Today every experience is accessible from multiple channels: here’s how to improve it with Service Design
In the digital age, people use a product or service through a combination of channels, touchpoints and actors, all connected to each other. These relationships offer the user a more articulated, rich, even complex experience that is more than the sum of the parts.
Today it is possible, even more than yesterday, to unite the different touchpoints and create “bridges” in user journeys, thanks to technological progress, the IoT and the interconnection between different devices (smartphones, cars, smart homes, household appliances, kiosks, etc.) capable of communicating and exchanging data in real time. The design of these experiences goes beyond that of the individual interfaces and the result depends on the relationships between the different parts involved.
Users themselves today want, and expect, “easy to use” products and services that create “continuity” of use between one channel and another. This reality is part of our approach to listening to people who tell us about their way of living experiences that are made up of stories and different points of access to the narrative and to the experience itself.
Service Design is the design of one or more services with an integrated and multi-channel approach, which takes into consideration the individual parts of the system and the relationships between the parts themselves, with the aim of optimizing the user experience and the objectives of the business.
In an interconnected system, all touchpoints are designed to ensure coherent, dynamic and uninterrupted use of the product/service between one channel and another, whether they are touchpoints:
The user experience can begin with one channel and continue in another, even over time and in completely different places.
The user experience across multiple channels must be:
Let’s transform these theoretical concepts into concrete examples.
We all know Amazon, and many of us also know the return process, which is a perfect example of fluid and optimized service design:
Then let’s think about the on-demand streaming services: we may not have subscriptions to all of these services but they are certainly also renowned for advertising on traditional media. Among all, Netflix, which is very fluid in switching from one device to another unlike its other competitors:
Third, but certainly not last, example, the Apple Store:
Usually, the design of the User Experience focuses on the interaction of people with individual touchpoints. In Service Design, on the other hand, all touchpoints are considered together, considering:
To optimize user interfaces and front-end touchpoints, but also back-end systems and processes, it is therefore necessary to analyze the entire journey to plan the touchpoints with the user and create a service experience/ product available on different channels.
For this reason, user experience research plays a fundamental role in the design process. Observing and listening to people – whether they are users of the product/service or company personnel involved in the journey – becomes essential to achieve the goal of aligning all touchpoints to the same strategy.
Multi-channel services therefore take the user experience to a new level: we as professionals must always consider a single journey but with a complex story, accessible in multiple ways and at different points in the narrative. This journey is enabled by technology that also drives the evolution of user expectations, shifting the boundaries of user experience design.