#TeamBritishTofu – A Briefing on Service Design round 2

In our Service Design class, we’re applying our emerging design skills to help improve the service delivery of a local business in Austin.

Given our collective passion for sustainable food systems, we’re excited to partner with an Austin-based company that delivers local produce directly to customers’ doorstep (referred to here as our “client”).

(Throughout this blog we will be showing you slides from our design brief to provide a more visceral experience of where we are)

Our Client- Design Brief II full


Who is our client?




Currently we are directly in the middle of the ‘Understanding phase’ of this service design project.


This means we have just finished assessing and “discovering” our client’s service model and the customer’s experience from head to toe, and from front-end to back-end.

We’ve found they’re trying to shift the relationship people have with food.


To help optimize our client’s service delivery, we needed to understand the full customer experience. From this information, we created a customer journey map, including all service frustrations and breakdowns. Before sharing this, however, the most current piece of the project was to understand the perceived state of the customer journey from the perspective of ‘our client’. We gathered the reality of this assumed state through an interview with the head of customer service as well as a few smaller inquiries with staff members. The thought process around the service they offer was a very mechanized and linear one. 


As our client moves from one step, to the next, to the next, very little consideration is taken into account for the real human being on the other end of the transaction and their experience of the process.


This gets interesting when you juxtapose the perceived state with what is actually happening. To understand the actual customer journey, we followed four new customers from sign-up to receipt of service, and then we spoke to three past customers. From this information, we created an ‘actual state’ customer journey map, including all service frustrations and breakdowns.


When we dug into why our client wasn’t delivering on pieces of their value promise we found that it all came down to communication.



We then jam packed all of this juiciness into one artifact.


Lets take a closer look.


During our observation of the participant’s sign up process we spoke with Lily.


Delivery Screen


Our clients site interactions are screaming for some user experience. Pathways of movement are not clear. Actions are not explicit. Most next steps have to be maneuvered using “guess and check (or click)”.

Moving onto the ‘cycle phase’ of the ‘actual state’ of the Customer Journey, we mapped out the experience of receiving the service.













To recap and aggregate all of this in one place.



Next we will be moving into thoroughly defining the problem spaces, deciding on where we want to focus our energy and establishing frames through which to test our solutions. All of this facilitated by what is called a vignette, which is a concise depiction that encapsulates the gestalt of a space, problem or issue in one image.


This has been a very enlightening project because on both sides of the story, customer and company, the thoughts about the other are false. ‘Our client’ thinks everything is 100% fine while the customer feels like they are not quite receiving the value that they are paying hard earned dollars for. All of this culminating to a breakdown in communication.

It makes us reflect on the importance of communication within our team and within design strategies in general. Good, thorough design is facilitated by having a diverse set of minds pointed towards one problem and eventually creation. Communication is the crux of how that process becomes possible.

The excitement is steadily rising the more we solidify the breakdowns, what they are made of, and why they exist. Solutions become more and more tangible and graspable. More to come about fresh, local, sustainably grown agriculture delivered directly to your door and how we will make that a more inviting and valuable offering.

If interested, attached is our appendix regarding what we did prior to this design brief. As well has how we define things like the importance of a Customer Journey Map and activities that we did with research participants.