Notes on Service Design Thinking with Marc Stickdorn and Jared Spool

Based on a podcast by Jared Spool, link here. Spool is the UI genius from User Interface Engineering; Stickdorn is a researcher, speaker, writer and entrepreneur at This Is Service Design and author of a book by the same name.

If you’ve been doing good UX work, then you have most of the basic tools for service design

Service design brings together loads of other disciplines–it’s a common language between disciplines rather than a new discipline

Core ideas include working co-creatively in multidisciplinary teams and focusing on users/humans

Service design strives to create personas from interviews with actual people–with front-line employees constantly in contact with customers

Building personas includes considering the channel they’ve come from and what their expectations will be based on that (say, did they find a restaurant on Yelp or on Zagat)

Segmenting users on classical grounds (ie geography, demographics) can be less useful than segmenting them on behavior patterns or expectations–the emotions around customer journey maps rather than the facts around predefined segments

Service design is partly about designing a service system with the idea of achieving a certain customer experience. Focus on the entire end-to-end journey.

Service design is also about getting the basics down first and not being focused on narrow features. Consider all the senses–what do users see, hear, smell etc. You can’t just design a bathroom–you have to use it to see if your design actually works as an experience

But it’s also about setting the right user expectations

A user touchpoint must involve an activity and a time frame, like a moment in a movie

Services are mostly intangible–they’re usually interactions. In a boarding pass being delivered to a phone, the touchpoint is the user reading and showing the pass at the gate–it’s not the pass itself, the pass is a prop or “service evidence”

With digital products,  it’s increasingly the service design that wins over consumers rather than just the beautifully-designed props

Service design is becoming a main product differentiator

Customers judge experiences by the entire service ecosystem–for a holiday, that would include airlines and hotels and public transportation/cabs etc. When they consider recommending a holiday, they think of the whole experience rather than individual players

Service design equally has to consider employee experience journeys as well. Employees can’t provide great services to customers if their own work experience sucks or they are inadequately prepared


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