Service Blueprint in SaaS Business Development
Service Blueprint is a method for optimizing service delivery process, improving customer journey, and driving business development.
What is a Service Blueprint?
A Service Blueprint is a plan or a map that illustrates how a service process is delivered. It includes every component the customer interacts with (like ordering a product online) and all the behind-the-scenes aspects that are critical to the service (such as where the product is stored or how it’s delivered). By definition, a Service Blueprints are business development tool that helps companies understand the whole process of providing a service, from start to finish.
No, the service blueprint method is not a complicated method, but it does require careful planning, good communication, and a thorough understanding of both customer interactions and complex processes.
A Service Blueprint Map is a graphical representation of the chain of actions outside and inside the company that influences the customer experience at the point of contact with the brand. The purpose of the blueprint is to indicate the factors that directly and indirectly affect the quality of service as perceived from the customer’s perspective. Using the blueprint also identifies key people inside the organization (stakeholders) responsible for the operations.
What is the Service Blueprint role in Business Development?
Service Blueprint’s role in Business Development is to give a visual representation of the entire process involved in delivering a service, from the first to the last step. Service blueprinting allows businesses to see all the stages of their service process, which includes interactions with the customer and operations happening behind the scenes. With this detailed view, businesses can identify where things might not be working well or where improvements can be made. So, a Service Blueprint essentially aids businesses in enhancing their services, which can lead to better customer journey. This increased satisfaction can then support the growth and development of the business.
What is the Service Blueprint Business Goal?
Service Blueprint’s Business Goal is improving customer satisfaction, which is a key goal in business development. By using service blueprints, a business can see every step involved in delivering a service. This helps them identify where things might be going wrong or where improvements can be made. To put it simply, service blueprinting helps businesses make their services better, which can make their customer’s journey smoother and help their businesses grow.
How Service Blueprint differs from a Customer Journey?
Service Blueprint differs from a Customer Journey by providing a more comprehensive view, including both the customer-facing interactions and the behind-the-scenes operations. Meanwhile, a Customer Journey focuses more specifically on the customer’s actions and experiences.
How does Service Blueprint affect Customer Experience?
By looking at processes from the customer’s point of view, it is possible to see the causes of the emotions the customer experiences when interacting with the brand. By identifying the causes of the customer’s problems (pain points), service blueprints allow the company to be more flexible and deliver a better experience.
How does the Service Blueprint optimize Customer Experience?
A Service Blueprint optimizes customer experience by:
Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses: service blueprints map out the entire process of a service from the customer’s point of view and the internal operations involved in delivering it. This mapping process helps a business identify the strong points in their service process that they should maintain or even enhance, as well as the weaknesses or gaps that need improvement.
Tailoring to Customer Needs: Once the areas of improvement are identified, the business can take steps to align its service more closely with customer needs and expectations. This alignment can lead to improved client satisfaction as the service process becomes more tailored to what the customer wants and expects.
Gaining Competitive Advantage: Particularly in sectors like SaaS (Software as a Service) and High-Tech where many products might have similar functionalities, offering superior service quality can be a key differentiator. Service blueprinting can help companies find and leverage this competitive advantage.
Service Optimization: The ultimate outcome of service blueprinting is usually optimized service delivery. This means the service process becomes more efficient, effective, and customer-friendly, which leads to increased service offerings.
Innovation Perception: Companies that employ service blueprinting are often perceived as innovative because they take a proactive, structured approach to improve their service quality. This perception can contribute to enhanced customer experience, even if the actual product functions are similar to competitors.
How do I create a Service Blueprint?
To create a Service Blueprint simply follow these 6 steps:
- Step 1: Build a customer path based on customer interviews. Determine the points of contact and customer’s emotions, and what they think as they interact with the brand.
- Step 2: Separate the main zones of customer interaction: front, back, and support. The front zone is the one where customer line of interaction takes place, the back zone is one that directly influences the front zone, and the supporting processes have an indirect impact but do not belong to the front and back zones.
