Service Blueprints – Communicating the Design of Services

Service Blueprints – Communicating the Design of Services

Service blueprints have been first described by Lynn Shostack, a banking government, again in 1982 in the Harvard Enterprise Evaluate. They’ve turn into popularized over the previous few years as service design has grown as a occupation. Along with being helpful in service design they’re typically utilized by operational administration to gauge the effectivity of work inside a corporation.

A service blueprint is, in essence, an extension of a buyer journey map. A buyer journey map specifies all the interactions {that a} buyer can have with a corporation all through their buyer lifecycle – the service blueprint goes a bit deeper and appears in any respect the interactions each bodily and digital that assist these buyer interactions and provides somewhat extra element to the combine.

The blueprint is normally represented in a diagram primarily based on swim lanes (every lane being assigned to a particular class) with interactions linked between lanes (utilizing arrows to characterize the movement of work).

Service blueprints allow nice service and as Kate Zabrieskie, the world main customer support coach says; “Though your clients received’t love you if you happen to give dangerous service, your opponents will.”

Writer/Copyright holder: erik roscam abbing. Copyright phrases and licence: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Service blueprints help with service design which in flip matches into the greater image of model administration.

When Do You Want a Service Blueprint?

Service blueprints fulfill a quantity of makes use of however most frequently they’re used for:

  • Bettering a service. By understanding the unique service intimately – it’s potential to establish and remove or ameliorate ache factors.
  • Designing a brand new service. A blueprint for a brand new service permits for the creation of service prototypes and testing earlier than a service is launched to clients.
  • Understanding a service. There are various providers which have turn into so engrained in company tradition that they’re now not understood by anybody. Blueprints can reveal silos and areas of opacity in present processes.
  • Understanding the actors in a service. When there are a lot of actors (clients, suppliers, consultants, staff, groups, and many others.) it may be very helpful to have a blueprint to assist handle the complexity of a scenario.
  • Transitioning a excessive-contact service to a low-contact service or vice-versa. Broadening or narrowing the viewers for a service requires cautious consideration as to how that is likely to be achieved a blueprint can assist information the method for this.

Writer/Copyright holder: Requirements and Configuration Administration Staff (SCMT). Copyright phrases and licence: Public Area.

Service blueprints may be drawn from enterprise roadmap blueprints as a place to begin.

What Goes Right into a Service Blueprint?

The 5 foremost swim lanes which might be captured in a service blueprint are as follows:

  • The bodily proof. Something {that a} buyer can see, hear, scent or contact belongs on this lane. This isn’t restricted to retailer fronts and web sites however ought to embrace indicators, kinds, merchandise, and many others.
  • The shopper’s actions. What does your shopper base need to do to make use of the service at the touchpoint? If the buyer doesn’t take motion, you possibly can’t reply to their wants.
  • The entrance workplace. The actions, individuals and bodily proof {that a} buyer will be capable of observe after they’ve taken an motion.
  • The again workplace. The actions, individuals and bodily proof that’s essential to ship the service however that the buyer can not see or work together with instantly.
  • Supporting actions. Something that helps the service with out being distinctive to the service.

It is best to be happy to separate up any of these lanes if you happen to discover they’re getting too difficult. For instance, you may wish to break up digital and bodily interactions into totally different lanes for readability.

There are additionally some elective inclusions:

  • Time indicators. It may be helpful to point out the time taken at any step of the course of. Figuring out the time can assist you perceive whether or not the service is environment friendly and assembly buyer expectations.
  • High quality KPIs. What are you going to measure and what are the targets for attaining buyer satisfaction?
  • Buyer’s emotional state. Not all providers take care of distressed clients however those who do ought to give some thought to the feelings {that a} buyer is coping with at the level of interplay.
  • Sketches. Wherever that phrases will not be sufficient – be happy to incorporate sketches, diagrams, and many others. to make the blueprint extra consumer pleasant.

Writer/Copyright holder: brandon schauer. Copyright phrases and licence: CC BY-SA 2.0

An instance of a nicely-articulated service blueprint – with the swim lanes clearly outlined and all interactions clearly demonstrated too.

Structuring Your Blueprint

Structuring your blueprint is a query of following a easy course of:

  • Establish the course of to be blueprinted.
  • Establish the clients to be served by the course of.
  • Look at the buyer’s perspective of the service (the buyer journey)
  • Establish the actions on the service by staff, expertise and different actors (suppliers, and many others.)
  • Hyperlink actions collectively for pure movement so that they happen
  • Guarantee that you’ve recognized the proof and KPIs for a profitable end result

Notations on Blueprints

There are two widespread notations on a service blueprint. Arrows and annotations.


Single headed arrows are used to indicate the supply of management shifting to the subsequent dependency. Double headed arrows present that agreements should be reached between actors previous to the course of shifting ahead.


You may make notes any method you want in your diagrams (they’re in any case, your diagrams) however it could actually assist to construct a legend and key for readability and ease of communication.

Writer/Copyright holder: Rosenfeld Media. Copyright phrases and licence: CC BY 2.0

Service blueprints may be as detailed as you wish to make them. Right here you see notes and pictures towards the swim lanes of a service blueprint.

The Take Away

Service blueprints are an effective way of totally understanding the course of associated to a service. They allow you to map all the interactions associated with delivering a service and to find out high quality and time KPIs for these interactions. In a world the place the line between product and repair is changing into more and more blurred it solely is sensible for a UX designer to discover ways to ship and use service blueprints of their work.


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