On service design

Don’t tell me you’re funny!

Design Inspiration

Ask yourself: what makes a great brand? 

You might answer Apple because of their well-designed products, stores and interfaces or Netflix and that’d be down to not only the latest, brilliant season of “House of Cards” but also due to Netflix’s knack for nailing recommendations that help you navigate through all of its other awesome content. Or perhaps Uber because it’s simply mind-blowing to order a car within minutes by pressing a button on your phone, no matter at which airport you just landed. 
It’s clear that aspirations and brand loyalty are being built through seamless, delightful and interconnected service experiences. Shallow marketing sales pitches in a vast sea of sameness don’t mean anything if the oh-so-well-crafted brand promise fails to deliver in reality. The world has moved on and there is no hiding anymore. Let’s face it: Santa Clause doesn’t bring happiness in a red truck. 

Opportunity knocking

Organisations who actively think about their role in the customer’s life, how they provide services and what those feel like to use are likely to stand out amongst their peers. Ultimately the goal is to convince your audience to choose what you offer, whether that’s a service, a product or an experience above that of the competition. Providing a delightful experience and designing services around your customers’ needs can be the deciding factor that tips the scale in your favour. This is where Service Design comes into play. Done the right way, it will not only raise awareness but more important transform followers into fans, fostering more and more repeat visits and recommendations. Behind-the-scenes it increases efficiency, joins-up supply chains, improves processes.

Service design a mindset that can be applied to creating great customer experiences – whether you’re a b2c or b2b brand. Within the creative industries it has become an established discipline internationally but in the UK and USA particularly.  Having a quick look around it’s easy to join in the debate about service design through events such as the Service Design Fringe Festival in London or at sector-specific conferences like Service Design in Business and Service Design in Government. 

Notable agencies such as Live|Work, Snook, Normally, Engine and Spotless have been blazing this trail for several years and service design is also a core part of how Method and Fjord tackle digital. Elsewhere it’s central to systems design, human factors and design-thinking originally championed by consultancies such as IDEO. Service design underpins much of the research and thought leadership by organisations such as NESTA and the Design Management Institute. The Service Design Network has local chapters everywhere from Taiwain and China to Denmark and Brazil, but not one in the UAE or India. So why is this?

As this region expands its horizons beyond oil to tourism, tech entrepreneurship, aerospace, arts and culture, the idea of service design is increasingly essential – to residents, visitors, businesses. It’s how we’re making banking or servicing a car less of a headache, how we book holidays or restaurant tables with delightful ease. 

At Ochre we use service design to solve complex challenges. From re-thinking the cinema experience, how to eliminate pain points while passing through an airport, to thinking about how car sales in the region might up their game in the future, or the role of customer service in utilities such as broadband and energy. It is a subject we’ll explore over the coming months in a series of articles looking at service design in a range of contexts and sectors. We’ll consider at how service design fits perfectly into the increasingly sophisticated and exciting conversation around design in the UAE and then we’ll share some tips for how organisations can make it happen. So if your brand promise is the equivalent of telling someone you’re funny there had better be some laughter too. We’ll show you how. Stay tuned! 

Sebastian Klein
Creative Director (Brand)