Creating a Blueprint for Service Operations to Ensure Digital Transformation Success
By Siddharth Wadehra, Steer Head of Research]
Design thinking-led digital transformation initiatives have always had a substantially higher rate of success. One of the primary reasons for this is that it allows building customer empathy which turns into the bedrock of any transformation activities that the company undertakes. Adopting a service design-led approach to digital transformation ensures that the optimized version of the service design blueprint is the basis for developing any service design app to foster digital transformation journey. This implies that any digital solution deployed would not just be any piece of random technology slapped but would be a well-orchestrated blueprint of various aspects of the internal operations working together to optimize the end customer experience.
This article discusses service design blueprint and explores how the optimized service design would be the ideal precursor to developing digital service apps which would help organizations progress with their digital transformation goals.
Service design is a tool for both building customer empathy and improving internal efficiency. As suggested, when companies look forward to digitizing their operations, they often end up with slapping on technology without orchestrating how the different elements within their organizations would impact the customer journey to make it more seamless. Digital transformation in operations, ideally, should be a more holistic and a strategic endeavor rather than just an implementation of some random technology which attempts to take the manual and paper-based process into a digital format.
One can start by looking outwards and building empathy and following it up with looking inward to implement solutions using the appropriate technology components orchestrated seamlessly. The service design is critical here as it would help define key aspects in the operations which when digitized would have a direct impact on the present customer journey, taking it closer to the ideal customer journey which your organization hopes to deliver. Finally, all aspects of the business -- people, processes, and systems could be threaded together using no-code development platform providing your organization the arsenal to go digital and be prepared for an uncertain evolving future.
But what is service design?
Think of the last time you watched a play. You’re seated with the audience, and you see the actors on stage acting out the scene. You see the set props come in and out, and the music and the lighting in sync with everything else.
In this scenario, you are the customer. The actual play you see on stage, meanwhile, are the interactions you have with the company. How you feel about the play is the customer experience. All the backstage activities – the props, the music, and the lighting – represent the internal processes that are not seen by customers. These backstage activities are critical in creating the customer experience.
This is where the service blueprint comes in. A service blueprint visualizes the relationships between your customer persona and the different service components — people, tools (physical or digital), and processes.
Creating a service blueprint is ideal to experiences that are omnichannel, involve various touchpoints, or require cross-department coordination. A service blueprint corresponds to a specific customer persona and journey. In fact, for the for the same service, you may have to make multiple blueprints. For example, you have a restaurant. You may have a different service blueprints for takeout service versus dine-in.
Remember that service blueprints exist to address a challenging CJM stage. But at this point, you’re supposed to map out the status quo. Don’t try to make improvements just yet, just outline the various processes that make the experience what it is.
Service blueprints take different forms, some more graphic than others. No matter what the form is, a service blueprint comprises the following key elements: A service blueprint is divided into key areas:
These are the steps derived from the CJM stage that have been prioritized in the previous step.
These are the actions that take place in plain view of the customer. These actions can be human-to-human (direct interaction with an employee) or human-to-software (self-service). In the restaurant example, this includes the maître d’ escorting you to your table, or the waiter taking your order.
As mentioned in the stage play example, this is literally the backstage of the theater. These are the various activities that take place behind-the-scenes to support frontstage activities. These actions can involve a frontstage employee who does something not visible to the customer (e.g., a waiter entering order details into a POS) or a backstage employee (e.g., a cook in the kitchen).
These are internal activities that support employees in delivering the service (e.g., the executive chef planning the menu).
In a service blueprint, these key elements are placed in clusters with lines that separate them. There are three primary lines:
The line of interaction indicates the direct interactions between your customer and the company.
The line of visibility sets apart all service activities the customer can see from those that are not visible. The line of internal interaction separates backstage actions from support processes. The template could be accessed HERE.
Optimizing the SDBP
Understanding this would allow us to eventually optimize the service delivery blueprint to improve the customer journey such that it gets closer to the desired ideal customer journey, thereby credibly impacting the customer experience.
You can now also start rethinking customer-facing and internal processes to create a digital experience.
There are many ways to optimize a process, but the goals the same: reduce waste & delays, improve transparency, and provide convenient online channels to everyone. Here are some things to consider while con-sider how could you potentially improve the experience met out in the CJM stages which affect the customer experience the maximum.
Are the touchpoints the right touchpoints for the kinds of interactions you have with your customer? Can the customer seamlessly switch from one touchpoint to the other? How much work does each touchpoint require the customer? Which one is most convenient in terms of time, accessibility, and effort to the customer?
Is there a single point of reference for a customer or a customer interaction (an order, a support ticket, etc.) that your employees can access? How is the hand-over of information (from one department to another) done right now and how can it be improved? Are employees well-trained to facilitate customer interactions in the customer touchpoints? How can response times be made faster? Are employees able to work from anywhere or do they have to be physically at the office?
Are these rules properly documented and easily accessible to relevant employees? How can you “codify” these rules? Which of these rules can be automated, and which ones require human intervention? Do some of these rules make the customer’s life unnecessarily harder by causing delays, confusion, additional work?
What are the current software systems in place? Who currently have access to them and for what purpose? Are they built in-house or built by a 3rd party? Do they run on a web browser/cloud or are they installed in a laptop/desktop computer and accessed from an
on-premise server? Do they have APIs or connectors in place?
The resulting optimized service blueprint should take all of the considerations mentioned In this article. Now you’re ready to crystalize your service design into your digital solution.
The Steer Advantage:
The advantage of a no-code development platform like Steer is that it has the elements of service design blueprint embedded into the platform. It allows citizen developers to seamlessly use the intuitive platform, which has service design embedded in it, to develop service apps. Understandably, the platform being customizable allows organizations to capture their own unique processes referencing their customer journey and the service design blueprint that follows it. Finally, Steer allows you to easily connect to core systems via API’s or use Steeroid – the platform’s own integration robot.