Service design: Is it an art for the elite or a necessity?

Customer focus should be viewed in terms of emotions, as emotions are key in this field. The need to predict and create positive emotions shapes the trends of service analytics. Design Thinking is a natural method of moving from needs to expectations.

In order to maintain a solid foundation for innovative business development with a customer focus, 4Service Group joined the Amsterdam Design Thinkers (DTA) in October 2019 in order to share best practices and knowledge.

The partnership with DTA is aimed at helping 4Service Group’s clients active on markets across Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan to help them create a productive environment for the transition from product and sales orientation to human orientation and needs, through using a creative approach of Service Design to solve business problems. 

The DTA, headquartered in Amsterdam, is a global agency and is represented in 25 countries.  DTA offers an alternative way of thinking. It feels like a customer and helps companies and communities promote positive change by implementing new design thinking techniques. 

Service Design and Design Thinkers

The increase in demand for innovation is a result of the need for active business development. Progressive methods offer solutions to the tasks set in accordance with the rapidly changing environment. The combination of design thinking and business thinking is a unique client-centric approach for finding rational use of new technologies.

Service Design is the design of customer-oriented services and products. The process involves a balanced movement from the needs and expectations of customers, to the way companies and organizations that offer products and services operate. It covers the classic approaches to selling goods and services on the market and works on the principle of movement from product creation to taking it to market. Service designers adapt services to the needs of the client, eliminating the need to follow procedures that are convenient for the service provider.

Design Thinking is the main tool used in service design to identify the real internal and external needs of customers and initiate interactive ways to solve complex problems together. The practical application of the method is due to the involvement of interested parties and joint efforts. 

The basic principle of design thinking is to put yourself in the customers’ shoes. Shifting the focus to individuals when developing a business strategy allows you to generate ideas for creating new benefits for both customers and companies. The method also allows you to rethink existing tasks and see completely new business opportunities, filling technologies with practicality for customers.

Service scenarios

Scenarios are created to solve a specific business problem. They are used as a practical representation of how a company’s services are used by their customers. Simple visualization techniques are introduced: goals, implementation methods, tools, arguments for choice, expectations and feelings when trying to achieve the desired result. Services are viewed from the client’s perspective and human emotions and actions of the consumer are taken into account when receiving the service.

The art of service design is the ability to improve business processes in order to achieve the set goals.

The primary task of service design is to identify a problem and decipher whether the problem is specific or complex and requires multitasking or a simple step to be solved. Triangulation and empathy methods are key in research.

Triangulation is the combination of several methods of data collection (such as documents, interviews, observations, questionnaires or surveys) during the initial study, as well as at different times and locations.

Empathy is the understanding of the emotional state of another person, seeing into their subjective world.

At the stage of creating a hypothetical person/customer, the problem is reconsidered when conducting the process of detailing. Empathy plays a key role. A completely natural empathic behavior model helps draw out true reactions and to better understand the client’s situations and problems. Understanding allows you to define tasks more clearly, generate ideas and better implement them.

Empathy is the key to clear communication

Empathy is the foundation of service design, a tool for clear communication that brings profitable gains for businesses. The tool provides generation, manifestation and translation of empathic behavior. 

Behavioral empathic models work for creation and progress and solve both simple and complex tasks at all levels and in across all areas of communication. Empathy technologies are available to everyone and do not require any presumptive planning for the production of goods and services. With their high-quality applications, the result reaches 100% of the client’s expectations.

3 principles of service design

  • Customer focus — prioritizing the customer’s needs. The ability to identify customers’ true desires and create products and services that appeal to consumers.
  • Co-creation — creating and developing ideas together with other participants in the process. Clients are an integral part of the project team at all stages of the process: research, analysis, idea generation, prototyping, and innovation. The proposed symbiosis is technically effective and economically feasible.
  • Integrity is the formation of an interdependent and interconnected experience that will affect each person on an emotional level.

Applying these principles ensures that customers demand the implemented innovations and transformed services. The principles of service design motivate manufacturers of goods and services to adapt to regular mobile modernization of production, development of new technologies, and intensive business development.


Design thinking is about working differently and working together. Creativity and flexibility are important. One needs to look for new approaches in each case and be innovative. The process of applying the “Design Thinkers” method includes: researching, designing, creating, and implementing changes. 


Desk research analyzes digital sources, reports and documents using the tools of Customer Journey Map, value map, and stakeholder map.

Quantitative research includes surveys and questionnaires.

Qualitative research includes the study of people, customer movement, insight (identifying the true motives for buying). When conducting them, the following tools are used: the client’s travel map, surveys, culture studies, and personas.


