Many things are inherent in product and service design. There are critical junctures, however, at which service and product design part. Product design has straight forward outcomes. There is a standard expectation of the product and success may be measured on how well the product measures up to the standard. Service design is more subjective. The voice of the customer and how they experience the service is key in determining the level of success in design. This is particularly difficult, for example, with a service that requires some level of technical acumen. The designer would have to understand the baseline skill set needed to reap the benefits of the service. Products are tangible things and are easily patented while the unique components of a service are not as clear. A lawyer attempting to patent a service for a company has a more difficult job. How, for example, would you go about gaining a patent for a limo service?
Software companies often develop products that allow industries to manage the day to day operations of company. The home health industry, for example, has many software offerings. A variation on this model, however, would be to create an open source software product that was free to any user for download and offer home health consulting services that used the software to create best practices for a home health agency in the areas of quality assurance, human resources and billing. In order to offer this service, the design of the software would have to have a distinct set of features that were unique to the design. A cloud environment would work best where feature upgrades could be easily managed. The selling point of the service would be subject matter experts in the home health industry with at least 10-20 years of home health experience in regulatory compliance. Experts would have state specific knowledge of home health and how state rules for home health are integrated into federal rules. The subject matter experts would also have an intimate knowledge of the open source software and how best to maximize it to meet the needs of the users.
Lopez-Ona, J. (2011, December 19). Service Design vs. Product Design. Retrieved from Qualtec's Business Performance Improvement Blog: http://blog.ssqi.com/2011/12/19/service-design-vs-product-design-difference/