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!

Filter: Papers that mention "Southwest Airlines" | View all papers
Five Imperatives for Improving Service Quality
Sloan Management Review, 1990
Leonard Berry
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

Compare with:
SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality
Clueing in Customers
Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work
Harvard Business Review, 1994
James Heskett
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

Compare with:
The Core Competence of the Corporation
Breaking Free from Product Marketing
Clueing in Customers
Breaking the Trade-Off Between Efficiency and Service
Harvard Business Review, 2006
Frances Frei
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