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Bridging the “Front Stage” and “Back Stage” in Service System Design

  • Author(s): Glushko, Robert J.
  • Tabas, Lindsay
  • et al.
Abstract

Service management and design has thus far primarily focused on the interactions between employees and customers. This perspective holds that the quality of the “service experience” is determined by the customer during this final “service encounter” that takes place in the “front stage.” This emphasis discounts the contribution of the activities in the “back stage” of the service value chain where materials or information needed by the front stage are processed. However, the vast increase in web-driven consumer self-service applications and other automated services requires new thinking about service design and service quality. It is essential to consider the entire network of services that comprise the back and front stages as complementary parts of a “service system.” We need new concepts and methods in service design that recognize how back stage information and processes can improve the front stage experience. This paper envisions a methodology for designing service systems that synthesizes (front-stage-oriented) user-centered design techniques with (back-stage) methods for designing information-intensive applications.

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