Recently I've participated in a great workshop about Service Design. It was a totally new concept to me. The course was designed surprisingly great by Joannes Vandermeulen from Namahn. If you ask me about the most important keyword I've learned in the course, definitely it is: Touch Point.
Addicted to Deliver a Wrong Value
As software engineers, we are addicted to create software, high quality code, great architecture and so on. And unfortunately we prefer to sell this value to our customers. But it seems the reality is something completely different. This lovely value means nothing to the customers! In fact, they don't understand even a tiny bit of these technical details, and they don't want to!
Usually, when a customer buys a product, she knows nothing about its manufacturing process history. When I buy a BMW, I usually know nothing about the way its engine is designed or how greatly its gearbox is working.
Although I don't have any idea about how they made a BMW or any other technical details about how to create a BMW, but still I love it. How is that possible? What happened to me that I love BMW concept? If I look at the time-line of my life, I could find some points in my life which shaped the perception of a BMW in my brain:
- Car magazines in my childhood
- Its posters everywhere
- The car appearance in the games like Need for Speed
- Word of mouth
- Seeing other people eager to have a BMW
- Hearing some good stories about BMW from friends, news and other places.
As you see, I love BMW not because of knowing about how they create it, but because of how they defined the concept in my mind. In another words, the concept of a BMW began to take shape in my brain because of above touch points.
To create a good BMW picture in the people's mind, you should prepare a good service to enter their life in early days of your product lifecycle. To have a good sevice, you should design the service and this what 'Service Design' is all about.
Software: Service vs Product
Like BMW, Software is a product. So it is obvious that its technical details are not what defines it in the brains of customers. But the way you define and deliver the "service of using your software", defines your product. In fact, you should see your software as a service, instead of a product.
Software can be seen as a product and as a service. Customers would remember the services more vividly.
So if you want to have a successful and lovely product, you must have designed a clear and lovely service for it. This process is called as Service Design and in my opinion is really crucial to achieve a successful product.