#Digital marketing
09 June 2021

Service design process

It will take you to read the article4 minutes

Martyna Tarnawska
Digital Marketing Lead


Designing services was created as a response to the changing expectations of modern consumers. They definitely have reasons to demand more and more from companies.

First, they interact with brands through many different channels. Secondly, they are well aware of the technological possibilities of modern enterprises. And thirdly, they understand that they are not only passive recipients, but co-creators of services.

Service Design will enable you to create services that meet the expectations of your customers.

Now, let’s find out what exactly is Service Design and what is the process of designing services in practice?

Service Design – definition

Service Design is a methodology that is used to design new services but also to optimize and change the existing ones. It allows you to create solutions tailored to customer expectations, as well as find new fields for the development of a given business and innovation.

Another important concept is Service Design Network. According to it, work on designing services involves planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication, and material components of the service.

You can perceive Service Design as a hybrid that combines various approaches, which is crucial throughout the entire service design process. The frameworks that you will discover while working on designing services include:

  • Human-Centered Design. It means putting the customer’s perspective first. Designing services is about creating solutions that meet the needs of their recipients.
  • Design Thinking. It is focused on the search for innovation, but also for creative and effective problem-solving.
  • Jobs to be done. It’s about defining the user’s goals and needs. It helps in determining the value of the service.
  • User Experience. It is about focusing on the user-customer experience. To learn more try reading Service Design vs User Experience.
  • Customer Journey. It consists in analyzing the activity, interactions, and decisions that users make at each stage of the shopping funnel and the emotions that accompany them.

Service Design and Design Thinking

When it comes to the Service Design process itself, it is impossible to ignore its close relationship with design thinking.

Designing services draw on the Design Thinking approach and tools. However, you cannot put an equal sign between them.

During the service design process, we define the problem as well as the experiences and expectations of the target group. Then we create solutions and implement them based on tests and prototypes – exactly as in Design Thinking. While working on Service Design, however, it is also crucial to use the assumptions of service logic.

The Design Thinking approach does not focus on a specific area – it can be applied in almost every field – not only in business but also in everyday life. It is a problem-solving technique that is also used to create and optimize services but not only.

Service design process

By using the Design Thinking approach in Service Design, this process consists of stages characteristic of design thinking. When designing a service, you may encounter two models of this process.

Service Design in stages according to the Institute of Design at Stanford


Designing services are aimed at creating solutions tailored to the needs of recipients. At this stage, it is, therefore, crucial to get to know their experiences and expectations. 

However, you cannot be guided by your assumptions – it is necessary to collect objective data in order to conduct research.

The following tools can help you with this:

  • Customer journey map,
  • Empathy maps,
  • Interviews,
  • Personas,
  • Workshops.

Defining problems

The next step is to draw and formulate conclusions from the previous analyzes. The success of the entire project depends to a large extent on them. After all, creating solutions to a fictional problem won’t get you any closer to designing the perfect service.

Generating ideas

Now that you know the problems your client is facing, it’s time to come up with a solution. It is a time of increased creativity and brainstorming – the more solutions you manage to develop, the better. In the end, however, you have to select and pick the best ideas.

Building prototypes

The prototypes are only sketches of the developed solutions. However, they help to verify their effectiveness before possible implementation.

They can be divided due to the low (low-fidelity) and high (high-fidelity) accuracy of the reflection of the idea. Neither of these types should be ignored – they are vital to the entire process. First, low-fidelity prototypes should be developed, and then, as more and more data are collected, high-fidelity.


Prototypes are created in order to present them to the recipients of future services. It is crucial to get feedback about them as soon as possible. Private beliefs should be disregarded.

If necessary, a given prototype has to be discarded and a new one should be developed, which sometimes involves the repetition of the steps described above

Double Diamond model in service design and innovation

You can also come across the concept of design thinking stages, and therefore Service Design, developed by the British Design Council. This is called the Double Diamond Model.

It divides the service design process into 4 stages:

  1. Discovering – recognizing and understanding the problem.
  2. Defining – clear formulation of the problem.
  3. Developing – developing solutions to a given problem.
  4. Delivery – choosing a solution with the greatest potential and conducting tests.

The stages in designing services will be similar – regardless of the chosen concept.


Each company is different, therefore the service design process will be different depending on the problem and organization. The differences may be visible at the level of selected tools, conducted research, or the duration of individual stages of the project.

Remember that the work on the service never ends. In fact, it should be constantly in the prototyping or testing phase. Only this approach will allow you to obtain Customer Experience at the highest level. Good luck!

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