Service mapping: Understanding today, envisioning tomorrow, and planning a path

In order to deliver appropriate service to your customers, and for your customers to receive and experience the service as you intend, service mapping can provide you with three things:

  1. Current state: A reflection on the service you provide today, putting you on the path to assess and monitor how your organisation is delivering with current people, systems and processes.
  2. Future state: A vision of the service your organisation wants to be providing, reflect business strategy, customer need, and innovation of service delivery.
  3. Roadmap: Designing for the transition, how service delivery and customer experience can shift and be supported, putting your organisation on a pathway from current state to future state.

An artefact? A process?

A service map is both an artefact and a process, and it’s an important process that key service delivery stakeholders from your organisation should be a part of.   Rather than just seeing the map or reading the report, taking stakeholders, and customers, along for the journey of understanding can bring huge benefit to your organisation.

Regardless of which type of service mapping you’re undertaking, involving yourself with the design team exposes you to the services in action and your customers, creating an empathetic reference point for your work moving forward.

Where do I begin?

Do you start by understanding where you are, identifying opportunities for change from that current-state base? Or do start by looking strictly forward, creating a future state that is based on business drivers, strategy, and innovation, serving as an aspirational piece for your organisation to make impactful change? This question came up recently with a client, and the answer lies solely in what your organisation is intending to do after this exercise. A few examples follow.

Map current state first if:

  • Your organisation only has an appetite for incremental change and wants to build off of your current base. It doesn’t prohibit innovation, it simply starts by utilising your existing strengths and identifying gaps, weaknesses and opportunities for change.
  • You don’t understand what services you provide. There are many companies that simply don’t have a holistic view of their service offering, with departmental and organisational silos preventing cohesion and understanding. Seeing how these services do, or don’t, reflect the overarching vision of the organisation is a powerful tool for instigating future change.

Map future state first if:

  • Your organisation needs an aspirational vision of service delivery. If your organisation is open to exploring what could be with little to no initial constraint, starting with your future state is the way to go. This is beyond a strategy piece; it is an experiential vision of what your organisation has to look like in order to provide the ideal customer experience that you’re putting forth.
  • Your organisation is in need of innovation and change. With the ever-expanding commoditisation of products, service delivery is often the key differentiator between competitors. Envisioning your organisation as a service organisation, beyond the product, can often be the change you need, and may be more achievable than you think.

Map the roadmap first if:

  • Your organisation has an established service vision and knows where it currently sits. If your organisation knows where it wants to go with its service delivery, you can create a transition plan that highlights what needs to be put in place over time to get there. Each transition can reflect the service values you aspire to to some extent, working your way towards the fully-realised vision.

There are naturally nuances and degrees to which all of this can be done. You need not do this across your entire organisation; it can be undertaken at a specific service delivery point or can encompass an entire customer journey. Regardless of your scope, there is a place to begin, and we’re happy to meet with you to discuss the best pathway for your organisation.

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