Service Touchpoint Cards
The AT-ONE project at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design produced a set of service touchpoint cards for the Nordic Service Design conference last month. I was curious about the cards and they were kind enough to send a pack to review.
It consists of a set of 52 cards representing various touchpoints that might be found in a typical service. Five of the cards suggest card-sorting exercises designed to help organizations think more about how they present themselves to the public.
- Forced association – Pick two cards and create a service for your project based upon just these touchpoints.
- Mapping touchpoints – For each step of the service journey, choose the touchpoint cards from the pack that the customer will encounter and map the journey.
- Touchpoint take away – Identify the two most important touchpoints at each step of the customer journey and replace them with alternatives.
- Can I use it here? – For each step of the service journey, go through the cards and envision how the touchpoint could create value at this particular step.
- Whose touch point is it anyway? – Sort through the cards in terms of who is responsible for each touchpoint within your organization. Do they work together?
Initially the scope of the cards seemed a little overwhelming so I mentally grouped the touchpoints into five categories: Media, Graphics, Servicescapes, Communications and Ephemera.
The first category refers to media outlets such as TV, radio or newspapers along with newer channels such weblogs and viral messaging. Next is graphical output such as business cards, brochures, signage and packaging. Servicescapes contain the environmental and face-to-face aspects of a service such as wayfinding, queues and actual employees. The communications category contains cards for e-mail and various kinds of telephones as well as traditional channels such as letters or word of mouth. Finally, I created an ephemera category for things like receipts, bills, contracts, instructions, credit cards and all the bits of business that hold a service together.
The pack contains two blank cards for creating new touchpoints and three specific cards for “service as a product,” referencing hybrids like the Amazon Kindle, Nike Plus and Nabaztag.
One card didn’t make sense to me. It simply contained the word “myths” and a photograph of a book entitled Myths and Legends. I’ve never come across this particular theme in regard to touchpoints. Any help?
I think that these cards are a good tool for brainstorming, but they’re an excellent tool for explaining the concept of service design to potential clients. I’d like to see the set fleshed out a bit with categories or other ways to “chunk” the cards and maybe some insight or best practices for particular touchpoints on the backs of the cards themselves.
Finally it’d be nice to see this kind of approach expanded to deal with aspects of service design beyond touchpoints. For instance, the communication mechanisms that filter information throughout the enterprise and the management systems that organize and train employees in the service culture: the backstage linkware and orgware to complement the touchpoints.
The danger is that by omission these tools reinforce the notion that only the front stage elements of a service need to be designed. Service design is about more than touchpoints.
Still, this is a good place to start and it’s always nice to add a new resource to our arsenal. I’d like to see more organizations take a crack at this type of thing.