We have unsatisfactory experiences when we use banks, buses, health services and insurance companies. They don't make us feel happier or richer. Why are they not designed as well as the products we love to use such as an Apple iPod or a BMW? The 'developed' world has moved beyond the industrial mindset of products and the majority of 'products' that we encounter are actually parts of a larger service network. These services comprise people, technology, places, time and objects that form the entire service experience. In most cases some of the touchpoints are designed, but in many situations the service as a complete ecology just "happens" and is not consciously designed at all, which is why they don't feel like iPods or BMWs.
One of the goals of service design is to redress this imbalance and to design services that have the same appeal and experience as the products we love, whether it is buying insurance, going on holiday, filling in a tax return, or having a heart transplant. Another important aspect of service design is its potential for design innovation and intervention in the big issues facing us, such as transport, sustainability, government, finance, communications and healthcare. Given that we live in a service and information age, a practical, thoughtful book about how to design better services is urgently needed.