Keep your Business Running with Service Blueprinting for Safety

Ayla Newhouse
4 min readApr 4, 2020

A method to help re-design any service during Covid-19.

What if more businesses could stay open despite the risks associated with service delivery during a global pandemic? Non-digital businesses are feeling a crunch right now, but perhaps — using an updated form of service blueprinting — we could find ways of relieving that strain.

Much of the service delivery of most business is now switching from visible to “back stage”, and we are relying more heavily on digital tools and invisible workforces than ever before (thank you service workers!!)

In this new world, Service Blueprinting can be used to identify moments of infection risk in the service delivery experience, and to replace the high-touch with low touch (digital) or no-touch experiences.

6 types of interventions

There are several ways to decrease the risk of disease transmission in the service experience, from higher-risk to lower-risk:

  1. Separating humans using physical distance indicators or time slots. Prone to human error, but effective if done properly.
    Airports in Singapore are taping the floor to spread people out, and some grocery stores now offer special hours for at-risk populations
  2. Additional cleaning between human interactions with physical spaces may or may not decrease the risk of transmission from surfaces.
    Deep cleaning takes on a new meaning
  3. Health monitoring of people entering spaces.
    Amazon conducts daily temperature checks of its staff. We’ll start to see more of this, perhaps with physical or digital indicators of immunity (as seen with the bracelets in the movie Contagion) when those tests become available to large parts of the population
  4. Protective shields (plexiglass, PPEs) for essential services workers.
    Grocery stores are adding plexiglass between cashiers and customers
  5. No-touch handovers for drop-off/pick-up of physical goods.
    Denmark’s postal service’s new no-signature delivery policy or Wolt’s no-touch takeout delivery
  6. Digital connectors to replace high-touch moments.
    Doctors offering video sessions and drawing games to replace Friday night hangouts with your friends

The restaurant industry is, by necessity, leading the way on these kinds of service innovations, swapping out eat-in for take-out or delivery, selling bonds that increase in value for future dining, and even converting restaurants to grocery stores.

Let’s take the example of Real Estate, which has been a bit slower to respond. When you can’t meet face to face with clients to give them a tour of a home, how can they buy it? Whether people are in the mood to buy homes right now is a different question, but let’s look at the possibilities for shifting the service delivery…

How to Service Blueprint for Health Safety

Step one: identify the moments with a risk for infection in your current state Service Blueprint

While many real estate services (like contracts and signatures) have already moved to digital in recent years, what can be done about the high-risk house tour?

Step two: Use the 6 interventions to brainstorm and re-work your blueprint

Here’s what the British Columbia Real Estate Association is suggesting for their Realtors during Covid-19:

This solution allows buyers to stay home, while Realtors visit homes and conduct virtual showings

But suppose you want your clients to have a tactile experience of the home themselves. Could you employ a no-touch digital lockbox to open the door on arrival, supply gloves and soap, or even hire cleaners between viewings to ensure a sanitary experience? This adds to the complexity (and cost) of the service delivery, but also adds value to the client experience.

This solution allows clients to visit homes while ensuring their safety

By blueprinting services with these new lenses, we can create opportunities for safer — and thus more desirable and profitable — experiences across industries. There is a huge opportunity right now to help businesses continue to deliver the same value in different ways, and I for one am excited about the creativity that necessity brings out in all of us.



Ayla Newhouse

Service Design Lead at #FjordCPH. Also started Money Coaching at Capital One, and wrote Dating by Design.