applications within various fields, including Rabobank, Spotify, Google and BMW. They give inspiring examples of innovation processes facilitated by service design. Simple solutions for complex services. In addition, the experts coach the participants in practical workshops around the presentations.”

What tips do you have for interested people who can't attend?

“We continuously share information from our network and of course from the SDGC speakers about service design and the various applications through our social channels. So feel free to follow us. On YouTube you can watch our Service Design Show view, here we publish interviews with some of the speakers. In addition, there is touch point, the international magazine for service design, a must to keep up to date.”

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