To create concepts and prototyping, user Profiles and Paths are studied using the following tools: concept development, service scenarios, and prototyping.

Creation and implementation

The development process defines the platform for innovation, the use of human resources, the company and the process. Implementation is staff training and communication. The Creation and Implementation process has a repeating cycle used to determine which ideas are best. This means that ideas are developed, tested and refined several times. Less popular ideas are discarded as “Design Thinking” is not so much about thinking but action.

Service design specialists study the production processes of the client company. Together with marketers and suppliers, they analyze them and, combining the experience of all these people, they determine the real business goal. 

Thanks to established customer feedback, concepts are tested at the development stage. This allows companies to perform a technical analysis and make a detailed plan that reflects all support systems necessary for the implementation of innovations.

Specialists create backend developments to implement digital solutions and obtain key indicators to evaluate the service, based on which conclusions and business changes have been made. They also create CRM systems for partners and suppliers. 

Key Design Thinking technologies and tools

In order to gain a more detailed study of standard processes, typical projects, corporate typologies, cultural traditions and pain points, multiple tools are used. In order to study client cases and then optimize their experience and training, we use the following methods:

  • Stakeholder Mapping – provides an overview of the system under study. 
  • Stakeholders are people, teams, or companies that directly or indirectly exchange ‘values’. The exchange of values is used as a basis for studying basic services provided by stakeholders.
  • Value Network Mapping – provides the opportunity to determine which values are to be exchanged between interested parties. A tool for getting more detailed information about services provided by interested parties.
  • Persons are used as the basis for Customer Journey Mapping. The tool deciphers people’s goals, behavior and attitudes, which are very important for improving the services provided and introducing innovations.
  • Customer Journey Mapping (CJM) – provides an overview of the entire path of the client through their eyes, immersing yourself in their reality in order to get a deeper understanding of their needs, perception, experience and motivation. Surface processes are studied, gradually sinking into organizational structures and context. The tool is applicable when working with clients, employees or managers, and other stakeholders, or, better yet, in combination. CJM gives an excellent understanding of the picture as a whole and provides a database for creating different characters.
  • Prototyping is conducted to test the service concept in a “low-tech” environment with relevant stakeholders. Rapid prototyping determines the value of ideas and contributes to the development of technology design strategies. Creating a visual visualization helps you look into the future and decide what innovations need to be implemented today. 
  • Double Diamond – the concept is based on the creation of a number of possible ideas in all creative processes (“divergent thinking”) before refining and selecting the best idea (“convergent thinking”). This process can be represented in the form of a diamond.

Service Design – STAGES 

To create a successful business strategy, you need to go through three stages: 


Forming several theories about clients’ needs by immersing them in their lives, observing their behavior, analyzing and asking questions.


Create an interactive prototype using available versions of a product or service. Conduct several quick experiments, record the reaction of consumers. Correction of the product, its price and positioning based on the results of testing.


Identification of the necessary actions, tools, and resources for the company to produce, distribute, and sell the resulting product. Design thinking helps to discover new markets and define new strategies.

Design thinking is driven by a creative approach to problem solving, focusing on the client.

Research design begins when the role of research is recognized and priority and secondary tasks are set:

  • customer orientation — reveals the full range of customer needs 
  • providing context — deeper values and beliefs;
  • creating a common understanding — vision and problems.

Task: to find out what people think, what they say, what they do.

Service design is a clearly structured way to understand what customers are waiting for. It makes it possible to differentiate services and find ways to increase their value for customers, helping to increase the interest of partner companies.

Design Thinking (DT) technologies-a balanced combination of process and customer experience.  For example, using rapid prototyping, with the ability to look into the future for hundreds of SAP customers (automated enterprise resource management system), design thinking has helped transform the business.

Of course, design thinking is the best innovative methodology for customer service. Many people have only just started thinking about customer focus and 4Service Group has been working in this direction for 18 years. Now we offer the result of our work, new methodologies specifically for you, so that you can improve your service and work with clients today.


Using simple and accessible tools of service design and only changing the vector of movement, you can create a new reality in which customers want to live. Everyone can master the ability to improve the quality of life and create positive emotions. Let’s create a better reality TOGETHER!

4Service Group’s goal is to reduce the “gap” between organizations and people by offering innovative ideas and human-oriented solutions through Design thinking.

If you are not satisfied with the service you provide to your customers, 4Service Group specialists are ready to apply our knowledge to transform your business and help make your service even more human-centered


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