Ah, the trusty template. A template is a tool that can be incredibly helpful, especially when visualizing complex service processes in a structured way. Though its biggest consideration is the customer’s perspective, the service blueprint also includes the backstage actions that influence it. If you’re new to developing service blueprints, templates make a great starting point that take a lot of the work out of structuring your visual aid.
That being said, there’s a whole plethora of service blueprint templates out there. How do you decide which one to use?
To help you avoid spending too much time searching through the many versions, I’ve selected five of my favorite service blueprint templates.
I work as a researcher and strategist for companies who are looking to add more of a customer focus to their product and service offerings. This service design perspective often leads me to leaning on service blueprints. I sometimes adjust which service blueprint templates I use, which has most often been dependent on what tools and programs the stakeholders that I collaborate with use. I hope that this list can serve as a quick ‘go-to’ for you to quickly get the ball rolling on the service blueprinting process.
When To Use A Service Blueprint Template
These templates are a go-to tool in service design practice. Regarding when to decide to use a service blueprint template, my general recommendation is to use one any time that you are creating a service blueprint. If you’ve read my previous article on how to design a customer-centric service blueprint, you know that these tools contain many rows, columns, touchpoints, and flows. Save yourself some time; there's no need to start from scratch!
There is a key rule of thumb to keep in mind when using a template: Look at the template critically and adapt as needed. They are simply starting points.
Taking a critical look is an important step to revisit on your service blueprint creation process. If you use a template without considering what it includes and what it is missing, you may miss out on identifying crucial aspects of the service. You want it to be as true of a reflection of the service journey as possible. This, in turn, will help you and your team pinpoint the best opportunities for improvement and innovation.
Advantages of using a service blueprint template
Using a service blueprint template gives you time back—time you could be using your talents and expertise! This is the biggest advantage of leaning on templates. Let’s now get into the details.
- Legitimacy: Many service blueprint templates were created using sound methodology and proven positive outcomes. You can better trust that you are starting your blueprint from a reliable place. Be aware, though, not all templates are created equal.
- Familiarity: For information to be more effectively absorbed, consistency and uniformity are your friends. Having a format that you can begin each service blueprint from repeatedly will help with this. Familiarity can also help increase the attention span of your audience.
- Easy to use: A foundational aspect of templates in general is that they are designed to be easy to use for you and your team members. Though this is a general characteristic of templates, be aware that the degree of ease varies.
- Reduces workload: By simplifying the creation of service design documents, templates can ease our workload. In turn, you may even find that your level of stress has decreased due to your increased efficiency.
As you can see, service blueprint templates have many advantages—most of which are related to saving you time. Imagine having customer insights stick quicker because your audience has understood and internalized the service process in a more efficient way. In addition, you don’t have to fiddle with creating one from a blank canvas. A great template should be almost plug-and-play.
How to decide which service blueprint template is best for you
The project you're engaging in will have the most influence on how you choose a template. You want to use a template that helps you tell the right story, which is ultimately about the customer experience. Additionally, considering service blueprinting should be done collectively, the template should be accessible through a collaborative design thinking software tool. With the increase in remote teams, live collaboration features are essential.
Finally, the program that the template is available on should be easy to use, learn, and access. If they don’t actually help make you more efficient, they aren’t a great tool to turn to.
5 Best Service Blueprint Templates
The following list consists of templates that take the main service design touchpoints into consideration: customer actions, stakeholders, and support processes. Some do not have a clear line of visibility, however, this is easy to add. Having a clear outline of your service process can then be integrated into your business process.
1. Miro’s Service Blueprint Template (Best for Collaboration)
Miro is becoming more and more widely used, and for good reason. It has good usability and is easy to learn. Visually, it gives you lots of options to customize the design of your flowchart. Plus, you can access its basic features for free.
Think of who your collaborative teammates will be in the service blueprint creation process—they likely will have various levels of comfort and proficiency with digital tools. Fortunately, Miro is relatively user-friendly.
Compared with other contenders on this list, Miro is a more general-purpose collaboration platform. Its other main use cases include planning, prototyping, and design, so it can also be used to create customer journey maps.
2. Figma’s Service Blueprint Template (Best for Designers)
Figma is a web-based design platform that allows artists to collaborate online. With roughly 4 million users, it is one of the most used tools in the designer community. It has gotten a lot of attention over the past few months due to the announcement of its acquisition by Adobe in September 2022. This is because many designers fear that this acquisition will result in increased pricing.
If you are a designer, there is a good chance that you are already using Figma, as well as its collaborating whiteboard tool, FigJam. Similar to Miro, you may have used it already to create a customer journey map. If you already have access to it and know your way around it, I recommend that you stick with it for service blueprinting. If you do not currently use Figma, no problem. There are many other options.
3. Nielsen Norman Group’s Service Blueprint Template (Best for Easy Access)
If you’re in research, you likely know this brand well. Nielsen Norman Group is coined as being the world leader in research-based user experience. They are trusted and reliable. They build tools with rigor, integrating evidence and best practices into their outputs. In that sense, you can count on a strong service blueprint template.
Something to mention is that the template is built with Google Sheets. This is good if you're limited in the kinds of apps you can use at work, as Google Sheets is relatively widely available. Many people are familiar with its layout, which is not much different from Microsoft Excel. The downside here is that the visual features available are quite limited. For example, linking a few touchpoints with arrows will look quite clunky.
4. Mural’s Service Blueprint Template (Best for Pre-filled Examples)
Mural is designed specifically for visual collaboration and brainstorming, with a wide range of templates and tools for creating and organizing ideas. It is nearly identical to Miro, and as a result, they are often compared to each other.
Regarding service blueprint templates, Mural provides many options. Their template includes a detailed instructions template, a blank template, and even completely filled service blueprint examples. Exercise caution, however. While using a filled-out example template can save you time, it can be easy to miss some additional details in your unique service offering. You may falsely assume that the experience is the same as the pre-filled template. For example, your backstage processes may differ from the prefilled version. If you do choose to go this route, make sure to take a critical look at how the example version is different from the service that you are examining.
5. LucidSpark’s Service Blueprint Template (Best for Simplicity)
If you like the scrappy, no-frills version of a service blueprint (a step above sticky notes on a wall!), try LucidSpark’s service blueprint template. You can avoid getting sidetracked by a ton of distracting design features with this simple template.
You will have to sign up for a LucidSpark account to use this version—however, you do not have to provide your credit card details.
How To Create Your Own Service Blueprint Template
After all this, you may still want to create your own. Perhaps it’s part of a specialized service delivery offering that a client is asking for. Or maybe your company wants you to create ones that are branded and specific to their unique services. You may have generated a customer journey map using a tool that you already enjoy and would like to keep these visuals all in one place. Finally, you may be limited to using a particular tool to create your service blueprint that does not currently offer a template already.
Here’s how to get started.
- Start with a physical whiteboard, either physical or virtual.
- Draw it out on a digital tool (if not already done), and save your copy.
- Create a shareable document.
- Include instructions for users to create their own copy.
- Leave instructions on how to use the template.
Get Started With A Strong Service Blueprint Template
Now that you have the knowledge to identify and use service blueprint templates, give it a go! Start by filling it up with all of the key touchpoints of a service blueprint: frontstage actions like customer actions, and front-facing employee touchpoints; as well as backstage actions like support processes and the other stakeholders that are behind the line of visibility.
Do you have a go-to template that was not included in the list? Shout it out in the comments below.
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