Researching service design for a better customer experience

Cashpoint10 August 2012

Making services user-friendly is crucial in order to attract customers and business. Three quarters of the UK economy is service-based, and improving the design of services can give businesses an edge on their competitors. The emerging field of 'service design' aims to improve the interaction between service providers and customers - whether it's about processes and behaviour or physical products and interfaces.

The ESRC is partnering up with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Design Council and the communications consultancy Madano Partnership to fund research exploring the value and impact of service design.

"We're delighted to be teaming up with two of the UK's Research Councils, AHRC and ESRC, to scope out an area, service design, where we believe research can make a real difference," says Mat Hunter, chief design officer at the Design Council.

"We have long argued that design can really add value, and we're confident that this research will highlight the benefits that engagement with design has for UK business and the resulting opportunities to thrive."

"This is a very exciting area, and one in which we believe there could be considerable opportunity for engagement between the business and academic spheres," adds Ruth Flood, research partner at Madano.

"Elements that our research project for AHRC, the Design Council and the ESRC will look to identify will include whether there is a working definition for the practice, the level of demand for service design expertise in the wider private and public sector and what is happening internationally."

The five month project will include a literature review, interviews with experts and an online stakeholder consultation.