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: "Examines service provider behaviors that influence customer evaluation of service encounters. Develops a list of service provider behaviors relevant to customer evaluation of a service encounter. Examines performance of these behaviors in specific restaurant and medical transactions. Then examines the relationship between performance of each behavior and encounter satisfaction. Behaviors are grouped, using factor analysis from consumer surveys, into three dimensions: concern, civility, and congeniality. Each is defined using multiple behavioral measures. Measures include concepts not widely addressed in current services literature, including conversation, respect, genuineness, attitude and demeanor. These dimensions and constituent behaviors provide a framework for future research and service training and management."
Examples: Medical, Restaurant
From the article: "Considers the role of non-verbal communication in consumers' evaluation of service encounters. Non-verbal communication has been extensively studies in the psychology and psychotherapy disciplines and has been shown to have a central effect on participants' perceptions of an event. As services are essentially interpersonal interactions it follows that non-verbal communication will play a major part in service evaluation. Uses an experimental methodology based on video scenarios to demonstrate the effect of this type of communication on consumers. The results indicate significant differences in respondents' reactions to the scenarios according to the non-verbal behavior of the service provider."
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: "In the design discipline the methodological implications of product/service systems rarely have been discussed even though design components play a critical role in the development of PSS. This paper explores the disciplinary domains that may offer methodological suggestions for the design of PSS. The first part of the paper focuses on the design of PSS from a designer's perspective, emphasizing the role of designers in developing innovative PSS. The second part outlines methodological tools that can be used when dealing with specific aspects of the design activity focused on PSS."
From the article: "From coffee bar to caffeine kingdom, Starbucks proves relationships are as important as physical assets."
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 organization’s 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."
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: "When customers lack the expertise to judge a company's offerings, they naturally turn detective, scrutinizing people, facilities, and processes for evidence of quality. The Mayo Clinic understands this and carefully manages that evidence to convey a simple, consistent message: The needs of the patient come first. From the way it hires and trains employees to the way it designs its facilities and approaches its care, the Mayo Clinic provides patients and their families concrete evidence of its strengths and values--an approach that has allowed it to build what is arguably the most powerful brand in health care. Marketing professors Leonard Berry and Neeli Bendapudi conducted a five-month study of evidence management at the Mayo Clinic. Their experiences led them to identify best practices applicable to just about any company, in particular those that sell intangible or technically complex products."
Examples: Mayo Clinic, Ritz Carlton
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
From the article: "In a world of commoditized products, companies are turning to service offerings for growth. The key to success involves redefining markets in terms of customer activities and outcomes, not products and services."
Examples: Kodak, Ofoto, Noble House Custom Tailors, Batesville Casket Co., Florists, Bernina Sewing, McAfee, General Motors, OnStar, iFit.com, Costco Wholesale, eBay Inc., Elance Inc., United Parcel Service, Nike, DuPont, Flixrunner.com, Pizza, John Deere and Co., Smith Cogeneration Management, Gevalia Kaffe
From the article: "New developments in health care, higher education, and the law are just the beginning. Most people think of disruptive innovations--the simple, cheap, convenient advancements that create new growth--as tangible products. However, service-related businesses face the same circumstances that drive disruption in product-related businesses, such as the pressure to improve to serve leading customers better and the presence of "nonconsumers" who seek to do for themselves what they historically paid an expert to do. As such, service-related businesses teem with the potential for disruption."
Examples: Health Care, Education, Law, Kmart, Wal-Mart, QuickMedx, University of Phoenix, Concord Law School, eLawForum
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: "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
From the article: "This paper explores the customer experience paradigm as it pertains to service operations strategy and design. First, we operationally define and discuss the concept of customer experience. In this context, we propose a reframing of the strategic role of operations strategy as one of choreographing experience-centric services. We then introduce the concept of services as destinations as an emerging business model for classifying experiential service strategies. [...] Using this conceptual typology, we develop five propositions and use multiple cases to illustrate firms' use of these experience strategies."
Examples: Winter Sports Resort, Shopping Mall, Department Store, Bookstore, Tourism
From the article: "Recent research projects have looked for social innovations, i.e., people creating solutions outside the mainstream patterns of production and consumption. An analysis of these innovations indicates the emergence of a particular kind of service configuration—defined here as relational services—which requires intensive interpersonal relations to operate. Based on a comparative analysis between standard and relational services, we propose to the Service Design discipline an interpretative framework able to reinforce its ability to deal with the interpersonal relational qualities in services, indicating how these qualities can be understood and favored by design activities, as well as the limits of this design intervention. Martin Buber's conceptual framework is presented as the main interpretative basis. Buber describes two ways of interacting ("I-Thou" and "I-It"). Relational services are those most favoring "I-Thou" interpersonal encounters.
Examples: Living Room Restaurant, Walking Bus, School Bus, McDonalds