Seth Godin hits the nail on the head. http://bit.ly/fD47JR
But great service designs require more than designers signing their work. Great service designs require a process.
Listen – Observe and understand the customer. Take the time to really understand what the customer wants. Understand the why behind the what. Stop talking. Start listening. Designers must experience their customers first-hand. (No, reading tweets is not first-hand experience!) Empathize with the customer who gets a blast of cold water from the hotel’s shower head.
Enrich – Explore and discover the best alternative. Once you have a rock solid, visceral understanding of customer needs, don’t rush to the first concept that comes to mind. Take the time to explore all the concepts. Invent some new ones! Select (discover) the best design - the best design for your customer at a cost the customer is more than willing to pay.
Optimize – Improve and perfect the discovered design. Once the best design is discovered, improve that design. Break it down to the details. Combine and re-combine until you are certain that you’ve found the best version of the design. Then, take that best version of the best design and sweat every detail. What can go wrong? Play the “what-if” game. Then create a solid counteraction for every problem. Replay the “what-if” game. You’re done when you’re certain the customer will never have a bad experience.
Test your final service design and then provide it to your happy customers.