Using a service blueprint to depict the entire service eco-system and drive change.
Updated: Jul 6, 2021
When visualising the customer journey in the service blueprint, whether 'as is' or 'to be', we demonstrate how the entire customer experience is made up of multiple services and touch-points across various organisational departments. In my work service blueprint is always a key strategic tool that helps a business to fully understand a designed proposition., or even to have a helicopter view of all of the existing processes, policies and tools surrounding service offering (use it to analyse an existing service or specify a well defined concept following ideation or a design workshop). I map out the entire process of service delivery, above and below the line of visibility (customer journey made of customer touch-points).
A service blueprint is a document that displays the entire process of service delivery, by listing all the activities that happen at each stage, performed by the different roles involved, whether client facing or not. The service blueprint is built by first listing all the actors involved in the service process in each stage of a customer journey (vertical axis), and all the steps undertaken by a customer accessing a service (on the horizontal axis). The resulting matrix allows to represent the flow of actions that each role needs to perform along the process, highlighting the actions that the user can see (above the line of visibility) and the ones that happen in the back-office (below the line of visibility). The value of a service blueprint comes from understanding and communicating cross-functional relationships and alignment of a front-stage and back-stage processes. Across the customer journey, each department may have their own ways of working, their own KPIs, and different customer data they need to capture. The capturing and storing of customer information at a departmental level results in an erratic customer experience. The goal should always been to design the consumption and production of customer data across the journey to deliver a seamless and personalised customer experience. In other words, a customer should ever be asked twice for the same data by different departments. Information once captured should be leveraged across the entire customer journey or even customer lifecycle, with validation points. This is why customer data row is one of the key elements of a comprehensive service blueprint.
Service blueprint helps to scope out key epics of anticipated program of work (change or new delivery) and break it down into features, stories and tasks for the delivery team. This in turn helps to identify and validate required resources, delivery cost and any constraints that need to be considered and addressed.
Visualising the complexity
The complexity of an existing service eco-system or a new service proposition within an interdepartmental project is mapped and visualised within a simple framework of a service blueprint. The front stage (top rows) depicts the customer journey, the rows below capture the backstage processes, policies, actors (departments, units, etc) and actions to provide insights into various connections, dependencies and goals of the organisation, including the IT layer. To visualise all information and ensure readability I use different levels of blueprint and I always tailor its template to the audience. It is important to establish whether a blueprint will serve as a collaboration canvas for a multidisciplinary project team or more as a communication tool to some of the stakeholders. In my work I have used various tools to produce a service blunting: from Omnigraffle or even Excel, to Adobe Illustrator. This creates a complete view of all dependencies across departments, roles, data, tools, enabling the project team to co-design new services whilst maintaining readable and high level views of complex eco-systems.
Using the service blueprint as a strategic service design tool, helps to ensure that everyone involved in a project understands it, and it allows us to gain insights into how an organisation, department and various roles currently work. When stakeholders are involved in a development of a 'to be' service blueprint, there is a sense of shared ownership of a newly designed and implemented solution, product or a service.
BENEFITS OF DEVELOPING A SERVICE BLUEPRINT
Enables you to see opportunities to leverage existing technologies across entire client journey (front-end and back-end), where new technologies emerging could be applied.
Helps to prioritise and budget for the future change projects. Service Blueprint is both a management tool and the design brief for the business.
Creates alignment and co-ownership between key business stakeholders.
Helps to identify existing loopholes, opportunities for improvements and change driving efficiency, simplification and improving client experience, provides use cases for technology and digital projects.
It helps to refine business and organizational models.
‘As is’ service blueprint or ‘future state’ service blueprint is an outcome of collaboration between various departments including key business stakeholders, technology, digital and customer service teams.