What is a service blueprint

Design services in a customer-oriented manner with “Service Blueprinting”

Germany is changing from a production to a service nation. Almost 70% of gross value added in Germany takes place in the service sector. At the same time, customer demands are growing. The high level of digitization and networking of all areas of life is changing perception. Information must be available immediately, inquiries must be processed promptly.

Although services are becoming increasingly important to companies, the implementation of service processes is mostly done through trial and error.
Service blueprinting offers a structured approach to design service processes in a customer-oriented manner. The method opens up the possibility of uncovering optimization potentials in existing processes and analyzing the effects of future processes in advance.

Service blueprinting

Service blueprinting is a method for analyzing, visualizing and optimizing service processes. The Service Blueprint combines both the customer's and the provider's view of the service. The blueprint shows how the components of the service are interlinked.
The course of the service is described in a flow chart. This is divided horizontally into the following areas:

  1. Physical proof
    These are the “physical” things that the customer comes into contact with during use. This can be, for example, the company's website, the stand at the trade fair or a catalog or brochure.
  2. Actions of the customer
    The actions of the customer contain the individual steps that the customer goes through during the process.
  3. Actions of the provider
    The actions of the provider are the visible part of the service for the customer. Here there is direct interaction between customers and employees of the company.
  4. Background activities
    These are all actions that the company carries out in the background that are not visible to the user.
  5. Internal background processes
    These are supporting processes for the service process.

What is special about this method is that not only the areas that can be directly experienced by the customer are mapped, but that the "invisible" processes in the background are also observed. It is precisely these processes that carry the risk of having a negative impact on a process. The necessary infrastructures for the new process must be provided and the actors involved in the background must work together smoothly with each other and with employees who have direct customer contact. If, for example, internal and external staff do not work together, or only insufficiently, or if the IT infrastructure is unreliable, the best foreground processes can hardly develop their full potential.

Faster response times through digital lead recording

As a practical example for the service blueprint, the process “trade fair visit” should serve us. In our example, we want to examine how this process changes with the introduction of VERMO cloud, an app for lead recording. First, the current state is examined.
The actions of the customer (2) are quite straightforward. He arrives at the booth, gets advice and some time later he will receive the requested brochures. It is noticeable that the conversation and the dispatch are far apart. Depending on the duration of this process interruption from the customer's point of view, there is a risk that he no longer remembers the content of the conversation or has long since switched to the competition.

The reason for this delay can be explained well with the help of the blueprint, if you look behind the scenes. The notes on the conversation and the contact details were recorded on the exhibition sheet. This will be processed by an employee of the back office after the trade fair is over. This is where the first delay occurs in the process flow. The content of the trade fair questionnaire is transferred to the CRM. The media break (analog - digital) in this step also harbors the risk of incorrect entries. At the end of the process chain, the product information is sent to the customer. This is the process step that is visible to the customer again. The intermediate steps are not visible to him, but he perceives that the desired information arrives relatively late.

 

The weak points of the old process are the delayed manual steps in the background and the existing media breaks.

The same process is different with the support of the VERMO cloud app. When the call is sent, the customer data is automatically transferred to the CRM. Long processing times and unnecessary media breaks are eliminated. The most striking difference for the customer is that he receives the desired product information immediately.

 

 

Conclusion

The use of service blueprinting offers a number of advantages:
Easy understanding enables interdisciplinary collaboration

After a brief introduction, the service blueprints can also be understood by a layperson. If representatives from different departments work together on process improvements in a workshop, the blueprint is a good common communication medium.

Weak points become visible even before implementation

The advantage of the method is that the effects on the service process are already visible before implementation. This allows potential difficulties to be resolved on the drawing board before costs arise or customers become angry.

Effects on other departments are visible early on

By including the levels of “background activities” and “internal background processes”, effects on departments in the company become visible which, at first glance, do not appear to be affected by the respective process. This means that these departments can be involved in good time.

Silo thinking is minimized

If representatives from several departments are involved in setting up the new process, service blueprinting can help break down the silo thinking of the individual parties. Using the service blueprint, connections between the individual process steps can be easily made clear and dependencies between the various departments / teams can be shown.


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