Notes on Eric Flowers’ Demystifying Service Design

(From Erik Flowers’ Demystifying Service Design presentation given at the O’Reilly Design Conference, Jan. 21, 2016, link here.)

Service means to perform, provide, facilitate, enable and/or assist over time

Service design benefits:

  • Customer–end to end experiences that are frictionless, cohesive and designed from their point of view
  • Organization–Improves underlying support structures, employee experience and holistic understanding

Customers design their experience each and every time

Service design ensures successfully delivery of a service to a customer

The Practical Project Process

  1. Define opportunity space
  2. Service Blueprinting–a view of how the service was delivered, not how it was designed!
  3. Identify strategic and tactical fixes
  4. Service design to take action

Nail the basics–find the biggest potential for overlap of irritation, pain and failure

Service Design sessions can activate the organization

  • Customer baked
  • Visceral shared artifacts
  • Silo-busting co-creation
  • “First time seeing the entire journey”
  • Actionable insights in hours

Predictions and provocations:

  • Brand medium becomes irrelevant as the value shifts to the service provided
  • Differentiation will come from customer relationships and how you serve over time–touchpoint design is no longer enough
  • Cross-silo coordination is key to delivering outcomes–and changing culture to be more holistic
  • Customers expect quality services to feel the same across categories and contexts
  • Employee design must become a priority–empathetic design of how internal experiences are produced and delivered
  • It’s foolish to hope to design and deliver exceptional customer experiences without service design

How you (and your brand) serve is who you (and your brand) are

NOTE Large portions of more basic information weren’t summarized–head over to the darn link for the whole story!

About Erik (from his LinkedIn profile): Principal Service Experience Designer at Intuit, re-envisioning small business customer experiences, and employee experience, across our entire ecosystem of products, services, and support.

Co-founder of Practical Service Design, the online service design community and resource center. Co-author of “Practical Service Blueprinting” guide and methodology. Get the guide:

Conference speaker and writer. Check out my active blog at and Follow me on twitter @erik_flowers





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