After reading Suguru Ishizaki’s article, “Service Design and Technical/Professional Communication” I feel I have even more promise for a career in service design. Ishizaki writes that communication experts, with backgrounds in fields like visual and information design and rhetoric have an important role in service design activities which aim to create an intangible, meaningful experience for customers. The overall impression of a service activity, created through communication “touchpoints” demands the involvement of technical and professional communicators who recognize the rhetorical situation of customer experience and construct language which is sensitive to the audience group.
The shift in technology from human agents to self-service interactive experiences means that customers may be more likely to encounter a service through a designed interface than a face-to-face encounter. The convenience of anywhere, anytime access sets the customer expectation of convenience for services. Communication artifacts must align in terms of voice and share similar language across tangible (print and digital) and intangible (phone and personal interaction) moments of service.
Ishizaki proposes service design as a perspective and provides a framework which relates the roles of social and cultural values, service activities and communication artifacts with blurred boundaries. Based on the customer values, certain types of technology or language may be negatively viewed, such as an elderly population preferring a face to face interaction over self-service kiosks. Customer responses to services emerge over time through engagement with multiple touchpoints: employees, websites, bills, phone calls, etc. Service as perspective asks us to look at communication as a complex system of activities and not just an artifact in isolation.
In terms of this thesis project, the framework suggests that any artifact I create should be viewed as part of a larger system. The overall service can be modeled and a single part of it could be developed and prototyped, but cannot exist in isolation. My design should be a touchpoint in a larger network of services. The rhetorical situation is the context from which to begin my research and develop a service blueprint.