Marc from 31Volts has another nice article on service design, this time examining the off-stage experience:
Companies should realize that it’s not only how well they deliver their service and how efficient their delivery process is, it’s just as important how their customers experience the time in-between touchpoints.
He takes the familiar front-stage/back-stage dichotomy and expands it to see what else is going on during the service encounter when you’re not dealing directly with front line staff. The theatrical equivalent of waiting in the wings.
One of his takeaways late in the article stands out: “An outstanding off-stage experience might actually become one of your selling points. If people start coming to your place for that experience you should reconsider the business you’re in.”
This is an important distinction. What Marc is describing is precisely the boundary between a service and an experience in the Pine and Gilmore sense. It also hints at how services function as the building blocks for experiences.