Over the last two weeks we’ve had another two awesome lectures, one on Service Design was delivered by Professor Tom Inns.
We all know of the many services available; leisure, travel, tourism, business, financial, insurance and health. These services are all similar in that they involve an action or help that one person can give to another but unlike the manufacturing industry doesn’t end in a finished product. Services cannot be stored, the results cannot be touched but the outcome can often be seen. Services cannot be transported and therefore cannot be sold as manufactured products to interested parties, its quality is usually dependant on the giver and its often this quality which will determine whether customers remain loyal.
Service designers look at the customer experience, the employee experience and if the service is offering what it intended and in the best and most cost effective way which benefits everyone.
I’ve been looking at a service that I’m in the process of going through – the services of my GP and referral to hospital and I feel there are lots of ways the whole process could be considerably improved!
Below I’ve used a service blueprint, this notes the sequence of events of the service experience, it notes the physical evidence; the touchpoints and the part the customers cannot see; below the line of visibility
From the first appointment with the GP there is so much waiting and wondering and the whole time scale just makes anxieties grow. Backward and forward from GP to Nurse and back again then the referral to a Consultant. There are many things I could comment on but one which I won’t forget when eventually attending for my appointment at a huge teaching hospital was asking for directions to the relevant department; I was sent to 3 different places before I got to the correct place!
So here is just one area where design could help and improve the customer/patient experience don’t get me started on waiting times. Signs within the hospital are so confusing the area is too fussy with cafes and shops and although a big area it feels very closed in. Once you get to your department the nurses are very nice but make mistakes and these are silly mistakes and don’t do anything for customer/patient anxiety (my wrist band had me down as a male! I am quite obviously female even my name is a feminine name)
I also asked about the procedure and could they explain what would happen, I was told that she (the nurse) was only helping cover in the department that day and couldn’t. All the little things add up; where I should have felt confident at ease and reassured I felt anxious, overwhelmed and scared.
A Service Design team would look at the experience from all levels, the physical evidence, the external and internal interaction, the service user and members of staff and how the building works.
An example can be found here with a case study carried out by Kipum Michael Lee for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre. If you have time click on the link and read through the pdf it’s an example of how service design can help a very busy hospital and on page 34 is a service blueprint of the hospital.