If you are in this highly promising and potential service industry and looking for tools to make your business services efficient, you have come to the right place!
Creating, managing, and improving services are challenging tasks. To let you ease the process, G. Lynn Shostack proposed the service blueprinting technique in 1984 in a Harvard Business Review titled “Designing Services That Deliver.” Since then, large and smart service companies have been utilizing this tool to make services easy to understand, improve, and deliver.
But how do you create one? It is easy to read the article until the end and try the tips and techniques suggested throughout.
As the name suggests, a service blueprint is a flowchart or wireframe diagram showing all the steps involved in delivering a service to a consumer or a business client. It works like an SOP for the service industry.
In other words, you can consider a service blueprint as an elaborated version of the customer journey map. You must already be using a customer journey map. It visually shows you all the customer-business interactions in a client’s lifecycle.
You expand the same flowchart below the customer journey map to create relationships between these consumer interactions with other business properties like processes, people, tools, physical evidence, digital evidence, and so on.
A service blueprinting project breaks down the product or service delivery into some logical components. Then, connect the dots between these logical components using lines and arrows.
The process also divides each layer into swimming lanes or dashed lanes. Finally, the whole diagram will look like a wireframe, as seen during a website or mobile app development project.
What Does It Map Out?
Every standardized service blueprint must map out the followings:
The step-by-step lifecycle of a customer journey in your business
Each frontstage channel, one by one the customer interacts with
Backstage processes and channels that support the front-stage channels
Next, jump in to know why we need to do service blueprinting.
Primarily, you need to do service blueprinting for the following reasons:
#1. Service Designing
Every industry recruits professional service designers to create a service blueprint. Companies use this flowchart to train their internal workforce.
Such a visual design ensures that the front and back end work collaboratively and follow appropriate quality guidelines.
#2. Service Improving
When you apply service blueprinting, you can easily apply data analysis techniques on information collected from several customer touchpoints that follow a universal servicing SOP.
Then, you can also introduce some changes in the blueprint and perform A/B testing to find out a revamped servicing pathway.
#3. Service Troubleshooting
When your customer service team gets too many complaints about a specific service delivery across stores, websites, and other touchpoints, you need to find the troubling element.
Now, if you have a service blueprint, you can test each step in the flowchart to find out which one is malfunctioning. Once located, you can manipulate the step and resolve customers’ pain points.
For example, you are getting too many social media reports that your customer service team is not following up with the customers. However, the manager of the customer service team reports that the reps are following up regularly.
Then, where is the issue? You might ask!
By looking at the service blueprint diagram, you discover that the reps are using old emails for a group of customers for follow-up emails. That’s it! You can immediately work with the database team to update customers’ email so that the customer service agents can send emails to the current mail addresses.
#4. Service Discovery
You can review existing service blueprints to explore potential new services.
For instance, customers complain on social media about missing the extended warranty option. You go back to the service blueprint for eCommerce purchases and see that the website does not offer an extended warranty to new users.
It only promotes this option to a customer who has previously bought a product. You can simply upgrade the buying process and offer extended warranty upfront.
#5. Training New Service Reps
Multinational companies and global retail chains use service blueprints to train new employees in that particular service or product department.
Further, check out the essential components of the service blueprint diagram.
A service blueprint consists of various design elements and text boxes to outline various service actions, and these are as below:
#1. Physical Evidence
This swim lane or action row shows customers interacting with your business through props like websites, stores, order documents, etc.
#2. Customers’ Actions
This swim lane is mainly the customer journey map. It should outline all the steps a customer must take before receiving your services.
#3. Onstage Contact Actions
Your business clients and consumers see these actions. For example, a traveler buying a bus ticket from a physical counter is an onstage or front-line contact. Another example could be human-to-machine interaction in ATMs, vending machines, etc.
#4. Backstage Contact Actions
Consumers do not see these interactions and tasks. Usually, a backend team, machines, and modern servers perform these tasks so that the front-line agent can serve the customer.
For example, money counted inside an ATM and packaging of online orders at fulfillment centers is backstage actions.
#5. Support Processes
These are the workforce and interactions that stay hidden always. However, these actions and the workforce are important for the business’s survival. For example, business data analytics, payment processing by gateways, risk analysis of eCommerce orders, etc., are support process actions.
#1. The Line of Visibility
In a service process, a customer may not see all the actions. The Line of Visibility shows you the actions visible to the clients and those that are not visible.
You must place visible actions above the Line of Visibility. On the other hand, all the invisible tasks will stay below the Line of Visibility.
#2. The Line of No-Visibility or Internal Interaction
This line mainly segregates the employees who get in direct contact with the customers and those who do not. You may use dashed lines between two swim lanes to denote this line.
