Design your service

What is service design?

The product a service business delivers isn't like a product you buy at the store, such as a piece of clothing, or food item. A service business delivers a product that is primarily composed of personal labor and expertise to deliver the desired work. We still pay for services and consume the value it provides us. You may not be looking to provide a physical product, and that’s totally okay! You don’t need to be able to hold a product to love it. Experiences, services, or platforms can be considered “products” too.

How do you start the service design process?

If you pay someone to walk your dog for you on a night you’re busy, then you are paying someone to save you time and to keep your dog healthy and happy. It’s sometimes even easier to market and sell your services online than it is to create and sell physical products.  You can easily design your service in 3 easy steps: design your service, test your service and improve your service.

The first step is to design your service

Use the guidelines below to create a sample or minimum viable product (MVP). It can be really simple to create an MVP for a service based business. For example, a sample product for a graphic design business may only require a great website with payment options! Our resources are flexible to every business and organization, so use the guidelines below to develop your MVP and cater it to best suit your venture!

  • Make sure your idea will solve your customer’s problems. Work closely with clients and build services that provide solutions to their problems.

  • Make a list of every service you can provide

    • Think about your biggest services, strengths, and skills in the service industry of choice

    • Identify services where you can quickly provide a high level of quality

    • Identify gaps in your services and decide if it is worthwhile for you to teach yourself or if you’ll need to hire someone

  • Streamline what services you will provide

    • Looking at what and how your competition is doing something similar

    • Group services, the actual deliverables and the total value

    • Name the process, document each of the steps needed, create a detailed description for the value you’ll deliver the customer, and put it all together

  • Find a focus to make sure you’ll be differentiated from anybody offering similar services to similar clients, like donating a percentage of sales to a charity or specializing in all natural ingredients as a personal chef  

  • Visualize and document the desired customer experience. This is particularly important to create the whole service vision and experience.

    • Include all details like thank-you emails, confirmation of services provided (sales receipts)

  • Identify what tools and supplies you will need

    • Identify actual tools and equipment. For example, lotions and oils for a masseuse, exercise equipment for personal trainers

    • Identify any certifications you will need. For example, CRP/AED, SAFe Serv

    • Gather any accreditations, news article features, and awards to gather credibility.

  • Sign up for proper insurance coverage

  • Special conditions: If there are any special terms and conditions about your product, if  your service won't work for some people, then you should state it. Do you have a 100% money back guarantee? Or better still a free offer with no strings attached?

After this step, you’ll have Version 1 or your MVP. At this point, it can be something easy to show your service idea, like the full descriptions you’ve created, or the initial menu of services. Gather feedback from your customers so you can make fast changes. This is a great opportunity to get the wrinkles ironed out before finalizing all your services.

The second step is to test your service

The second step is to test your service. This can be fairly easy or slightly difficult depending on the type of services you’ll provide. Once you have an MVP, or even a menu of service items, you can ask potential customers for feedback on the services listed and even the description. Make sure you note any services you’re missing or anything else your potential customers might need. If you’re providing a service, like a personal trainer or masseuse, you can test your services by offering free services for 2 or 3 customers in exchange for a thorough evaluation and feedback.

After this step, you’ll have Version 2. Test your actual service with potential customers to verify all steps in the service-business process. You can easily offer free services in exchange for reviews and feedback from 10 customers.

The third step is to improve your service

You don’t have to have the perfect offering right off the bat. You will most likely go through lots of iterations and versions of your product or service before you decide it is good enough to be sold. Aim to get to test your services early so that you can make your first sales. Below are some basic tips to follow.

  • As you get feedback, continue to evaluate all steps in your customer service experience as well as your service.

    • Is easy for the customer to book your services?

    • Have you listed all services you’re providing?

    • Are you considering adding on premium services or creating bundles?

    • How’s your approach - do you seem likable and kind, are you someone that a stranger would want to do business with?

    • Can you demonstrate results? Can you prove that you deliver the result you promise?

  • Get social proof

    • Do other customers say good things about you?

    • Do you have good reviews or at the very least, no bad reviews?

After this step, you’ll have Version 3, and more, of your service. Version 3 should ideally be your actual services after going through at least one round of consumer feedback. Continue to improve your service until you’re satisfied and it is something GREAT that your customers will buy.

Why is product design important?

Great service design satisfies customers by meeting their actual needs or expectation. Doing this right will enhance the competitiveness of your business and boost your chances at being successful.

Pro Tip

A big part of whether you are happy with a service business is based on your customer service experience. Your customer service experience is all the things the business does to ensure your satisfaction. This is a key part of the success of these businesses and how they try to differentiate themselves from the competition. This includes the quality of work they perform, how friendly they are, the timeliness of completing their job, and their ability to answer questions or address any problems that may arise. Take a minute and think about a business you like to use or are very loyal to. They probably deliver a great customer service experience.