SERVICE BLUEPRINT PROTOTYPE
A large sheet of paper or white board
What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?
A service can be evaluated with end-users and stakeholders using a service blueprint prototype. Development points and opportunities for the service can be spotted during evaluation as the service blueprint visually details the service process for the organisation and the customer, including all steps, actions, touchpoints, physical and intangible evidences, and support processes. This visual representation of a service is easier and more immediate to process than text or a PowerPoint presentation. Engaging end-users and stakeholders to evaluate provides them an opportunity to give their viewpoints on the functionality, usability and usefulness of the service, and to influence its development.
Steps how to use this tool in practice
The same steps apply when working individually, in pairs or in a group.
Download the service blueprint template and describe in detail all parts of your service blueprint prototype. Start by listing all the actions of the customer in one row. You can also use a big sheet of paper or a whiteboard.
List next all the actions of the organisation/company: first the frontstage actions (that the customer sees) on the row below the customer actions, next the backstage actions (that support front stage actions but are invisible to the customer) on a row below front stage actions, and finally support processes (internal actions that support the employees in delivering the service) on a row below backstage actions. These should follow the steps of the customer. In case the company would have steps independent of direct customer involvement, then the customer step is empty. Not every customer step has a corresponding step for each organisation/company frontstage action. For example, the customer might book a hotel online.
Add next touchpoints and evidences on the row above the customer row, to each service step where they are used. Touchpoints are moments a customer is in contact with the company, from seeing an advertisement to in-person contact, for example at hotel reception. Evidence consists of props and places that are used for the service and where service takes places, for example in a restaurant.
Add the lines of interaction to your service blueprint to separate customer and business/organisation actions:
A line to separate touchpoints and physical evidence from the actions of the customer.
A line to separate customer actions and organisation/company actions.
A line of visibility to separate actions that are visible to the customer from the actions that are invisible to them. All visible actions and elements (frontstage actions) should be placed above the line. The invisible actions (backstage actions) should remain below the line.
Lastly add the estimated duration for each action. You may also add arrows to indicate relationships and dependencies between steps, and any other element that may be relevant for the end-user.
When ready with the service blueprint, take a picture of it for later, and organise the service blueprint prototype evaluation workshop. Think who you want to invite, and when and where the workshop will be, and other practical issues from the materials to invitations. Besides a workshop, you may, for instance, go to a location where you can find people to evaluate your prototype.
Start the evaluation workshop by presenting what the evaluation is about and what is expected from the participants. Describe the service to the participants with the help of the blueprint, and try not to tell what is right or wrong in the service.
Distribute materials to the participants for commenting. They can write comments directly on the service blueprint sheet or on sticky notes.
Give them time to go through the service and add their comments on the service blueprint. The comments might include what is good, what could be changed or needed, and what is missing. You can also take notes of what they say out loud or how they react.
Ask the participants to add their emotions for each step of the service blueprint prototype on a scale, very happy - happy – neutral – sad – very sad, by using smiley faces on sticky notes.
At the end of the workshop take a picture of the service blueprint prototype with all comments and notes. You might need a reference picture later.
Finally organise the comments and notes by grouping answers into themes. You can summarise similar answers. Draw relationships, cause and effects, and other observations on the canvas.
Draw the curve for the emotional response through each service step based on the mean value of the smiley notes.
Take a picture of the analysed service blueprint prototype and write a memo of the findings and action points for further development and finalising the service.