The Service Design Maturity Model

In the past years, many organisations have been working on projects to improve service experiences. Increasingly, large organisations have started to understand the value of service design. This has resulted in a growing desire amongst organisations that ‘understand’ service design to embed it into their companies. We have helped some of our clients, including a Portu-guese telecom provider, a leading European bank, an energy utility company and the Dutch Railways, achieve this ambition.

by Niels Corsten and Jules Prick. Published originally in Touchpoint Vol. 10 No. 3 — Managing Service Design

Making a case for a Service Design Maturity Model

For the past years, many organisations have been working on projects to improve service experiences. Increasingly, large organisations started to understand the value of service design. A shift from operational projects towards a continuous strategic endeavour started to emerge. This resulted in a growing desire of organisations that ‘understood’ to embed service design capabilities into their company. We worked on exactly this challenge with some of our clients, including a Portuguese telecom provider, a leading European bank, an energy utility company and the Dutch Railways. At times, we found ourselves building service design capabilities without truly knowing whether this was what the organisation needed. This showed when we created an elaborate toolkit for an energy utility company, only to realize afterwards that we were introducing it to the larger audience of employees before they were even ready for it.

Clients giving first feedback on the Maturity Model during the Service Design Experience 2018 conference

Introducing: The Service Design Maturity Model

The maturity model is a five-stage model that shows the process of embedding service design into an organisation and structures the transformation towards a service design-led company. The model helps to identify the stage of maturity through four factors. These factors show how to determine the maturity of your organisation and serve as guidelines for further implementation of service design.

  • Tools and Capabilities
    The extent to which service design methodologies and tools are applied within the organisation and the level of required skills and capabilities that are needed to apply service design.
  • Organisational Structure and Roles
    The extent to which the organisational structure allows and facilitates multidisciplinary service design work and the assigned roles that are needed to do so.
  • Metrics and Deliverables
    The extent to which metrics and KPIs are in place and being pushed to stimulate and facilitate service design, next to the shape and form that deliverables of service design initiatives have.
The Service Design Maturity Model
  • Prove
    Painstaking pioneering to get service design established in the organisation, with service design projects and the creation of evidence of its value.
  • Scale
    Service design expands throughout the organisation through unifying tools and methodologies and teaching of its capabilities.
  • Integrate
    The siloed organisational structures are torn down and transformed into a design-led foundation. Service design is embedded in the daily way of working through integrated systems and metrics.
  • Thrive
    Service design now thrives in the organisation through leadership and experimentation, and service design is ingrained in the company culture. Methodologies are being evolved as the organisation is pushing the service design envelope.
When you are trying to prove the value of service design through customer journeys
We’ve made a nice customer journey… now back to the real world.
Teaching employees of a large bank about service design during the Expand stage
A snapshot: The four pillars explained per maturity stage
  1. Work the weakest link
    We advise always focussing your efforts on the part of the organisation that is least mature, to prevent enlarging the gap and creating more resistance.
  2. Combine movement and mandate
    Many organisations exhibit a bottom-up movement when it comes to service design. The most common barriers are in the hard work necessary to prove the value of service design to each individual employee, as well as working against organisational struc­tures that don’t allow multidisciplinary work. Prove service design to higher management to create mandate to then open the path for further implementation. However, a top-down approach to service design doesn’t always result in easier implementation. At a leading bank we worked with, the agile team structure was implemented top-down to show commitment to multidisciplinary customer-centric work. However, the employees were neither shown the evidence of service design value nor were they trained with the capabilities to act upon the structural transformation. They are now catching up to do so.
  3. Mind the changing role for service designers
    The maturity of an organisation has great implications on the role of service designers. Moving through the maturity stages, the role of a service designer changes from scout to hands-on doer, to trainer, to facilitator, and ends at leader. Each of those roles requires a different mindset and capabilities. Our profession is changing.

Touchpoint

Touchpoint is the first and only journal dedicated to the…

Touchpoint

Touchpoint is the first and only journal dedicated to the practice of service design. Published by practitioners for practitioners, Touchpoint is essential reading for both newcomers and seasoned experts.

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Touchpoint

Touchpoint is the first and only journal dedicated to the practice of service design. Published by practitioners for practitioners, Touchpoint is essential reading for both newcomers and seasoned experts.