- Step 3: Make a list of activities and physical evidence (needed technologies and tools to perform the service), tasks
- Step 4: Create a Service Blueprint Map (see below)
- Step 5: Mark the operations indicating responsible persons, those that are and are not optimized, useless ones, missing links of supporting, and bottlenecks
- Step 6:Together with the responsible persons, indicate the optimization measures
What is a Service Blueprint Map?
A Service Blueprint Map is essentially a visual diagram that outlines the process of delivering a service from the company’s point of view. This diagram or map includes all the steps a customer goes through to receive a service, as well as all the steps happening behind the scenes within the company that the customer does not see.
For example, let’s take an online shopping experience. The map would show the customer’s journey, such as browsing products on the website, adding items to their cart, and checking out. But it would also show what happens behind the scenes, like order processing, packaging, shipping, and delivery.
In addition to these ‘frontstage’ and ‘backstage’ interactions, a Service Blueprint Map often includes ‘support processes’, like IT systems that help facilitate the service, and ‘physical evidence’, like the website design or the packaging materials.
Service Blueprint Map Elements
The Service Blueprint Map consists of 5 elements:
- Physical evidence – the tools and technology needed to deliver the service
- Customer actions – how the customer interacts with the brand, e.g. going to the website, making a purchase, visiting a store or service, returning an item
- Frontstage (line of interaction) – the company’s actions that are visible to the customer, e.g., email marketing, contacting customer service, using the product or service
- Backstage – actions invisible to the customer, e.g. purchase of goods for stock, quality control of products and service process, segmentation of target groups
- Support processes – budgets, marketing automation program integrations
What are the Service Blueprint Map Lines?
Service Blueprint Analysis Lines are lines that break down the service process into smaller components using 3 breakdown criteria: impact, visibility, and interaction. In practice, these criteria are used to answer the question:
- does the customer interact with the employee?
- does the customer see the employee?
- to what extent does the employee interact with customer expectations?
A more detailed analysis may additionally take into account process times, KPIs, or the emotions of the customer and employees during the interaction. The latter, or emotions, often have a big impact on the customer experience at brand touchpoints.
Service blueprint example: service blueprint map elements are shown on below diagram:
How to analyze Service Blueprint Map?
The Service Blueprint Map Analysis begins with the study of the customers’ activities and identification of their needs and points of contact with the brand. Next, the Internal Service Blueprint Analysis maps internal processes and their impact on customer service quality. The good practice of Service Blueprint Process Analysis is to involve all the people in the company responsible for each process.
What is Service Blueprint Process Analysis Technique?
The Service Blueprint Process Analysis Technique is a systematic approach to understanding and improving a company’s service delivery, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the customer experience.
What are the key elements of Service Blueprint Process Analysis Technique?
The key elements of the Service Blueprint Process Analysis Technique are:
Holistic Customer Service Analysis: This involves evaluating all stages of customer service, from production and quality control to sales and customer service, to post-sales activities such as repair and technical support process. This comprehensive view allows companies to see how each operation impacts client satisfaction and where potential issues may arise.
Separation of Internal and Customer-Facing Operations: The analysis differentiates between internal operations (back office) and customer-facing operations (front office). This distinction helps businesses better understand what actions contribute to the quality of their service.
Identification of Process Chains and Bottlenecks: The expected outcome of the service blueprinting process analysis is the identification of process chains that affect service quality, as well as the “weakest links” or critical points that could be bottlenecks in the company’s operations.
Optimization of Operations: Once these critical points or bottlenecks are identified, companies can take action to effectively optimize their operations, improving the overall service processes and ultimately providing a better experience for customers.
What are the Service Blueprint Map benefits?
Service Blueprint Map benefits are:
Holistic Analysis of Service Processes: A Service Blueprint Map provides a comprehensive view of all the processes involved in delivering a service, which helps in comprehensive understanding how each step contributes to the overall customer experience.
Identification of the Role and Impact of Individual Employees on Service Quality: By mapping out the entire service process, you can identify the roles that individual employees play and understand how their performance affects the quality of service processes.
