What is a Scenario?

What is a Scenario?
October 1, 2015 Katie McNeice

Our most recent blog posts have been focused on explaining key Service Design terminology. We covered touchpoints, the line of visibility, the process of a workshop and the value of creating a Service Design blueprint. Throughout each of these activities in a real-life Service Design project, we are helping ourselves to better understand your customers. Measuring the success of the project comes down to whether or not the quality of the customer’s experience has been improved. To do this we envision a scenario.

A scenario is a visual or textual map of events telling a relevant story about interacting with the service, from the perspective of a real customer.

Scenarios help to validate ideas and reveal any assumptions that have been made. Most importantly scenarios help place the customer’s behaviour at the forefront of the decision-making process.

Customer Context

No matter how straightforward a service is, there will be multiple user types and different contexts to cover. For example, even the most standard mobile banking app will be used differently from person to person, as part of the overall banking service. Using 2-3 scenarios will help to make your processes efficient enough to provide consistent, quality experiences.

ScenarioPersona 1 may be an older businesswoman who wants to set personal budgeting goals and manage three business accounts. She also visits the bank once a week to transfer between accounts and receives monthly written statements. Persona 2 on the other hand, is a young student who wants to check his balance twice a week and view his statements online once or twice a year. He has no requirement for face-to-face interaction with banking staff.

Both customers will expect their bank to provide a cohesive online and offline customer experience. Let’s say we are analysing whether or not the redesign of the banking app we have suggested actually adds value to this experience. We will sketch or write out the end-to-end sequence of events telling us how they interact with the app, and other service touchpoints around it.

From Persona 1’s scenario we will see she depends on banking staff to explain the app, which sets important expectations. If it is explained poorly, she will have a confusing experience and refuse to adopt it. Persona 2’s scenario will show he finds the app useful but will be frustrated by how many steps it takes him to check his balance. To suit the contexts of both customers, in-store staff will be consistently trained in how to explain the app and the ‘Check Balance’ button will be brought to the landing screen for Persona 2.

Team Tool

service designEvolving a scenario throughout a project lifetime helps to set realistic project goals and critically evaluate them. Persona 1 may have such a positive experience with the redesigned banking app for example, that she decides to do more banking online. This makes the process more efficient for the customer but also saves time for banking staff and reduces costs associated with paper statements.

By contrasting the final scenario with the first, we see the customer is saving up to 2.5 hours per week travelling to and from the bank and waiting in queues. Inevitably her experience is of a much higher quality than before.

By their very nature, Service Design projects are multidisciplinary. Marketing, sales and business professionals must collaborate, with different goals and contexts of their own. Scenarios help to create and maintain a shared understanding of the service and the customers’ experiences. This streamlines the collaborative process even when approaches, backgrounds and technical skills are different across teams. It also helps us to keep Service Design projects on schedule while making integrated, meaningful improvements to processes.

Contact Us

We will craft the scenarios you need to respond to your customers and inject some fresh ideas into your service strategy. Give us a call on (01) 478 8444 or email info@graphicmint.com to get started today.

Read more Service Design articles >>
Read more about our Service Design offering >>