Service Design for Business
Can service design methods help unlock business opportunities in SMEs?
This project explores how a service design approach might enable innovation in small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Alex’s background in business management and his previous research on SMEs suggested that some of the tools and methods used in service design might be useful in this context.
The value of service design to large companies is well documented, with customer experience improvements and increased revenues to airlines, coffee shop chains and banks often cited in case studies, however the value of service design to SMEs is less well documented.
Challenging economic conditions, especially to small businesses in Alex’s home country, Cyprus, prompted Alex to test out service design methods as a low-cost way of identifying opportunities to increase customer satisfaction and identify new business opportunities in a supported innovation process.
There are many approaches to innovation and systems ‘improvement’, what service design brings is a visual, empathetic and interactive set of tools which can deliver a more insightful understanding of the customers experience and unmet needs.
Alex worked with two small start-up enterprises in Scotland and one micro, one small and one medium enterprise in Cyprus – using the service blueprint tool to establish what their current business offering is, and where opportunities for innovation were to be found. Service blueprinting is a method which enables exploration and visual representation of how customers or users become aware, join, engage with and leave a business service. The blueprint also uncovers and visualises the operations and infrastructures which need to be in place both front of house and ‘behind the scenes.
Previous video at the early stages of the project