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What is service blueprinting and how does it help businesses?

By Academy Xi

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Are you new to the concept of service blueprinting? Find out everything you need to know about this vital technique and learn how to use it in your business.


Whether your business is small or involves many moving parts, creating memorable and valuable experiences for your customer will be the key to success. To do this, businesses can greatly benefit from using Service Design techniques to strategically solve user needs. One of these techniques is called service blueprinting.

What is service blueprinting?

Service blueprinting enables businesses to understand a user’s experience from a holistic, end-to-end perspective. The service blueprinting process clarifies the staff interactions, touchpoints, and specific policies that help to create or deliver a service.

Service blueprinting helps uncover key insights that empower a business’ innovation efforts. By condensing your business’ activities into a one page document, a service blueprint breaks down a service into delivery layers, observes how a service functions in its current state, and diagnoses why customers may experience certain pain points.

The process of service blueprinting is useful in approaching ambiguous and complex services known as “wicked” problems that are difficult to diagnose. Blueprinting sifts through the complexity of services that are cross-channel or involve multiple stakeholders to uncover the root of customer pain points. It does so by displaying the orchestration of a business from what the customer can see to the behind-the-scenes elements that create a service. 

From different touchpoints and channels, to underlying support actors and policies, service blueprinting can shed light on the entire ecosystem of a service and enables businesses to deliver exceptional user-centric services.

The benefits of service blueprinting

Service blueprinting is a collaborative process that invites insight and input from a range of teams, stakeholders and staff to seek a single source of truth. By engaging in service blueprinting, businesses can:

  • Visualise intangible services
  • Provide clarity within an ambiguous service landscape
  • Create a single source of information and truth
  • Reveal interdependencies between components of your service
  • Identify potential gaps in the service experience
  • Reach an aligned goal
  • Agree upon tactical improvements and action
  • Inspire and empower your organisation to drive meaningful change

What goes into a service blueprint?

There are four key elements that go into a service blueprint:

  • Customer actions: These are the actions that the user performs to achieve a certain goal while using the service, and they could be steps, choices, activities or interactions. These actions must be aligned with those that we have previously elaborated in the customer journey.
  • Frontstage actions: These are executed in front of the user. They can be human-to-human or human-device interactions.
  • Backstage actions: Those that are hidden or partially hidden from the user, meaning that are done but not noticeable to the user.
  • Processes: Internal interactions and actions that support employees in the performance of the service.

Secondary elements to include in a service blueprint

A service blueprint may include secondary elements in order to clarify and add detail to the relationships and actions it represents. These elements help to adapt the blueprint to the context and specific business purpose.

  • Arrows: These are used to show the relationships between all the elements and dependencies between actions. If a single arrow is used it means that the process is linear, whereas if a double arrow is used it means that there is dependence between the actions.
  • Time: Timestamps can be used to indicate the progress of actions.
  • Regulations or policy: Internal rules or regulations can be added to visualise whether processes are permitted and any restrictions on altering a service.
  • Emotions: These can be added to the actions of both users and employees.
  • Metrics: Any metric that can measure the success of a service is beneficial, especially if it speaks to a buying process.

How to make a service blueprint


A service blueprint segments a service’s backstage processes, front stage touchpoints, and the user’s journey. The benefits of service blueprinting are vast – here are five steps to follow while creating a service blueprint:

1: Define your opportunities and scenarios

Before you start blueprinting, identify potential opportunities that are critical to your business’ success. These are your ‘opportunity spaces’ — high-level, simple, and broad parts of your service journey such as a new customer signing up to a service.

2: Choose your scenarios

Create scenarios around each opportunity space by considering specific pain points as identified by qualitative or quantitative research. List out your chosen scenarios and consider which of the identified scenarios will have the biggest impact on your business and service.

Invite key stakeholders to identify specific steps that happen behind-the-scenes of your chosen scenario. You can always include pictures, screenshots, sketches or illustrations for added detail.

3: Map your blueprint

Blueprinting helps to visualise different components of a scenario and adds depth to each use case. Starting from left to right, progress through each step of the blueprint by adding in detail to the layers. When each step has sufficient details, progress onto the next step and repeat the process for each of the scenarios.

Get your service blueprint template here.

4: Take notes!

Take a step back to observe your blueprint and record any noticeable patterns or overarching themes in your analysis. Begin to prioritise and validate each insight.

While service blueprinting is not the right stage to devise solutions, take notes of any ideas or solutions that arise along the way as these may come in handy at a later stage. Plus, by collecting ideas from your blueprints, you’ll generate more holistic insights for improvement within your opportunity space.

5: Share insights and take action

Experiences never occur in silos so, in the long term, it is beneficial to share actionable insights and learnings to create lasting change within your organisation.

As you begin to notice key themes and patterns in your service opportunities, determine the tactical fixes and strategic improvements that will generate the most business impact. Communicate these with the wider organisation to ensure everyone is aligned.

How to become a Service Designer

Academy Xi offers practical, industry-recognised training that’s designed for digital careers. Our beginner-friendly Service Design courses will give you the hands-on skills and strategic mindset needed to design end-to-end services that focus on the customer’s experience at all touchpoints.

Whatever your lifestyle and time commitments, Academy Xi has a course that’s perfectly suited to you:

Have you got questions about our courses? Chat to a course advisor and we’ll help you plan your next big career move.