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Service Design Global Conference 2013 29.11.13


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Service design has been around for decades, and in recent years has become much more accepted and more common for organisations to engage with and implement.

Service design is all about making the service you deliver useful, easy to use, efficient, and effective, as a result then making it desirable. By focusing on the real needs of customers, simplifying the way in which a customer interacts with a product or service and identifying problems, we can design and deliver a solution that is beneficial for the organisation and at the same time enjoyable for the customer.

Birget Mager (Service Design Network Founder and Supervisor) defines it as ‘using design thinking and methodologies and applying it to intangible products…living and learning through the application’

Last week we attended the Service Design Global Conference, at the most beautiful venue the Donald Gordan theatre at Wales Millennium Centre, where delegates shared knowledge on ʻTransformation Through Service Designʼ where the discussion was not only focused around the appropriateness of design, but also fulfilling customer satisfaction and profitability.

Kerrine Bodine mentioned in her talk; that we need to be more fluent in big data, to truly understand the problems before we can design an informed solution.

As part of our offering here at Sanders we put together a ʻbrand auditʼ which uses qualitative research to really ʻgo deep or go homeʼ (as Joel Bailey said), helping us to dig deep into the core of a brand and discover the underlying issues and how customers interact and perceive that brand. We then use that data to understand if a brand is communicating their values correctly and if not, providing them with a proposal as to how they should proceed. When we talk about branding it does not just apply to the marketing materials and the visual elements, it is all encompassing around every aspect of the business that a customer comes into contact with.

Lydia Howland of IDEO, spoke about the human factor and putting the customer interests at the heart of design by test driving that designed service in real time. This is achieved by understanding the customer by using techniques such as journey mapping, auditing, prototyping and field-testing.

We came away from the conference with a greater understanding of what service design is and what it entails. The similarity in methodology to how we use data to define our outcome is something we already apply to our Branding work. Finally we need to practice what we preach and we are in love with our processes, so much so we are working towards accreditation of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 to ensure that the needs of our clients are met through the formalisation of our processes and procedures. We believe in making informed design decisions based on big and small data that allow the right solution to be designed. Focusing on the end user’s interaction and perception of the brand, product and service at all touch points, ensures that the experience is the best it can be.

Ultimately as Joel Bailey said “creating conditions for profitable customer behaviour” helps to increase the return on investment, allowing organisations to make money, while increasing customer satisfaction and enabling brands to keep their promises.

(Posters from the conference designed by 3rd year Graphic Communication students at Cardiff School of Art & Design)

Jameila