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Why businesses should invest in Service Design


Τhe economy has changed over the years. From the agrarian economy that was based on commodities, in the wake of the industrial revolution, focused on manufactured products, now it became a commoditization era. Nowadays, the service sector has become the major contributor of the worldwide economy. It accounts for 73% of UK's GDP, 70.5% of GDP in Europe and 64% of GDP worldwide.

In fact, service design is underused by many of the companies all around the world. Services are a growth area but service design is often poorly planned. A perfect statistic that illustrates this reality, is that 80% of companies think they offer a superior service, yet only 8% of their customers agree. (Bain paper)

Companies have been trying to design better products but often their services lack the same quality. Service is even more important than the product, because it is the experiences that are often remembered. Even more important than the customer experience is the value of the conceptual journey between brands and people, and service design is about creating delightful customer experiences, which in turn benefit businesses by enhancing brand loyalty and reducing the costs to serve.

But, "If the focus is entirely on creative discovery without consideration of how it converts to a winning strategy, creativity is practically useless."- R. Martin





It is crucial for businesses to show empathy and deep customer/user understanding. Understanding users more holistically entails understanding them better as an individual, apart from the direct consumption or use of the company's current product or service. Consequently, knowing the wider activity surroundings of the company's product or service, expands the business's perspective and is an opportunity to create new value early on and set a path for long-term and market-inspired value-creation.






But in order to achieve this successfully, companies must get rid of their conservative and stiff business thinking and move into service design thinking. And now comes the question: "What is the value of Service Design to the Business sector?"


  • Set your company apart: Service Design often differentiates clients from the competitive landscape, providing new ways of thinking and sparking innovation for companies that are stuck.
  • Customer Loyalty/Brand: Results in customer loyalty and satisfaction, enabling the company to deliver on its brand promise from top to bottom.
  • Organizational Alignment: Can help lead to greater collaboration and trust across all departments and functional units.
  • Holistic Problem-Solving: Takes a big picture approach, allowing for new connections and hidden opportunities to emerge.
  • Reality-Driven, Not Change By Numbers: Builds a perspective with the customer at the centre, redefining your company based on what the numbers say.
  • Better Business Performance: Brings concrete results, in the form of higher revenue, improved operations, increased efficiency and greater employee and customer satisfaction.


Although service design is a young industry, there are still some common features that these emerging service design consultancies share:

1. A user-centred approach

2. Service design practice sometimes overlaps with the role of management consulting, in terms of helping the client make strategic decisions, developing marketing research or supporting employee training.
However, the difference is Service Design consultancies
A. Make intangible service tangible by visualization.
B. Use design toolkits to develop concepts.
C. Use prototyping in order to develop deeper insights and robust outcomes.
D. Combine the "what" with the "how" of the service operation.

3. Service Design consultancies are willing to work with higher levels of the client organization. Many of them work with the managers rather than designers, in order to influence the branding/marketing strategies and tactics at different organization levels.

4. Most projects involve various types of specialized knowledge as they need to have a holistic thinking of the entire user journey.

5. What service design sells is a process rather than a product

6. Negotiation with limited resources

7. Design legacy for sustainable service systems







"Companies can gain a significant competitive advantage by improving the way that they provide a service... but other companies will eventually catch up." - B. Hollins

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