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If you build it they won’t necessarily come, but if you describe it enough they may want to check it out

29 May, 2010

I’ve just completed a very successful week (5 separate sessions – 7 in total) of training people (designers, leads, account manager-level staff) on customer experience mapping and service blueprinting – as both technique and output. In order to do that though it required some schooling in services, service design, business analysis, change management, framework development. All within a four hour slot.

And I have to say my faith in people has been revitalized! Sometimes you toil in the preaching (and it feels like preaching at times) of service design as more than touchpoints, and website design, and advertising and that it’s about how customer and business connect – for the benefit of both. I’ve had the vision for this training for over a year, and finally after restructuring, change management activities, rah-rah-new-world-activities everything came together for me to run these sessions. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with ‘my job is to operationalise what the business wants and develop processes and brochures’-stalwarts saying, “I get it!” and even better, “I can’t wait to get back and start doing it”.

Working in a large organisation where the focus is ‘IT!’ or ‘Project Management!’ or ‘Architecture!’ or ‘Business Analysis!’ occasionally lip service is played to the role of the customer, and in a public sector agency, to the citizen. The organisation’s heart is in the right place, but the tools or mind-set is blinded by ‘requirements!’ ‘specifications!’ ‘stakeholders!’ and all that important business stuff. But that’s ok because I know this, and because our organisation has an area with ‘service design’ in the title it gives license to championing and mandating certain approaches and outputs to ensure customer, and the services they use to engage, comply, regulate and be regulated by, are factored in with all the other accepted business stuff because that is actually what the organisation wants to be able to do.

I’m just so pleased the vision I had came to fruition. But I fully appreciate the real test will be in the practice. Strike that, the real test will be in the design and delivery of services that are meaningful for the customer, efficient, effective and sustainable for the business and contribute to good feelings and trust in our citizenship about the value of the public sector.

Over the next few weeks, and with permission from my employer (they are enlightened, just risk averse) I am going to be publishing here generic versions of the experience mapping and service blueprinting techniques, and some of the training itself. I sought permission because so much of what I’ve learned and sourced and has helped in my service design knowledge development has come from similar forums.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 September, 2010 5:39 am

    I am very interested in seeing your presentation online, as I have been asked to review our whole customer service area (I’m in HR) and I find this whole mapping thing very interesting.


    • 13 September, 2010 8:05 pm

      Thanks for you question. I don’t actually have a ‘presentation’ as such (I’m a fan of presentation zen and the actual slides are high on imagery, slim on written content with the focus is on delivery). The gist of the message in the presentation, and my views on the value of the mapping-thing and the services-thing and the whole darn design thinking-thing is represented in this blog. If I could say anything about mapping and its value to business is that its purpose is to represent the customer in a business sense – not as a abstract bunch of quotes and ‘opportunities’ from market research – but as output from design research activity (into what people actually do, think, use) that’s intended to enable the business to make evidence-based decisions on change to solve problems or deliver on opportunities. Business often talks about how important the customer but there are few outputs that can contribute to the conversation about what to practically do as a map. And a blueprint – it’s not all about what the customer wants in my game, it’s about what they need and working out how to merge their needs and business needs.

      I am working on a post about understanding services which includes an exercise to get business people to engage with the service and customer concept (trialling it in a few days actually). S, cheesy as it is, “watch this space….”

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