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Services Design Techniques: Services Blueprint. Polina Baranova Derbyshire Business School . Services Definitions. ‘Any activity or benefit that one party can offer to another, which is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything’ Philip Kotler 2004

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Services Design Techniques: Services Blueprint

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Services Design Techniques:

Services Blueprint

Polina Baranova

Derbyshire Business School

services definitions
Services Definitions

‘Any activity or benefit that one party can

offer to another, which is essentially

intangible and does not result in the

ownership of anything’ Philip Kotler 2004

‘Services can be bought and sold, but

cannot be dropped on your foot’(!)

Gummesson 1987

  • are largely intangible
  • have benefits
  • are perishable (time and place dependent)
    • cannot be stored or transported
  • are inseparable from the service provider
  • are often inconsistent or variable in quality
    • especially personal services eg hairdressing
  • cannot be owned
what is a process
What is a 'Process'?
  • 'If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, youdon’t know what you’re doing.'

W E Deming

  • '… a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.'

The New OXFORD Dictionary of ENGLISH (1998)



Service Shops


Volume(Number of customers processed per day)



Process Types in Services, Silvestro et al 1992

  • High
  • People
  • Contact time
  • Customisation
  • Discretion
  • Front Office Orientated
  • Medium
  • People/Equipment
  • Contact time
  • Customisation
  • Discretion
  • Front Office/Back Office
  • Orientated


  • Equipment
  • Contact time
  • Customisation
  • Discretion
  • Back Office
  • Orientated
  • Low
definition of a service process
Definition of a service ‘process’

‘The actual procedures, mechanisms, and flow of activities by which the service is delivered – the service delivery and operating systems’

(Zeithaml, Bitner & Gremler, 2006)

process mapping flow charting

Operation, Task or activity

Movement – people, materials, information


Delay or pause in the process


Process mapping: Flow Charting

Actually map what tasks are happening to determine the flow of the process


Receptionist fills out work order x

Work order placed in ‘waiting job’ box x

Job picked up by Operator and read x

Job taken to copying machine x

Operator waits for his turn on machine x

Operator loads paper x

Operator sets machine x

Operator performs the copying x

Operator inspects the copying x

Job taken to Cashier x

Job waits its turn for processing x

Cashier raises Invoice x

Cashier takes payment x

Cashier packages the job x

Flow Chart

process flow diagram source heizer j render b 2006 operations management 8 th edition p257


Information flow

Material flow

Process Flow DiagramSource: Heizer J., Render B., (2006) Operations Management, 8th edition, p257


Customer sales representative











  • Design of the services
  • More sophisticated version of flowcharting:
    • Flowcharting – existing processes;
    • Blueprinting – grater detail of service design from the customer point of view:
      • Main Stages in customer journey through the service process;
      • Definition of standards for each front-stage activity;
      • Physical and other evidence of front-stage activity;
      • Principal front-stage participants;
      • Line of visibility;
      • Back-stage actions;
      • Support processes involving other service personnel;
      • Support services involving information technology.
A visual representation of a service process showing:

Principle functions

Timing and sequencing

Participants involved

“Line of visibility”

Tolerance levels

Feedback loops

developing a blueprint
Developing a Blueprint
  • Identify key activities in creating and delivering service
  • Define “big picture” before “drilling down” to obtain a higher level of detail
  • Distinguish between “front stage” and “back stage”
  • Clarify interactions between customers and staff, and support by backstage activities and systems
  • Identify potential fail points; take preventive measures; prepare contingency
  • Develop standards for execution of each activity— times for task completion, maximum wait times, and scripts to guide interactions between employees and customers
advantages of blueprinting
Advantages of Blueprinting
  • Blueprint differentiates between what customers experience “front stage and the activities of employees and support process “backstage”;
  • Blueprint shows how customers and employees interact;
  • Blueprint highlights possible fail points in the process;
  • It highlights the areas of excessive wait;
  • More in-depth analysis of service encounter – crucial stage of service process redesign.
identifying fail points
Identifying Fail Points
  • High risk areas in service delivery where things could go wrong;
  • Errors include:
    • Treatment errors—human failures during contact with customer
      • e.g. lack of courteous or professional behavior, failure to acknowledge, listen to, or react appropriately to the customer
      • Areas of excessive wait – could annoy customers and lead to negative customer experience
    • Tangible errors—failures in physical elements of service
      • e.g. noise pollution, improper standards for cleaning of facilities and uniforms, equipment breakdown
  • Aim of fail-safe procedures is to prevent errors
  • Areas of wait – reducing an opportunity for excessive wait