What is a service blueprint?

What is a service blueprint?

A service blueprint is an artifact that gives you big picture view of your service experience by focusing on key customer scenarios as a lens through which to view how your organization delivers the service. Blueprinting shows you both what is happening that is visible to the customer (frontstage), as well as all the things going on behind the scenes that are invisible to the customer (backstage).

We have evolved the traditional service blueprint format from the more schematic, flow-chart style to a format that can be more easily created in real-time using digital or analog tools. Our format still has the same information captured in the traditional blueprint format, but it is displayed more linearly in columns.

What’s the difference between a journey map and a service blueprint?

Well, if you haven’t yet, go read our article in detail about these two methods on the Practical Service Design blog.

In short, a journey map is a story of an actor’s experience end-to-end, and it shows what they are doing, thinking, and feeling. It does not really capture what is going on behind the scenes in the service organization, it just focuses on the experience of the customer.

A blueprint however, takes that story and uses it as a lens through which to look at how the organization is operating. You take the journey and turn it into a scenario, which becomes the top layer of your blueprint, and you include all the things that are happening backstage as well as frontstage (people, processes, systems, policies, etc.). This gives you a big picture view of everything that’s happening behind the scenes that is contributing to the service experience.

What does a service blueprint get you?

A service blueprint gets you an end-to-end, holistic view of your service and how it’s delivered. It is a tool for gaining team alignment and getting stakeholders on the same page in their understanding of the service, something that is often hard to do when crossing organizational silos. Blueprinting also identifies critical moments—where things break down in your service—as well as opportunities where you could fix things and improve your service going forward. The blueprinting process lets your team ask important questions and identify the root cause of customer pain.

In just a matter of hours, you can have a cross-functional team walk away with both tactical and strategic insights that can lead to real, actionable work for your organization to improve your service and resolve customer pain.

What kinds of problems does a service blueprint help solve?

A blueprint can help solve for broken, painful, or inconsistent customer experiences, where your service teams have been having trouble getting to the root of the issue because perhaps there are more systemic issues going on with your service.

It can also help improve inefficiencies in the backstage processes that might be slowing down things behind the scenes, or help fix breakdowns between business silos, identifying gaps in communication that can manifest themselves in the customer experience. Blueprinting is great for identifying problems upstream that lead to effects felt downstream for the customer.

Blueprinting is a great tool for tackling fuzzy areas where teams aren’t aligned and aren’t on the same page around your service, as it creates the space to hold the right conversations to facilitate service improvement.

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