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 Thanks!

Filter: Papers that mention "Process vs Outcome" | View all papers
SERVQUAL: Review, Critique, Research Agenda
European Journal of Marketing, 1996
Francis Buttle
From the article: "Since its launch in 1985, SERVQUAL has become a widely adopted technology for measuring and managing service quality. Recently, a number of theoretical and operational concerns have been raised concerning SERVQUAL. Reviews these concerns and proposes a research agenda."
Compare with:
SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality
Key Concepts for New Service Development
The Service Industries Journal, 1996
Bo Edvardsson
From the article: "This article deals with service development from a quality perspective. Our point of departure is to build in the right quality from the start. The article presents a new frame of reference for new service development based on empirical studies in Sweden. It argues that the main task of service development is to create the right generic prerequisites for the service. This means an efficient customer process, that is to say the process must be adapted to the logic of the customer !v behaviour and a good customer outcome, i.e., the service is associated with quality. We distinguish three main types of development: the development of the service concept, the development of the service system (resource structure) and the development of the service process."

Example: Swedish Telecom

Want to Perfect your Company's Service? Use Behavioral Science
Harvard Business Review, 2001
Richard Chase
From the article: "Behavioral science offers new insights into better service management. In this article, the authors translate findings from behavioral-science research into five operating principles: 1) finish strong; 2) get the bad experiences out of the way early; 3) segment the pleasure, combine the pain; 4) build commitment through choice; and 5) give people rituals and stick to them. Ultimately, only one thing really matters in a service encounter--the customer's perception of what occurred. This article will help you engineer your service encounters to enhance your customers' experiences during the process as well as their recollections of the process after it is completed."

Examples: Cruise Lines, Airline Baggage Pickup, Malaysian Airlines, Health Care, Business Consulting, Phone Menus, Trade Shows, Walt Disney, Banks, Hotels, Copier Repair, McKinsey Consulting

Compare with:
Service Behaviors that Lead to Satisfied Customers
The Service Encounter: Diagnosing Favorable and Unfavorable Incidents
An Empirical Investigation of the Impact of Non Verbal Communication on Service Evaluation
The Service Concept: The Missing Link in Service Design Research?
Journal of Operations Management, 2002
Susan Goldstein
From the article: "The service concept plays a key role in service design and development. But while the term is used frequently in the service design and new service development literature, surprisingly little has been written about the service concept itself and its important role in service design and development. The service concept defines the how and the what of service design, and helps mediate between customer needs and an organizationís strategic intent. We define the service concept and describe how it can be used to enhance a variety of service design processes. As illustrations here, we apply the service concept to service design planning and service recovery design processes. Employing the service concept as an important driver of service design decisions raises a number of interesting questions for research which are discussed here."
The Lean Service Machine
Harvard Business Review, 2003
Cynthia Swank
From the article: "Lean production is built around the concept of continuous-flow processing--a departure from traditional production systems, in which large batches are processed at each step. Jefferson Pilot Financial (JPF) appointed a "lean team" to reengineer its New Business unit's operations, beginning with the creation of a "model cell"--a fully functioning microcosm of JPF's entire process. This approach allowed managers to experiment and smooth out the kinks while working toward an optimal design. The team applied lean-manufacturing practices, including placing linked processes near one another, balancing employees' workloads, posting performance results, and measuring performance and productivity from the customer's perspective. The results were so impressive that JPF is rolling out similar systems across many of its operations."

Examples: Jefferson Pilot Financial, Insurance, Toyota

Compare with:
R&D Comes to Services: Bank of America's Pathbreaking Experiments
Lean Consumption
Service Blueprinting: A Practical Technique for Service Innovation
California Management Review, 2008
Mary Jo Bitner

Examples: Hotels, Yellow Transportation, ARAMARK Parks & Resorts, Marie Stopes International Global Partnership, San Francisco Giants

Compare with:
Blueprinting the Service Company: Managing the Service Processes Efficiently
How to Design a Service
Designing product/service systems: A methodological exploration