Service Design Vs. Experience Design

I previously stated that customer service is not that same as a user experience, and gave some reasons why user experience goes beyond the concept of customer experience. Innovation Playground is a blog I’ve been directed to a few times recently, and Idris Mootee offers some pretty interesting discussions about experiences and designing them. In a recent post Mootee explains what he sees as the relationship between service design and experience design. Are they one and the same? It’s not all that clear, but I think I get his point.

Service is a key part of the customer experience, and Mootee asks the question: can a service or experience be designed. He provides some examples of firms that have developed the “service journey”. The journey: consists of numerous touchpoints between the customer and the organization; these touchpoints need to be carefully design and managed; each touchpoint has a potential for innovation. Ultimately Mootee concludes that “you can design a service but you cannot design an experience.” I had to re-read that section a few times because I’m apt to disagree with it – you can design an experience – it must be designed.

Mootee connects the two when he says that “service designers can only stage or create favorable conditions for great customer services to happen.” The post is a reminder that a great library experience has to incorporate the totality of the organization. It points out that you can do three things right but get one wrong and you’ve greatly reduced or eliminated the possibility for delivering a great experience. Service design may certainly set the conditions for a great library user experience, but it’s the design of the experience that can ultimately determine what happens at the service touchpoints and how the service is delivered.

Author: StevenB

Steven Bell is currently Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University, and was previously Director of the Library at Philadelphia University. Steven is the author of two regular columns published by Library Journal, From the Bell Tower and Leading From the Library. With John Shank he is co-founder of the Blended Librarians Online Learning Community. Bell and Shank are also authors of the book Academic Librarianship by Design. Bell's latest book is Crucible Moments: Inspiring Library Leadership. More information is found at his website.

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