BLUEPRINTING THE SERVICE PROFIT CHAINIntroduction The idea behind services blueprinting is fairly simple: Companies put themselves in their customers' shoes to find out what's working, what's not, and what needs to be changed. But its simplicity may belie its effectiveness. In fact blueprinting may well be the best method for measuring services success, and may also hold the key to future services innovation. This paper looks at a case study of the case of the Colonial Savings Bank and redesigns the process of loan application, approval and refinancing. This was one of the areas where the bank was doing well but this has since changed.
The paper seeks to redesign the process so that it is more customer-friendly, effective and protective of Bank assets. The paper first analyses the current refinancing process explaining why the bank might have originally designed it that way. It then looks at the problems that arise as a result of the current process. Finally the paper proposes a new service blueprint. CURRENT REFINANCING PROCESS AND JUSTIFICATIONUnder the current process there are five distinct stages involved in the loans approval process.
Firstly there is the loans application process. Here the customer completes the loan application form for the loan agent who informs him of the refinancing options. The customer also signs papers to allow a credit check then awaits approval. The second stage is that of loan processing. The loan processor requests a credit check, verification of loans or mortgages from other financial institutions, an appraisal of property and employment verification. The justification of this is that the bank has to ensure that the customer who gets the loan can pay.
It also helps in ensuring that the customer has not hidden some important information from the bank. At this stage if there are any discrepancies the customer is expected to explain the same in writing. If the explanation is acceptable the letter is placed in the customers file and sent to the loan agent for approval. The justification for the requirement that it should be in writing is that the bank needs written proof that is kept for future reference. Upon approval a letter is sent to the customer requiring him to call the closing agent a schedule a closing date.
It is at this stage that the closing agent requests the customer’s lawyer’s name. The lawyer is responsible for arranging a termite inspection, a title search, and insurance as well as preparing the closing papers. The importance of this stage is to ensure that the property actually belongs to the customer. The searches reveal the ownership as well as any encumbrances on the property. PROBLEMS WITH THE PROCESSOrganizations that are most successful in providing new services keep their service development processes from being ad hoc.
In short, they prepare and move systematically through a set of planned stages from the establishment of clear objectives, to idea generation, to concept development, service design, prototyping, service launch, and customer feedback. Service design requires an understanding of the customer outcome and customer process, the way the customer experience unfolds over time through interactions at many different touch points. A well designed service that is pleasing to experience can provide the firm with a key point of differentiation from competitors.