Do you remember last time when you felt surprisingly happy about that cafe you visited or a mall you went to, may be that crowded bus station you visited in some foreign country but you moving around the same was piece of cake. When I started thinking about why we like some environments and some services against why we hate some, I realised that some places make you feel extremely comfortable because the experiences there are designed around human behaviour. I felt the same when I visited Starbucks coffee for the first time, that made me think that how can we add creative flair to the environments in which we function and enhance the experience of that place. That is when I got to know about Service Design.

I believe that service design and design thinking are to businesses today what social media was to businesses almost a decade ago. It is a visionary, effective, and necessary tool to help a business connect with its customers – and those companies who adopted it early are seeing great results. There is no doubt that it will soon become a household name, and the companies who jump on board too late may struggle to catch up.

What is Service Design

Most design disciplines draw from other areas and fields.  Technology, cognitive science and aesthetics all contribute to design as we know it today. Service design, a more recent application of design expertise, is no different.  The field draws on many concepts, ranging from user experience, marketing and project management in order to optimize new services

It is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between the service provider and its customers. We have thousands of management schools in India when the pressing need is for the creation of experts who can innovate great services across a huge number of sectors of our economy. Starbucks, the airline check-in system, comprehensive branding systems, shipping processes, patient-care systems are few excellent examples where the aspect of service design has given much importance

Why does Service Design even exist?

Service design is critical to customer experience (CX). User experience primarily focuses on the design and development of digital interactions. Today, this typically means websites, mobile phones, and tablets. UX can also include touchpoints like kiosks, desktop software, or interactive voice response systems. Service design is all about taking a service and making it meet the user’s and customer’s needs for that service. It improves an existing service or creates a new service from scratch. Service Design exists because its of utmost importance that services should be designed based on

  1. A genuine comprehension of the purpose of the service, the demand for the service and the ability of the service provider to deliver that service.
  2. Customer needs rather than the internal needs of the business.
  3. Motif of designing and delivering a unified and efficient system rather than component-by-component. Because it can lead to poor overall service performance.
  4. Creating value for users and customers and to be as efficient as possible.
  5. Understanding that special events (those that cause variation in general processes) will be treated as common events (and processes designed to accommodate them)
  6. Primarily taking  input from the users of the service
  7. The principle of developing a prototype before being developed in full
  8. Services must be designed in conjunction with a clear business case and mode

The ‘Service Design’ academics

The course is structured to develop strategic and creative expertise within the design and delivery of innovative service experiences. It encourages students to undertake projects that tackle many challenges of 21st century. The challenges could be related with social, corporate and environmental issues. Projects may be as diverse as conceiving services to mitigate the digital divide of the senior citizens of London borough, to designing a virtual reality in-store experience for a global insurance company, through to realizing an innovative business proposition for a personal start-up.

4+ year of professional education is a prerequisite. Either bachelor’s or 3+2 years of education after Masters from any stream is convinient. But one must be equipped with keen eye to detail and creative mind. Best possibilities if one has bachelors from creative field such as Design or Arts.

A Service Designer must have following

Empathy is the key to become a great Service Designer. In order to solve wicked social problems impacting behaviour of masses to large scale  one should have that ability to connect with people’s emotions. One should be able to step into other’s shoe, customer’s or the service user’s, to become a great service designer. Also, logical reasoning is of the essential abilities. As mentioned above, service design is nothing but giving solutions. The solutions has be logical, practical, executable and most importantly innovative. Communication skills are the must. The service designer should be able to communicate his/her concepts and ideas with his clientele.

Opportunities for a Service Designer

More and more corporates, organisations as well as governments are involving Service Designers to improve stakeholders experience. From setting up a coffee shop to setting up the government service providing kiosks we need service designers. Everywhere, including designing ticketing systems for Railways we need great Service Designers
Most of the consulting companies, not for profit organisations working for people, Social impact entrepreneurs & great service sector corporates are always in lookout for Service Designers to define great experiences for users, customers & people. Expected income would be anywhere starting from 5L + per annum
To become successful service designer one should be empathetic about smallest change in surroundings. Be observant and passionate about understanding human behaviour. You will be able to solve greates human problems. Designing services is nothing but designing way of life in different environments.