Identification of Ways to Gain Competitive Advantage Through Service Optimization: The detailed insights provided by a Service Blueprint Map can help businesses identify opportunities to optimize their service processes, potentially giving them a competitive edge.
Increased Quality of Services Offered: By helping businesses understand their service process and identify areas for improvement, a Service Blueprint Map can lead to enhancements in service quality.
Increased customer experiences and higher conversion: Improved service quality, in turn, can lead to increased client satisfaction. This can also positively impact conversion rates, as satisfied customers are more likely to make future purchases or engage with the business further.
Inspiration for New Innovations: By providing a detailed view of the service process, a Service Blueprint Map can spark ideas for innovative ways to enhance or streamline the service.
Business development: All these benefits—optimized company’s services, increased customer satisfaction, and potential innovations—can ultimately contribute to increased profits and overall growth for the company.
Service Blueprint Method Applications
Two main Service Blueprint Method Applications are optimizing existing processes and designing new service offerings. The aid of this Service Blueprint Method identifies the necessary actions and resources. In practice, it uses reverse engineering starting with the customer’s points of contact with the company to identify pain points or lack of satisfaction.
Optimizing Existing Services
Optimizing existing services is a crucial aspect of business development, particularly in high-tech industries such as Software as a Service (SaaS), where the licensing model is growing in prevalence. Service Blueprints are valuable tools in this optimization process, as they enable companies to analyze and understand their internal operations and how they affect the customer experience.
Understanding Internal Operations: The service blueprint diagrams provide a detailed map of all processes involved in delivering a service. For high-tech companies, this may include elements such as software development, quality assurance, sales, customer support, and technical support. By visualizing these processes, businesses can gain a clear understanding of how their operations function and interact with each other, identifying any inefficiencies or areas for improvement.
Impact on Customer Journey Map: High-tech companies often provide complex products or service processes that require a significant amount of customer interaction, particularly in areas such as troubleshooting and technical support. A Service Blueprint allows businesses to examine these processes from the customer’s perspective, understanding how these experiences impact client satisfaction and retention.
Repair and Support Processes: Particularly important in the SaaS and high-tech sector are the repair and support processes. By using a Service Blueprint, businesses can scrutinize these areas to identify how efficient and effective they are. This analysis can highlight any areas that may be causing customer frustration or delaying issue resolution, both of which could negatively impact customer retention.
Revenue Generation: In the SaaS sector, revenue is often generated through recurring licensing fees. Ensuring a high level of customer retention is critical for maintaining and growing this revenue stream. By using a Service Blueprint to optimize their service processes and improve the customer experience, high-tech companies can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to improved customer retention and ultimately, higher revenue.
Designing New Services
Designing new services or innovating existing ones requires a strategic and customer-centric approach. Innovation is not solely about creating a new product or service, but also entails reimagining how it’s delivered to the customer. This includes the overall customer experience, sales process, and even after-sales service. Here’s how you can approach it:
Establish Your Objectives: Before you begin innovating, identify your goals. Why do you want to innovate your customer service and sales operations? This could be to increase customer satisfaction, improve process efficiency, or drive revenue growth. Clearly defined objectives guide the innovation process and provide a benchmark for success.
Identify Innovation Opportunities: Innovation can be incorporated into many areas of your business. This could be the way you communicate with customers, the strategies you use for sales, or the after-sales services you provide. Look at every touchpoint you have with your customers and consider how they can be enhanced.
Gather Customer Feedback: Your customers are a valuable source of insight when it comes to designing new services. Conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups to understand their needs, pain points, and expectations. This will give you an idea of where you need to focus your innovation efforts.
Analyze Your Current Operations: Use tools like a service blueprinting to map your current customer service offering and sales processes. This will help you see where the inefficiencies lie and where improvements can be made. By comparing this with the feedback from your customers, you can identify the areas that need the most attention.
