Archive for October, 2010

Last weekend Richard Buchanan from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western gave a terrific keynote at the Savannah College of Art and Design to close out the COINs and Design Ethos conferences.

I’ve transcribed the keynote and posted MP3s of the lecture and the question and answer section at the end. There’s also a full video of the event if you’ve got an hour or so to watch.

I’ll have more of a summary later this week. Quite a few topics of interest for service designers (and CMU alumni too).


Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider have put together a nifty tool called the Customer Journey Canvas [PDF 220K] as part of their upcoming book on service design thinking. Their A3-sized design is nicely done and inspired by the canvases in the must read Business Model Generation book.

This tool supports the audit of existing services and covers not only the period of time associated with the encounter but also the pre-service and post-service phases of the journey. Customer journey maps are typically focused on the front stage encounter from the customer’s point-of-view but as an audit it’d be great to see a complementary version demonstrating the connections with the back stage supporting processes.

They’ve released the customer journey canvas under a creative commons license so I’ve taken the liberty of slightly reformatting it for US printers using tabloid paper.

The Center for Hospitality Research at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration has an interesting paper on service scripting [PDF 700k] from 2008.

A service script, as defined in this study, is a detailed guide for front-line employees to follow during a service encounter. A script includes a predetermined set of specific words, phrases, and gestures, as well as other expectations for the employee to use during each step of the service process.

The study is less about the design of scripts and more about how guests react to scripted encounters in a hotel setting as opposed to more extemporaneous approaches. There are also some citations on script theory to follow up.

Tip: Choose File > Print in Google docs to save the PDF.

[via Michael Dixon]

The last time I flew anywhere the flight was 35 minutes late before it had even taken off because the airplane was nowhere to be found. Not a great beginning to a five-hour flight.

Once we were airborne the pilot came on over the intercom and apologized for our late departure and sympathized with the folks who had connecting flights. I was worried about missing my connection but he said he was going to deviate from our flight plan and something about the jet stream and tailwinds and permission from the airline to run the engines a little faster than normal. The long and the short of it was that he was going to do his best to get us there on time. When we touched down he was as good as his word. I was impressed.

Fantastic service recovery isn’t an accident. Mistakes are an inevitable part of service delivery but the best services are systematically designed to recover with grace. In fact a memorable recovery can build even more goodwill than an encounter that goes according to plan.

Next week Fabian Segelström and I will be running a workshop on service recovery at the SDN conference in Berlin. It’s in the first block of workshops on Thursday. We’re going to go through the basics of service recovery and demonstrate a tool we’ve been working on for designing effective solutions.

This topic is interesting to me because it starts to dig into the “managing as designing” side of service design. We’re going to be looking at service recovery from three different perspectives. Not only the front-stage customer service perspective but also back-stage operations and HR perspectives. We’re drawing from the service management literature on recovery and Fabian has written an overview of the findings from that research.

If you’d like to take part in the workshop then we have a request. Be on the lookout for service failures as you travel to Berlin. Airports, hotels, restaurants and taxis — anywhere along your journey. We’ll have plenty of examples of our own but we’d like to include your perspective in the workshop by deconstructing the first-hand problems you each encounter.

Hopefully your trip to Berlin will be flawless. But if you see someone go above and beyond the call of duty to fix a problem we definitely want to hear about it.

Nick Remis and Izac Ross are enrolled in the BFA service design program at the Savannah College of Art and Design. As part of a team of eleven undergraduate students they collaborated on a 10-week service design project for the Woodville community garden in Savannah, Georgia.

I interviewed Nick and Izac about their work by telephone earlier this summer on June 8th, 2010.

Read Interview