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: "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: "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: "A company's competitiveness derives from its core competencies and core products. Core competence is the collective learning in the organization, especially the capacity to coordinate diverse production skills and integrate streams of technologies. First companies must identify core competencies, which provide potential access to a wide variety of markets, make a contribution to the customer benefits of the product, and are difficult for competitors to imitate. Next companies must reorganize to learn from alliances and focus on internal development."
Examples: Citibank, NEC, GTE, Canon, Honda, 3M, GE, Philips, JVC, Kodak, Xerox
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: "In a previous article we presented SERVQUAL, a multiple-item scale for measuring service quality. In the present article, we discuss findings from a follow-up study in which we refined SERVQUAL and replicated it in five different customer samples. We also compare our findings with those of other researchers who have recently employed and evaluated SERVQUAL. On the basis of insights from this comparative discussion, we offer directions for future SERVQUAL research and applications."
Examples: Banks, Insurance, Long-distance Telephone
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: "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: "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: "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: "Service processes require the participation of the customer: Without the customer, service processes cannot take place. The fact that the service provider is dependent on customer participation causes difficulties in managing service processes efficiently and effectively because customer's contributions can only be influenced by the provider up to a certain extent. The article will stress the management of service process efficiency. Therefore, a production-theoretic view will be used to identify the sources of efficiency problems. Based on this approach, we will differentiate between customer-induced and customer-independent acivities for a better efficiency management. The well-known blueprinting technique will be used in a revised version based on the production-theoretic approach to identify starting points for improving process efficiency."
Examples: Banks, Acquisition
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: "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