This CX Mini Masterclass provides step by step instructions for how to develop a service blueprint, a key tool for any CX team embarking on service design. Show host and customer experience expert, Julia Ahlfeldt, explains what a service blueprint is, how you build one and – most importantly – how to use it. If you’re looking for a practical explanation of how to build and use a service blueprint, then this episode is for you.
The next step in service design
Episode 58 looked at service design, which 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. And with most brands out there today delivering a hybrid of both goods and services, it’s important for teams to carefully orchestrate how they deliver experiences. If not, they’ll risk things completely falling apart.
Service blueprinting is an important step for any team looking to implement service design. The actions needed for an organization to deliver a service are often complex and need to be documented before plans can be made. That’s what service blueprinting is all about.
Creating the service blueprint
Service blueprinting is essentially a visual documentation of service design. To build a service blueprint you need to start with the customer journey. And in this case, it should be a very simplified version of the journey, highlighting the aspects of the journey where the organization in question plays a major role. Remember that when we map entire journeys, we need to consider experiences outside of the realm of just one brand’s interactions with the customer – but in this case we’re looking inward, so it’s OK.
A service blueprint often also includes a space for physical evidence, though this isn’t required.
The next step is to capture the layers of service functions, starting with what the customer sees. In the world of service blueprinting, these are sometimes called front stage interactions. The next layer down captures the backstage interactions or the operational support that the customer doesn’t see, and finally every service blueprint should include a final layer of strategic support functions.
Leveraging the blueprint as a CX tool
Like journey maps, service blueprints are highly dynamic CX tools that bridge the conceptual divide between the journey and a business’s operating model.
Service design is about helping organizations coordinate their activities to deliver experiences. Anyone who has worked in a large corporation will know that the silo mentality is real! Service blueprints can help CX leaders unite teams around the customer journey in a number of ways:
- Demonstrating how teams from different organizations need to collaborate to deliver the journey.
- Clarifying team level contributions and determining KPIs that relate back to the journey.
- Conducting root cause analysis on where specific experiences are breaking down so that teams can work on solutions.
- Defining how teams will deliver new experiences, either by building future state service blueprints or by demonstrating how current actions would need to change to deliver a re-imagined experience.
Want to keep learning about CX?
If you’d like to checkout more of these CX Mini Masterclasses or listen to my longer format CX expert interviews, check out the full listing of episodes for this CX podcast.
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Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business achieve its CX goals, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services (including B2B CX strategy) or get in touch via email.