Service blueprints are a way to specify and detail each individual aspect of a service. This usually involves creating a visual schematic incorporating the perspectives of both the user, the service provider and other relevant parties that may be involved, detailing everything from the points of customer contact to behind-the-scenes processes.
Why is it used?
By describing and outlining all of the elements contained within a service, the blueprint allows the most crucial areas to be identified, whilst also revealing areas of overlap or duplication. Producing such a document collaboratively promotes co-operation and teamwork, and also helps to co-ordinate the people and resources the service provider has at its disposal. Service blueprints are able to show the processes that lie behind the critical service elements around which user experience is defined.
When is it helpful?
They’re often produced in draft form at the start of a service design project, in order to explore those aspects of the service that can be reviewed and refined. Once ideas and innovations have been formulated, the blueprint is further detailed and expanded at the implementation stage. This helps provide a clear roadmap for the actual service delivery.
How is it applied?
Service blueprints are often produced collaboratively, as this is a great way to bring together the various departments or teams which may exist within the organisation of the service provider. As several different teams often have some influence upon service delivery, bringing them together to create a blueprint creates a shared awareness of each team’s responsibilities. A collaborative workshop is a very effective forum for this kind of co-creation, which is often aimed at constructing a “living” document that the teams of the service provider feel they own. This notion of a “living” document relates to the idea that a blueprint should ideally be periodically revised. This can help ensure it remains consistently in touch with both the environment the service provider operates in, and the preferences of the users it caters for. Continually refocusing the blueprint around inevitable changes in people’s lifestyle and motivations refines and improves companies’ research activities, whilst reinforcing the need for the service provider to remain agile enough to respond to an evolving environment.
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