Tag Archives: service design

The service concept revisited #2: service name and organising idea

Much has been written about the importance of selecting good names for things so that I probably don’t have to write much here. Just keep in my mind that the service name will be used very frequently, so taking time to find a good name or even changing an existing name to something better will pay of quickly.

The organising idea is the briefest meaningful summary of what constitutes the service under discussion. It is our first opportunity to communicate intent. A single sentence, perhaps even only a phrase, will often be sufficient.

To Johnston & Clark (2005), the organising idea is “The essence of the service bought, or used, by the customer.”

I’ve written about explicitly stating intent on my old blog before. First and foremost, it allows others to make independent progress toward a larger objective.

Live tweeting from London Lean Kanban Days 2019, Tobbe Gyllebring shared this:

That’s much nicer and much more powerful than what I used to say. Going forward, I’ll just borrow this:

Clarity of intent enables autonomous aligned action.

— Karl Scotland (paraphrased) via Tobbe Gyllebring

I like the notion of an organising idea: What is the fundamental idea that we should organise everything else around? Or even better, that we should let everything else (and everyone) organise around?

See The service concept revisited for context and for links to related posts. Interested in exploring this further? Please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!


Johnston, R. & Clark, G. (2005) Service operations management: improving service delivery. 2nd ed., Pearson.

The end of service encounters and customer relationships

I’m currently reading Service Design for Business: A Practical Guide to Optimizing the Customer Experience by Ben Reason, Lavrans Løvlie and Melvin Brand Flu of Livework. I’m enjoying the book so far and am convinced that it will make the field of service design much more accessible to a wider business audience.

The authors have extended the traditional three-stage model of service consumption (pre-purchase/pre-encounter, encounter, post-encounter stages) by another stage (begin) yielding these four stages: before, begin, during, after. Their reasoning for adding this stage is sound:

How customers begin their relationship with a service is critical to success…A good beginning helps to avoid dissatisfaction and makes customers more disposed to do more business with you later. –Reason, Løvlie, Brand Flu

In their takeaway messages for this chapter they conclude:

The beginning sets the tone for the relationship. –Reason, Løvlie, Brand Flu

Symmetry suggests we also take a closer look at how service encounters or entire customer relationships end. Thinking about our own experiences as service customers it becomes clear that the end stage of an individual service encounter or a relationship with a service provider can have significant impact on our evaluation of the overall service experience and the service provider.

For example, being rushed out of a restaurant after a nice meal with our partner (or having to wait too long for the bill) may well spoil an otherwise excellent experience on the finishing line. Similarly, if the service provider makes it difficult for me to leave a service after my needs have changed, my overall evaluation of a satisfactory service experience up to that point will be diminished.

In both cases, my readiness to re-purchase the service will be severely reduced as will be my readiness to recommend the service to others. On the contrary, I’ll probably complain about the service failure to anyone who cares to listen.

The authors seem to recognize this without highlighting the end of a service encounter or customer relationship as a distinct stage:

Past customers are also potential future customers–and are therefore always worth attention. –Reason, Løvlie, Brand Flu

In conclusion I suggest extending the discussion by considering referrals & recommendations by current and former customers, and by adding an explicit end stage to the model, thereby yielding these five service stages: before, begin, during, end, after.


Enterprise Design Framework: Anatomy

Yesterday I said how valuable I thought Intersection: How Enterprise Design Bridges the Gap Between Business, Technology and People by Milan Guenther is and talked about a few things I view and do differently with respect to the enterprise design framework’s Big Picture layer.

Today I was going to write about things I view and do differently with respect to the anatomy layer…but it turns out I already did:

Content strategy, service design and physical objects

In this context you also have to ready Mapping the Enterprise by Tom Graves.