Test Innovative Solutions: Once you’ve come up with potential solutions, test them out on a small scale first. This allows you to gauge their effectiveness and make necessary adjustments before a full-scale implementation. Monitor the results to check if the changes are bringing about the expected benefits.
Implement and Review: If the innovative solutions prove successful, roll them out more extensively. However, remember that innovation is an ongoing process. Continually monitor the results and be prepared to make further improvements as needed. Don’t be afraid to refine and iterate on complex services based on customer feedback and performance data.
Can Service Blueprint be used in New Product Launch?
Yes, Service Blueprints can be incredibly useful in the launch of a new product. The Service Blueprint method allows you to map out and visualize all the processes and steps involved in delivering a product to your customer, starting from the point of production to the final point of delivery and post-purchase support. It enables you to understand not just the customer-facing elements of your product delivery, but also the behind-the-scenes operations that contribute to the customer’s overall experience.
Here’s how it can aid in a new product launch:
Understanding Customer Interactions: A service blueprint diagrams can help you understand every touchpoint your customer has with your product, allowing you to refine and optimize these interactions.
Identifying Potential Issues: By mapping out your process, you can anticipate and address potential issues before they occur. This could include anything from supply chain problems, and bottlenecks in production, to customer service issues.
Improving Efficiency: The blueprint allows you to see inefficiencies in your product delivery process and to make improvements where necessary.
Enhancing Customer Journey Map: The ultimate goal is to enhance the customer’s experience with your product. The Service Blueprint helps you ensure that all internal processes are geared toward this goal.
Planning for After-Sales Support: A new product launch isn’t just about getting the product to the customer. It’s also about the support you provide post-purchase. A service blueprinting can help you plan for this.
What SaaS Companies use Service Blueprint for?
Software as a Service (SaaS) companies use service blueprinting for a variety of reasons:
Customer Experience Improvement: The blueprint allows them to visualize the entire customer journeys, making it easier to identify and address any pain points or areas where the customer journey map can be enhanced.
Process Optimization: By mapping out their service delivery process, SaaS companies can identify inefficiencies or bottlenecks and work to optimize these processes, leading to better service design and client satisfaction.
Innovation and New Service Development: service blueprints offer SaaS companies help to identify opportunities for innovation and new service innovation. By understanding the current process, they can identify gaps that could potentially be filled with new services.
Risk Management: Service Blueprints also aid in identifying potential risks or issues that could disrupt service delivery. This helps in creating contingency plans to mitigate such risks.
Cross-Functional Alignment: By mapping out the service delivery process, all teams (e.g., sales, customer service, technical support systems) can understand how their work fits into the bigger picture. This aids in aligning the efforts of different departments towards common organizational goals.
Employee Training and Onboarding: The blueprint can serve as a training tool for new employees, helping them understand the service experience and their role in it.
Scaling Operations: As a SaaS company grows, a Service Blueprint can be critical in scaling operations efficiently. It provides a clear customer journey map of what needs to happen at each stage of the service process, making it easier to replicate and scale as the company expands.
In summary, Service Blueprints are a powerful tool for SaaS companies to optimize their service delivery, improve customer experience, manage risks, foster cross-functional alignment, train employees, and scale operations.
Service Blueprint: Key Takaways
- Service Blueprint is a business development tool that helps companies understand the entire process of providing a service, from start to finish.
- The Service Blueprint Map is a visual diagram outlining the customer journey and internal processes within a company.
- Service Blueprint Analysis Lines break down the service process using criteria such as impact, visibility, and interaction.
- Service blueprinting plays a role in business development by providing a detailed view of service processes, identifying strengths and weaknesses, tailoring to customer needs, and contributing to increased client satisfaction and business growth.
- Service Blueprints can be used in new product launches to understand customer interactions, identify potential issues, improve efficiency, enhance customer’s experience, and plan for after-sales support.
- SaaS companies use Service Blueprints for customer experience improvement, process optimization, service innovation, risk management, cross-functional alignment, employee training, onboarding, and scaling operations.