Developing a Service Blueprint
A service blueprint is a diagram that shows the connections between the routes that users follow through a service, after having developed a customer journey. Like all collaborative work, it always improves knowledge and communication between different department team members.
As a blueprint is designed, it helps the team to identify if there are any usability problems, and if so, what is the root of the problem.
When drawing up a service blueprint, we need to differentiate between key elements and secondary elements. The key elements are those that must be included in the service blueprint, and the secondary elements are the ones that can be included to give a more complete picture, adapt it to the business context and make it more understandable.
Key elements of a Service Blueprint
There are four key elements that make up a service blueprint:
- Customer actions. These are the actions that the user performs to achieve a certain goal while using the service, and they could be steps, choices, activities or interactions. These actions must be aligned with those that we have previously elaborated in the customer journey.
- Frontstage actions. These are executed in front of the user. They can be human-to-human or human-device interactions.
- Backstage actions. Those that are hidden or partially hidden from the user, meaning that are done but not noticeable to the user.
- Processes. Internal interactions and actions that support employees in the performance of the service.
Each key element is represented in clusters separated from each other by lines. These lines can be of three different types: interaction, visibility and internal interaction. The line of interactions is the one where the user executes tasks; the visibility one differentiates the processes that the user sees from those that are not visible, so frontstage actions are above this line and backstage actions are below this line; and the internal interaction line separates the support processes.
Secondary Elements that can be included in a Service Blueprint
A service blueprint may have other elements in order to facilitate the understanding of the relationships and actions represented in it. These elements help to adapt the diagram to the context and to the business purpose.
- Arrows. They are used to show the relationships between all the elements and dependencies between actions. If a single arrow is used it means that the process is linear, whereas if a double arrow is used it means that there is dependence between the actions.
- Time. Timestamps to indicate the progress of actions.
- Regulations or policy. Internal rules or regulations can be added to visualise whether processes are restricted and cannot be changed.
- Emotions. Emotions can be added to the actions of both users and employees.
- Metrics. Any metrict that can give context to the diagram is beneficial, especially if it is a buying process.
Service blueprints are an extension of customer journey maps, and the more supporting elements we use, the more understandable the diagram will be. They are very useful in helping organisations see the big picture about how a service is implemented and used by customers and employees.
This article is a translation of the following article published on our corporate website: