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Service relationships focus on the solution value and the experience value that is realised by a customer in service encounters. Satisfying service design in the present techno-social and business environment calls for conscious design efforts to harmonise a mix of tangibles and intangibles like people, objects, technology, systems and processes. Specifically, we must now think in terms of designing for experience of interacting with a constellation of touch points rather than channels. The design of harmonised working of a set of interlinked Touch Points requires different consideration than designing individual Touch Points, which is demanding by itself. Multidisciplinary teams and collaboration with end customers would be essential to accomplish the formidable task. We have tried to contribute to the emergent body of Service experience design knowledge and practices to meet the challenges, by focusing on the service experience phenomenon and offering a framework beneficial in designing for desirable customer experience.
We first provided a sharper definition of the concept of touch point, adopted ecosystem perspective and modelled the service relationships anchored in customer's interaction with Touch Points during service encounters. Later, Pattern Language, which is an experience focused, participatory approach for designing complex systems was identified as a suitable candidate on which a design framework could be based.
The extant knowledge not only about pattern languages but also from various other disciplines and conducted exploratory studies was investigated to obtain a better understanding of the service experience phenomenon. From that base, extensive data pertaining to the service experiences and particularly interactions with the Touch Points and Touch Point Ecosystems was collected to create the design patterns and the language in an iterative manner. An intermediate formative assessment was done to confirm that we were on the right track, and the language was refined. We as well conceptualised the other components of the framework: a process for application of the pattern language, and a tool to apply the pattern language. The framework was then subjected to a summative assessment. We could confirm that the framework, particularly the pattern language provided anticipated benefits as well as new ones and it was effective in a range of service design domains and multidisciplinary design contexts. In the process, we confirmed existing knowledge, embodied it in an actionable form, discovered new dimensions and identified directions for future research. Some of the key contributions are:
The thesis is organised as follows:
After a brief introduction in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 builds the conceptual framework around the constructs Touch Point (TP) and Touch Point Ecosystem (TPES). First, we bring clarity to the Touch Point concept, place it in the context of service encounters and argue for the imperative to adopt a Touch Point Ecosystem (TPES) perspective for meaningful design interventions. Inter alia, a new perspective to conceptualise service encounters is proposed.
In Chapter 3, the challenges in designing for delightful experience of interacting with individual Touch Points and TPES are highlighted. A lack of a comprehensive design framework to meet those challenges and the need to develop one is established. We as well identify the desirable attributes of such a framework.
Chapter 4 examines in depth Pattern Language (PL) as a potential candidate on which the design framework could be based. We establish its relevance, benefits and suitability; concluding that Pattern Language, supported by a procedure to use it would constitute a potent framework for designing for Touch Point Ecosystem customer experience.
Customer/user experience is a complex phenomenon. In Chapter 5, we look at the extant knowledge from areas such as service experience, nature of services, quality of service, value creation in service relationship, the linkage between the customer value and experience, the process of service encounter, technology oriented and self-service encounters, technology acceptance, service failure and recovery, and multichannel service access & channel choice. The relevant ideas from literature and their connection to our project have been highlighted.
The process adopted for developing our pattern language and the pattern language itself is the subject of Chapter 6. We discuss extant approaches and suggestions from literature for developing pattern languages; followed by the process adopted by us. Sample patterns from the pattern language are presented. The application of the pattern language has been illustrated with the help of a service encounter scenario and the outcome has been demonstrated as a low-fidelity, conceptual prototype. We as well discuss the proposed design process for applying the pattern language, which is the second component of the framework, and indicate the need of the third component, a tool to facilitate the application of the pattern language.
Chapter 7 begins with review of perspectives on validation, and specifically the ideas and extent methods of validating pattern languages. We argue that validation should be interpreted to mean assessment of the pattern language by practitioners for its comprehensiveness, articulation, application and whether it provides the intended benefits. We discuss the extensive formative and summative assessment of the pattern language done via practitioner workshops, and present the conclusions. We could reconfirm various ideas found in literature and as well identified certain new aspects, benefits and potentials.
Chapter 8 highlights our contributions to knowledge and practice, and their relevance. We as well discuss directions for further work and reflections based on our experience, particularly how a lively integration of a pattern language and technology can open up exciting theoretical possibilities and increasing the effectiveness in application.
We have provided the complete pattern language comprising 116 patterns in Chapter 9. This constitutes Part 2 of the Thesis, provided as a separate volume