In today’s digital world, products and services are no longer static entities–they are part of an interactive ecosystem, filled with intricate processes an end-customer cannot always see. To unpack and design for this complexity, one powerful tool comes to the forefront: Service Blueprints.
What are Service Blueprints and How Do They Work?
Service Blueprints make the invisible nature of connected devices and services visible. They provide a comprehensive visual narrative of the customer journey, the stakeholders and touchpoints those customers interact with, and all the behind-the-scenes technologies and processes required to orchestrate the experience.
Using a common digital experience as an example—a virtual healthcare visit—we’ll share how Twisthink utilizes Service Blueprints and how the tool facilitates a holistic view of product-service systems in a collaborative approach to address pain points, uncover unknowns, and identify areas of opportunity.
Differentiating Service Blueprints from Journey Maps:
Unlike a Journey Map, which focuses on the experience and needs of a customer (or patient), a Service Blueprint depicts the interactions between:
- A Customer: the person who takes steps to interact with a service or connected product (e.g., the patient or caregiver)
- Touchpoints: physical or digital items that facilitate the experience (e.g., a computer, appointment confirmations)
- Frontstage Stakeholders: the people a customer interacts with (e.g., a nurse or physician)
- Frontstage Technologies: digital interactions the customer experiences (e.g., appointment request form on the customer’s patient portal)
- Backstage Actions: the steps that internal stakeholders take to support the frontstage steps that customers do not see (e.g., billing department, hospital administration)
- Backstage Processes: technology and steps required to support the experience (e.g., insurance verification)
Leveraging Service Blueprints to Address Pain Points and Identify Opportunities:
Through this detailed mapping, Service Blueprints reveal how individual steps impact the overall user experience. For instance, a hospital system may be aware of a behind-the-scenes inefficiency in verifying insurance coverage for a patient’s virtual visit, but they may not have a comprehensive understanding of all the factors influencing that inefficiency, nor its downstream impacts on patients. Service Blueprints are key to untangling that knot and identifying effective solutions.
Twisthink’s Approach to Service Blueprints:
At Twisthink, we take a multi-step process in collaboration with our clients to visualize their product-service systems as they exist today and reimagine them to create impact:
- Conduct Customer and Stakeholder Research: We conduct a range of qualitative research methods (interviews, site visits, and desk research) to rapidly understand stakeholder and customer needs, pain points, and expectations surrounding the experience.
- Identify Pain Points and Opportunities: Upon analyzing the data we’ve collected, our team begins to cultivate insights, identify where the service journey currently falls short, and develop hunches around potential areas for improvement.
- Map the Interactions: We take the findings from our research and visualize each step of the process and how those steps interact. As we lay out the end-to-end journey, we may reveal additional gaps in the customer’s or stakeholder’s experience, or identify opportunities to make behind-the-scenes processes more efficient.
- Collaborate within Our Cross-Functional Teams and Clients to Build Upon and Align: To ensure a comprehensive blueprint, cross-functional collaboration is crucial. By involving team members beyond our Strategy Team, and our clients who live in that product-service system daily, different perspectives emerge and a holistic understanding of the service can be achieved.
- Continuously Iterate and Reimagine: Service Blueprints should be seen as living documents. We might not capture every detail of a service on the first go, so expect to evolve and improve over time as new insights emerge. Once our team feels set on the current state blueprint, we collaborate with our teams to envision new approaches to experience delivery and develop roadmaps to make that vision a reality.
The Power of Service Blueprints for Your Company:
Service Blueprints are an excellent way to get a comprehensive view of your service while building engagement and collaboration across your teams. At Twisthink, our Service Blueprints are a culmination of our stakeholder research into a “shared voice” that leads into team buy-in and provides opportunity for multiple disciplines to assess the blueprint from different lenses. With our virtual visit example, we may weave in perspectives from physicians, nurses, receptionists, hospital administration, and others into a blueprint in a way that represents their individual roles and helps them gain insight into other aspects of healthcare delivery.
Building Alignment and Transforming Services:
Service Blueprints also serve as a means to build alignment. Once you have a holistic view of your existing service in front of your team, it becomes really difficult to ignore what’s broken! As a team, you begin to develop a shared understanding of the problems and opportunities at hand and how they interrelate.
The alignment created by the Service Blueprints then creates a solid foundation for teams to reassess their service and set a strategy to transform it over time. Some challenges and opportunities may be flagged for immediate action for a “quick win,” while others may require a longer runway to develop and implement.
Read the case study on how our team used Service Blueprints to create a strategic digital roadmap for a global catering company.
Getting Started with Service Blueprints:
A Service Blueprint is an invaluable tool that guides organizations to understand complexities, identify areas for improvement, and optimize user experiences. When it comes to digital strategy, Service Blueprints play a pivotal role in establishing a solid foundation, enabling teams to develop meaningful and actionable strategies that drive effective solutions.
At Twisthink, we understand the importance of immersion and the value of gaining a deeper understanding of the holistic user experience. With our expertise, we can help guide you through the process of uncovering unknowns, creating team alignment, and identifying areas of opportunity so you can generate new value for your business.
Connect with us to get started.
Here are some helpful resources to learn more: