What is a Service blueprinting and how does it help?
The impact of service blueprinting on businesses
Whether your business is small or involves many moving parts, creating memorable and valuable experiences for your customer is the key to success. To do this, businesses can greatly benefit from Service Design tools to strategically solve user needs. One of these tools is called service blueprinting.
What is service blueprinting?
Service blueprinting enables businesses to understand a user’s experience from a holistic, end-to-end perspective. The service blueprinting process exposes the underlying support actors, touchpoints, and specific policies that help create or deliver a service.
As a visual tool, service blueprinting helps uncover key insights that empower a business’ innovation efforts. By condensing your business’ activities on one page, a service blueprint breaks down a service into delivery layers, observes how a service functions in its current state, and diagnoses why customers may experience certain pain points.
The process of service blueprinting is useful in approaching ambiguous and complex services known as “wicked” problems, that are difficult to diagnose. Blueprinting sifts through the complexity of services that are cross-channel or involve multiple stakeholders to uncover the root of customer pain points. It does so by displaying the orchestration of a business from what the customer can see to the behind-the-scenes (the line of visibility) elements that create a service. From different touchpoints, channels, underlying support actors, to policies, service blueprinting can shed light across the entire ecosystem of a service and enables businesses to deliver exceptional user-centric services.
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The benefits of service blueprinting:
Service blueprinting is a collaborative process that invites insight and input from a range of teams, stakeholders and staff to seek a single source of truth. By engaging in service blueprinting, businesses can:
- Visualise intangible services
- Provide clarity within an ambiguous service landscape
- Create a single source of information and truth
- Reveal interdependencies between components of your service
- Identify potential gaps in the service experience
- Reach an aligned goal
- Agree upon tactical improvements and action
- Inspire and empower your organisation to drive meaningful change
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The components of a Service Blueprint:
A service blueprint segments a service’s backstage processes, frontstage touchpoints, and the user’s journey. The benefits of service blueprinting are vast – here are six ways you can engage in service blueprinting:
- Define your opportunities and scenarios:
Before you start blueprinting, identify potential opportunities that are critical to your business’ success. These are your ‘opportunity spaces’ — high-level, simple, and broad parts of your service journey such as a new customer signing up to a service.
- Choose your scenarios:
Create scenarios around each opportunity space by considering specific pain points as identified by qualitative or quantitative research. List out your chosen scenarios and consider which of the identified scenarios will have the biggest impact on your business and service.
Invite key stakeholders to identify specific steps that happen between and behind-the-scenes of your chosen scenario. You can always include pictures, screenshots, sketches or illustrations for added detail.
- Map your blueprint
Blueprinting helps to visualise different components of a scenario and adds depth to each use case. Starting from left to right, progress through each step of the blueprint by adding in detail to the layers. When each step has sufficient details, progress onto the next step and repeat the process for each of the scenarios.
- Take notes!
Take a step back to observe your blueprint and record any noticeable patterns or overarching themes in your analysis. Begin to prioritise and validate each insight.
While service blueprinting is not the right stage to devise solutions, take notes of any ideas or solutions that arise along the way as these may come in handy at a later stage. Plus, by collecting ideas from your blueprints, you’ll generate more holistic insights for improvement within your opportunity space.
- Share insight and take action
Experiences never occur in silos so, in the long term, it is beneficial to share actionable insights and learnings to create lasting change within your organisation.
As you begin to notice key themes and patterns in your service opportunities, determine the tactical fixes and strategic improvements that will generate the most business impact. Communicate these with the wider organisation to ensure everyone is aligned.
Service blueprints are a key Service Design artefact and tool – discover more Service Design artefacts here!