UX vs. Service Design


What is the relationship between user experience
and service design? I’m going to start with user experience. User experience is what Nielsen Norman Group
is really well-known for thanks to Don, and Tog, and Jakob. It is anything the end user comes across. This could be an app, a website, a kiosk,
or an end-to-end experience that they encounter. Now I like to think about this as the “what.” Service design is the “how.” How does that end experience get created? We’re speaking internal/organizational. The people, the processes, the technology
that have to align in order to make all the different pieces of the user’s experience. Why do you have to have both? You can’t have one without the other. Think about them as the same coin
but different sides. You can’t have the end experience if you don’t
have anyone to create it. You can’t create something if you don’t have
an end user to experience it. Understandably, organizations tend to divide
themselves based on the user’s experience. So you have marketing, sales, product development,
customer support. The problem is that the user usually doesn’t
experience them in this siloed nature. Really they experience multiple different
touchpoints from these different silos and that’s where service design comes in. Service design aligns these different departments
and silos in order to create the end user’s experience that you as an organization want. The problem with only thinking about the user’s
experience is that we get what we call a delivery gap. A lot of companies think that they provide
a superior proposition when very few of them actually do. I think about this all the time when I fly
Delta and they put a status tag on my luggage that I’m checking with the promise that it’s
going to come out first at the baggage claim. Now, that would be an amazing user experience
however they’ve never aligned the people — even third-party people who work at airports — to
provide that superior experience that I now expect because the promise has been made. So while they have good intentions when it
comes to user experience, they’re not practicing service design thus I’m left disappointed. I’m not at all advocating that we only
prioritize user experience or we only prioritize service design. Instead, I’m suggesting that they should be
practiced in parallel with equal efforts in both places. As you come up with innovative ideas for your
user’s experience, think about how they are going to be delivered. This way we live up to our customers’ expectations.

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