An Introduction to Service Design

An Introduction to Service Design

Designing the Invisible

Lara Penin

Banks are, after all, the quintessential service on which basic aspects of services can be demonstrated (including interactions, channels, touchpoints, but also intangibles such as expectations, relationships, and trust). Banks represent a service whose own name references the definition of service. The word bank comes from banca in Italian, meaning “counter.” During the Renaissance, Florentine bankers conducted their transactions on high counters where clients would deposit their metal coins—their savings from labor, inheritances, possessions, and fortunes—onto the table top. The tall surface demarcated space for this special transaction, symbolizing mutual trust, with the service roles determined by the physical separation: service providers (bankers) on one side, and service users (clients) on the opposite.

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