How & Why to Use Service Blueprinting

One of the most beneficial activities a service organisation can undertake is ‘blueprinting’.

This concept was pioneered by Mary Jo Bitner, Amy Ostrom and Felicia Morgan who had been using their model for companies including IBM, Yellow Transportation and the San Francisco Giants.

What is Service Blueprinting?

Service Blueprint is a customer-focused approach to service innovation and improvement.

Most service businesses rely on what they describe as “fuzzy front end” and verbal descriptions of processes and roles.

“Recurrent service quality problems is often the result of poor design,” write the authors.

Services are intangible and complex. Discussing them verbally can pose many challenges and misinterpretations.

The authors, who released the details of their landmark method in 2008, helps organisations achieve a number of things. First, it identifies fail points. It also helps an organisation understand the ideal service experience and evaluate its competitive positioning. What is the desired service compared to the actual one?

How to Create A Service Blueprint

The blueprints are visual maps and used to unite cross-disciplinary teams (different departments) in the common goal of creating great customer experiences.

The blueprint consist of five components:

1. Customer Actions

2. Onstage / Visible Contact Employee Actions

3. Backstage / invisible Actions

4. Support Processes

5. Physical Evidence.

The first thing to do is define the activity and customer segment you are blueprinting, then list the initial customer actions.

We then fill in our line of visibility.

Include all the actions that need to take place.

Last, include the physical evidence the customer is exposed to (including the facility exterior, interior and other tangibles such as business cards, documents).

A simple example is here

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Gratitude & Thanks to:

Bitner, Ostrom, Morgan (2008), “Service Blueprinting: A Practical Guide to Service Innovation”, California Management Review, Vol 50, No. 3