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 introduction of hard, soft, or hybrid technologies into service areas is the beginning of the industrialization of service. The key point is to increase the volume of service to a magnitude sufficient to achieve efficiency and to employ systems and technologies which produce reliable, rapid, and low-cost service results. Various cases illustrate problems of paperwork, service repairs, selling, and specialization, when implementing this management rationality. Service industrialization requires a set of processes and management that is much different from that used in the functional production of goods."
Examples: Supermarkets, Fast Food, American Express, H&R Block, The Damon Corporation, Health Mainenance Organizations, Ambulatory Surgical Facility, Transamerica Title Insurance Company, Shoe Repair
From the article: "It is dangerous to take the marketing concepts that apply to products, and try to transfer them to services. Products are tangible; services are not-and that makes a lot of difference in how you market them."
Examples: Airline Travel, Automobile Transportation, Citibank, McDonalds
From the article: "Suggests that behavioural hypothesis, which rearranges or alters any element, by design or accident, will change the overall entity, just like changing bonds or atoms in a molecule creates a new substance, and this is known as molecular modelling — and this can help the marketer to better understand any market entity. States that the first step towards rational service design is a system for visualizing this phenomenon, enabling services to be given proper position and weight in the market entity context. Proposes that people are essential evidence of a service and how they are dressed or act has a bearing on this. Identifies benefits, standards and tolerances, and discusses modifications using tables and figures for emphasis. Concludes that modelling and blueprinting offer a system for marketers which can lead to the kind of experimentation and management necessary to service innovation and development."
Examples: Amusement Park, Fast Food Chain, Automobile Transportation, Airline Travel, Dry Cleaners, Tax Return Preparation, McDonalds, Corner Shoeshine
From the article: "Quality of service is becoming an increasingly important differentiator between competing businesses in the retailing sector. In today's fiercely competitive marketplace, characterized by similarly priced, look-alike product offerings from a variety of retailing firms, clear winners will be the ones that provide excellent service quality. The paper describes the development and potential applications of a multiple-item instrument--called SERVQUAL--for measuring customer perceptions of service quality.
Examples: Appliance Repair and Maintenance, Banks, Long-distance Telephone, Credit card
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: "Mistakes are a critical part of every service. Hard as they try, even the best service companies can't prevent the occasional late flight, burned steak, or missed delivery. The fact is, in services, often performed in the customer's presence, errors are inevitable. But dissatisfied customers are not. While companies may not be able to prevent all problems, they can learn to recover from them. A good recovery can turn angry, frustrated customers into loyal ones. It can, in fact create more goodwill than if things had gone smoothly in the first place."
Examples: Club Med, Maine Savings Bank, Marriott Hotel, British Airways, Domino's Pizza, Stew Leonards, US Air, DFW Airport, Sheraton Hotel, Smith & Hawken, First Union National Bank, US Secret Service, Sonesta Hotel, Montgomery Ward, McDonald's, Federal Express
From the article: "A typology of service organizations is presented and a conceptual framework is advanced for exploring the impact of physical surroundings on the behaviors of both customers and employees. The ability of the physical surroundings to faciliate achievement of organizational as well as marketing goals is explored. Literature from diverse disciplines provides theoretical grounding for the framework, which services as a base for focused propositions. By examining the multiple strategic roles that physical surroundings can exert in service organizations, the author highlights key managerial and research implications."
Examples: Hotels, Restaurants, Professional Offices, Banks, Retail Stores, Hospitals, Ticketron, Federal Express, Supermarket, 7-11, Cinnamon Roll Bakeries, Airports, Club Med, Benihana, Scandinavian Airline Systems, Fast Food Chain, Supermarkets, Department Stores, ATMs, Miniature Golf
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 paper, we describe "Experience Prototyping" as a form of prototyping that enables design team members, users and clients to gain first-hand appreciation of existing or future conditions through active engagement with prototypes. We use examples from commercial design projects to illustrate the value of such prototypes in three critical design activities: understanding existing experiences, exploring design ideas and in communicating design concepts."
Examples: Snowboarding, Cardiac Telemetry, Marine ROV, Passenger Train, Airplane Cabin, Television Surfing, Photo Sharing, Kiss Communicator
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
From the article: "The loss of service jobs, which currently account for over 80% of private sector employment in the United States, is not merely an American phenomenon. The fact is that service sector jobs in all developed countries are at risk. We are in the middle of a fundamental change, which is that services are being industrialized. Three factors in particular are combining with outsourcing and offshoring to drive that transformation: The first is increasing global competition. The second is automation. The third is self-service. As these forces combine to sweep across the service sector, executives of all stripes must start thinking about arming and defending themselves, just as their manufacturing cousins did a generation ago."
Examples: Travel Agent, Diagnostic Imaging, Edmunds.com, Wells Fargo Bank, Dell, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Concierge Services, Financial Services, Hotels, NTT DoCoMo, Thompson Publishing, IndyMac Bank
From the article: "Marketing was originally built on a goods-centered, manufacturing-based model of economic exchange developed during the Industrial Revolution. Since its beginning, marketing has been broadening its perspective to include the exchange of more than manufactured goods. The sub-discipline of service marketing has emerged to address much of this broadened perspective, but it is built on the same goods and manufacturing-based model. The influence of this model is evident in the prototypical characteristics that have been identified as distinguishing services from goods — intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity, and perishability. The authors argue that these characteristics (a) do not distinguish services from goods, (b) only have meaning from a manufacturing perspective, and (c) imply inappropriate normative strategies. They suggest that advances made by service scholars can provide a foundation for a more service-dominant view of all exchange from which more appropriate normative strategies can be developed for all of marketing."
Examples: hospitals, Dell, airlines, banks, hotels, theaters, Cannondale, Acumin, Land Rover, Levis, Harley Davidson
From the article: "Most industrial manufacturers realize that the real money isn't in products but in services. Companies such as General Electric and IBM have famously made the transition: A large proportion of their revenues and margins come from providing value-added services to customers. It is not enough, the authors say, just to provide services. Businesses must now provide "smart services"--building intelligence (awareness and connectivity) into the products themselves. Four business models will emerge in this new, networked world. Embedded innovator, solutionist, aggregator and synergist. Woe to the company that takes none of these paths; it'll soon find its former customers locked in--and happily--to other smart service providers."
Examples: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, Air Products and Chemicals, Air Liquide, GE Healthcare, GE Industrial Capital Equipment, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, Honeywell, Eaton Electrical, Gardner Denver, Electrolux, Rockwell Automation, Philips
From the article: "Service businesses struggle with a reality that is foreign to manufacturers: Customers "interfere" with their operations. To deliver consistent quality at sustainable cost, companies must learn to manage that involvement."
Examples: Grocery Store, Call Center, Emergency Room, Diner, Cleaning Service, Law Firm, College, eBay, Dell, Starbucks, Zipcar, Tiffany's, Southwest Airlines, Gateway, First Union, Netflix
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