This list represents a summary of the past forty years of service design literature. The citations were compiled from the Emergence conference at Carnegie Mellon University as well as the Designing for Services project in the UK, service design syllabi at CMU and independent research. I've included the abstracts and introductions to the papers and cross-referenced examples and concepts so that it's easy to follow the development of ideas such as "service blueprinting" across multiple papers.
Select any underlined term to filter the list, showing only papers that share that particular concept, example, author, journal or decade. If you'd like to help fill in the gaps by suggesting other canonical papers, e-mail the citations to service at howardesign.com. Thanks!
From the article: "The service encounter frequently is the service from the customer's point of view. Using the critical incident method, the authors collected 700 incidents from customers of airlines, hotels, and restaurants. The incidents were categorized to isolate the particular events and related behaviors of contact employees that cause customers to distinguish very satisfactory service encounters from very dissatisfactory ones. Key implications for managers and researchers are highlighted."
Examples: Airlines, Hotels, Restaurants, Life Insurance
From the article: "It is time for U.S. companies to raise their service aspirations significantly and for U.S. executives to declare war on mediocre service and set their sights on consistently excellent service, say the authors. This goal is within reach if managers will provide the necessary leadership, remember that the sole judge of service quality is the customer, and implement what the authors call the "five service imperatives."
Examples: Deluxe Corporation, Southwest Airlines, Sewell Village Cadillac, Palais Royal Apparel, Nordstroms, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Century 21, Walt Disney World, Friendly Bank, PHH FleetAmerica, Aid Association for Lutherans, Preston Trucking Company, Books and Co., Florida Power & Light, British Airways, Wachovia Bank & Trust, First Bank System, American Express
From the article: "In the new economics of service, frontline workers and customers need to be the center of management concern. Successful service managers heed the factors that drive profitability in this new service paradigm--investment in people, technology that supports frontline workers, revamped recruiting and training practices, and compensation linked to performance. The service-profit chain, developed from analyses of successful service organizations, establishes relationships between profitability, customer loyalty, and employee satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity. The authors provide a service-profit chain audit that helps companies determine what drives their profit and suggests actions that can lead to long-term profitability."
Examples: Pizza, Banc One, ServiceMaster, USAA, Taco Bell, MCI, Southwest Airlines, Xerox, Progressive
From the article: "In this article, Harvard Business School professor Stefan Thomke points out the challenges of applying the discipline of formal R&D processes to services: Because a service often exists only in the moment of its delivery to a customer, it is difficult to isolate in a traditional laboratory. And since many services are tailored to individual buyers at the point of purchase, they can't be tested through large samples. As a result, experiments with new services are most useful when they are conducted live--with real customers engaged in real transactions. But live tests magnify the cost of failure; an experiment that doesn't work may harm customer relationships and even the brand. Given such challenges, it's no surprise that most service companies have not established rigorous, ongoing R&D processes, Thomke says. Here the author provides an in-depth look at a five-step process that Bank of America has used to create new service concepts for retail banking."
Example: Bank of America
From the article: "Extensive study of the world's best service companies reveals the principles on which they're built."
Examples: Walmart, Starbucks, Commerce Bank, Progressive, Intuit, Airlines, Nestlé, Zipcar, Cleveland Clinic, Shouldice Hospital, Yum Brands, Omnicom, GE, Walmart, Starbucks, Commerce Bank, Progressive, Intuit, Airlines, Nestlé, Zipcar, Cleveland Clinic, Shouldice Hospital, Yum Brands, Omnicom, GE