Celebrating Service Design Day

4 min read
Ben Logan
Service Design
Inside Spotless

In celebration of International Service Design Day, we want to share some stories of our favourite services. The ones that have provided the right support at the right time, the ones that are using data in intelligent ways, and the e-commerce experiences that exceed our expectations. Here’s to all the great, important, and meaningful services out there!

Repurposing a service for the vulnerable

The Covid lockdown period has been particularly challenging around ensuring that my elderly mother who has dementia, bi-polar and diabetes has enough of the right food and supplies.

Prior to lockdown, I was organising online grocery deliveries for her. However, during lockdown getting a delivery slot has been impossible. So, despite my mother’s challenges, she doesn’t meet the criteria set by the government as being ‘vulnerable’. This means she is not entitled to get priority for online food shopping.

Luckily, some supermarkets and companies that offer pre-paid gift and payment cards have quickly pivoted and rebranded these cards to offer another service. A volunteer service that allows a carer to buy shopping for a vulnerable person. The ‘gift’ card is pre-loaded with money prior to shopping and given to a volunteer. Mum’s carers are now able to shop for her. Giving both her and me peace of mind that she has what she needs without having to leave the house.

Caroline, Senior Service Designer

Personal finance made human

When I moved to London almost a year ago, I was dreading finding a bank and opening up a bank account as one of the million things on my to-do list. I expected huge amounts of forms that needed to be printed, filled out, signed, sent, and approved.

Someone told me about Monzo and as a newcomer to London it was such a delight how many of my worries went away. It was easy to set up an account, I received my card quickly and immediately felt more welcome and included. When I learned about Plum, an app that uses AI to save up money for you “in the background” I was further positively surprised to see personal finance turned not just user-friendly, but human.

I love how more financial services are being built from real human needs and behavior. Like the need to get quickly set up and settled in a new country or the struggle of setting money aside and saving up for uncertain times. Monzo is also addressing serious issues, like getting rid of personal debt and tackling a gambling problem.

Nadja, Service Designer

Volvo Connected Safety programme

I am fascinated by the way digital enables us to help each other in ways that we couldn’t before. This is especially interesting when using mobile technologies and location services.

So I really like Volvo’s Connected Safety programme. The idea is that each vehicle is able to make a data record of the driving conditions on the road – for example when a wheel spins on black ice. This information can then be stored for subsequent vehicles approaching that patch of road, and hopefully, drive through it in a safer way. This service is pretty much invisible – the drivers providing the information, and the subsequent occupants receiving the information and having a safer journey, may not actually need to actively participate.

In some ways, Google maps do this for all sorts of things in a less tech-enabled, and more visible way. We share our knowledge on certain locations and hopefully warn people of the ‘bad’ and celebrate the ‘good’.

… and have you ever noticed that rooster sign on your table at Nando’s?  Next time make a note of when it stays with you, and when it is taken away by the waiter. It is a clever little customer service device that enables a huge chain like Nando’s to provide uniform service across the globe.

Kevin, Service Design Director

Online shopping made quick, easy and satisfying

I am not sure this is my all-time favourite, but I was recently very pleased with the shopping experience provided by Google Store.

It was easy to find and compare products of interest and their upsell was not too pushy, but just tempting enough to make me look because I needed something extra.

The journey from the front page to payment was clear and quick, even if the menu at the top of their front page is not my favourite and the check out left me hoping for more payment options rather than having to use Google Pay.

The best part however was how quickly they delivered the order and how wonderful the unboxing experience was. Opening the outer cardboard box was a joy! It unfolded beautifully to reveal the device box inside. A surprisingly satisfying experience.

Katri, Project Manager

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