#3. The Line of Interaction
It is the front-line touchpoint where the consumer interacts with business reps directly.
#1. Time of Completion
To ensure that the employees follow a pre-allocated schedule to complete the tasks on the service blueprint, you can mention the expected time of completion or ETA.
#2. Business Rules
Clearly outline business policies so that the onstage and backstage contact actions do not exceed a certain threshold when the reps try to enhance customer service.
#3. Business Metrics
Collect and compare time, sales, discounts, etc., from the whole process to measure whether the service is in its optimum state.
You can add sticky notes, sketches, legends, instructions, and more as annotations on the flowchart.
Single-headed arrows mean simple movement of the process from one step to the other. Contrarily, double-headed arrows mean both steps must agree with each other before the process progression.
Now, let’s check out the use cases of the service blueprint concept.
#1. Corner Shoeshine Service Blueprint
G. Lynn Shostack used this example to propose the early theory of service blueprinting. It is also the cleanest and easiest format of service flowchart for Corner Shoeshine businesses. It only contains two sections. These are as below:
Actions that the customers see
Necessary actions that customers do not see
The blueprint also mentions the expected time the steps will take so that the shoeshiner can complete the process in 2 to 5 minutes.
#2. Hotel Service Blueprint
This wireframe clearly explains the customer journey map when a traveler arrives at a hotel until they get their bags in the room or tip the bellperson.
The Physical Evidence outlines several physical and digital props your customers go through during their arrival and stay at your hotel—for instance, exterior parking, cart for bags, elevator, etc.
Other blueprint components are Customer Actions, Onstage Contact Actions, Backstage Contact Actions, and Support processes.
#3. Online Buying Service Blueprint
In this example, you see the customer journey map for an eCommerce website and related steps through which you provide front-line and back-end services.
There are essentially 5 action rows, and these are for physical evidence, customer actions, onstage contact actions, and so on.
The flowchart shows some dependencies or relations between actions using arrows and lines.
If you use an online platform to promote your services, then you must use this template from Miro. It shows a customer journey map of a customer buying a ready-mix meal from the website, getting the order at their home, cooking it, posting the dish, receiving a discount, and buying again.
However, according to your business needs, you can customize the service blueprint components like Physical Evidence, Customer Actions, Front Stage Interactions, Back Stage Interactions, and Support Processes. The template is available via free and paid subscriptions to Miro.
Want to offer the best in class services to your customers or business clients? Want to find the service issues before it damages your business revenue? And most importantly, want to do all of that via team collaboration?
If yes is your answer to all these questions, do not wait any longer but Sign In to Mural and get this awesome service blueprint template for free.
The template is suitable for any big or small-scale commercial service planning. Unlike other templates, it does not spoon-feed you the content. It asks you questions in each step so that you can create a functional service blueprint from this generic template.
This Whiteboards.io template of service blueprint covers a customer journey to buying products from an eCommerce website. Now, other behind the scene and frontline customer touchpoints have been covered by this flowchart.
You can also use it for brick-and-mortar stores. You just need to customize the service blueprint components with the appropriate content. The diagram is shareable and editable from a trial account. But you can enjoy professional benefits if you get a paid plan.
This Lucidchart service blueprint format is a blank template suitable for most service-facing businesses. However, you can go to the Documents Page of the Lucidspark web app and visit its Template Library to discover the Service Blueprint With Swimlanes diagram.
The second one provides more guidance on how to customize the template on Lucidspark. However, if you are already an experienced service blueprint-maker, you can use the first template.
If you face a competitive market to promote and sell your services or products, you might want to revamp your services. EdrawMind helps you in your quest by offering a freely downloadable service blueprint template.
In the above link of the EdrawMind templates library, you can find ready-to-use formats for the following business cases:
Restaurant Service Blueprint: Drinks and Appetizers
Hotel Service Blueprint
Bank Service Blueprint
Hospital Service Blueprint
Service-facing businesses generate the most revenues across the globe. If you consider the US, service industries have added $14.76 trillion to the US economy in 2022, as reported by Statista. The report also says that the above figure is 76.89% of the US GDP in 2022.
Staying in this business should earn you a fortune since it has trillions of dollars in market share, and setting up a service-facing business is easier. However, you must always review your business’s service offerings using the latest operations management tools. Else, the business might take a downward trend.
One such tool is a service blueprint diagram, and you have just mastered that if you have read it so far. Without waiting much, use any of the above tools and a service blueprint diagram that suits your business to understand services better, improvise them, and delight your clients.
I am a technical and creative content writer with 10+ years of experience in the relevant industry. My degrees in English and Sociology, coupled with working experience in software development companies, help me understand how technology… read more
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