Choosenick. Notes and observations on service design, as well as other interesting things/thinking. By Nick Marsh.

Archive of July 2009

Service Design Thinks 1 - Sold out!

Yesterday we launched tickets to Service Design Thinks 1 via the Service Design Drinks mailing list. They sold out in two hours! This is going to be a great event, and we may be able to release some more tickets (maybe) so if you missed out and are interested please email me - nickatchoosenickdotcom. Some more info on the event is below:

Beyond ‘what is it?’ towards ‘how do you do it well?’ Service Design Thinks is a forum for conversation and discussion around service design practice.

Building on the success of the growing Service Design Drinks network, Service Design Thinks is run by service designers, for service designers.

Each event presents inspiring perspectives and reflections on service design practice, to spark conversation and debate and ultimately, move service design thinking and practice forward. The focus is on practical, inspiring stories and observations from people who design services every day. Each speaker will talk for 10 minutes, with time for questions and debate, followed by plenty of time for what Service Design Drinks is best known for - drinking, and talking about service design!

For this first session we’ve kept it simple and pulled together four speakers to discuss the four broad elements of a service design process - research, design, evaluation and management.

More info on the speakers and venue here.
July 28th, 2009 / Trackback / Comments

Gar2Go - Major product/service/business model innovation from 'mobility company' Mercedes-Benz. More background here and on the website Via Alex Osterwalder
July 27th, 2009 / Trackback

A fantastic video by Jeff Bezos of Amazon to introduce the Zappos acquisition. He has some simple lessons about customers, culture and invention that are useful for everyone working in service and innovation fields. I love his humility and enthusiasm!
July 25th, 2009 / Trackback

Pdf download link

"Managing both the technologies and the personnel needed for providing high-quality, multichannel customer support creates a complex and persistent operational challenge. Adding to this difficulty, it is still unclear how service personnel and these new communication technologies interact to influence the customer’s perceptions of the service being provided. Motivated by both practical importance and inconsistent findings in the academic literature, this exploratory research examines the interaction of media richness, represented by three different technology contexts (telephone, e-mail, and online chat), with six customer service representative (CSR) characteristics and their influences on customer satisfaction. Using a large-sample customer survey data set, the article develops a multigroup structural equation model to analyze these interactions.

Results suggest that CSR characteristics influence customer service satisfaction similarly across all three technology-mediated contexts. Of the characteristics studied, service representatives contribute to customer satisfaction more when they exhibit the characteristics of thoroughness, knowledgeableness, and preparedness, regardless of the richness of the medium used. Surprisingly, while three other CSR characteristics studied (courtesy, professionalism, and attentiveness) are traditionally believed to be important in face-to-face encounters, they had no significant impact on customer satisfaction in the technology-mediated contexts studied. Implications for both practitioners and researchers are drawn from the results and future research opportunities are discussed."

Read it here!
July 16th, 2009 / Trackback / Comments

picture-11.png "An open collection of communication tools used in design processes that deal with complex systems." This is #awesome. Great stuff from Roberta Tassi.
July 8th, 2009 / Trackback / Comments

Two nice pieces of non design-led service design

Spotted these two nice pieces of service design yesterday. Both are good examples of how simple service innovations can make a big difference and both come from very different sources of inspiration - the first directly from service users, and the second via a 'related worlds' piece of thinking.

The first is a Scottish NHS scheme to encourage people to stop smoking by, literally, paying them to quit. Participants get £12.50 a week to spend on groceries if they pass a special breathaliser test. The scheme is proving very successful, and Dr Paul Ballard, from the NHS reports that the idea from the scheme came from just talking to local smokers about what was important to them:

"We worked with local people to find out what would motivate them to quit smoking and using the message, 'You'll be healthier for longer' clearly wasn't going to work, what was important to them was putting food on the table... The figures that are coming through are showing that it's very successful."

I think this is great. It's a really simple, innovative approach to the serious health problem of smoking, and there's a BBC news video you can watch containing interviews with participants and organisers here. If only they could somehow get the tobacco companies to pay for it.

My concern for this scheme is its long term viability - the participants are poor, and some unemployed, and I imagine they'll get used to the extra £12.50. What happens when they've completely quit? Will they start smoking again to get the £12.50 back?

The second piece was reported in the FT yesterday - in areas of the US that have been hit hard by job losses Kmart is offering a discount programme for the unemployed.

This is a nice piece of corporate social design - everyone wins (although the unemployed won't feel like winners right now.) What's not in the online version (I read it in the print edition) is that the manager at Kmart just stole the idea from an apparel company that was offering 'insurance' on mens suits - buy the suit now, if you loose your job you get the money back.

Importing and modifying ideas from other sectors and industries, is an excellent, low cost service innovation strategy. Some people call it 'fast following' or 'playing not to lose'.
July 3rd, 2009 / Trackback / Comments