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What are blueprints?

Blueprints are diagrams, plans, or networks that make it possible to visualize the services a company offers to recipients or customers in a clear, simple way. It reflects the interconnection and interactions between the parts of a production process and the final consumer. The parts of a productive process are understood to be people, facilities, machinery, and resources, which are represented in the diagram as an interconnected network.

Creating a blueprint requires the following:

  • Determining the setting where the interaction with the customer will take place.
  • Planning the steps that the user will carry out before, during, and after in relation to the company.
  • Building a map with the customer’s journey, as well as the participation of the employees and resources that provide the service.
  • Estimating the time that it will take users to carry out a step, as well as considering their emotions.
  • Drawing conclusions about the diagram, identifying points for improvement and flaws in the design. This last phase should be a discussion with the entire team that’s involved.

What purpose do blueprints serve?

This technique was invented with the aim of visualizing the stages and the specific journey of the process that defines a service, identifying the contact points, failures, risks in the process, and opportunities for improvement to benefit the end user.  

It is also a tool that makes it easier for employees to visualize concepts that are abstract and not very tangible in order to define and develop action and contingency plans for potential risk cases.

What are the basic principles of a blueprint?

1.   Defining a target audience: every blueprint should be set up according to its target audience, which should be well-defined; the audience’s primary needs should be known.

2.   Flexibility: its design should allow multiple variants, both for business areas and number of customers, with the possibility of change, expansion, and continual improvement.

3.   Accessibility: the diagram must be understood by the work team, not only by the company’s managers. The production process and its components must be understandable to everyone.

What parts make up a blueprint?

1.   Customer actions: elements shown at the top of the diagram. This includes customer steps, actions, and interactions while evaluating, purchasing, or using a service.

2.   Physical evidence: also located at the top of the plan, this represents the physical evidence of the service and is numbered above each contact point.

3.   Frontage or visible employee contact: these actions include first-line contact with employees when they interact with customers face-to-face.

4.   Backstage or invisible employee actions: these are behind-the-scenes actions that customers don’t see and which support the frontage actions, like phone calls.

5.   Support processes: this includes internal services, interactions, or actions carried out by individuals who are not employees and who provide an outsourced service to employees who are part of the company.

What are the benefits of blueprints?

  • They provide information on resources and processes related to a certain service.
  • They expand the understanding of a company and its most essential elements.
  • They make it possible to know and evaluate the weaknesses of a company, its processes, and its services. Bad user experiences often come from failures in the company’s internal organization, so determining what the weak points are and addressing them is essential.
  • They make it possible to identify opportunities in order to optimize processes.
  • They pool efforts from various departments within a company.
  • They allow the transfer of information and knowledge to a team, as well as to new members of the company, in a way that is fast, organized, and simple.
  • They define roles and functions, with the latter to be assigned to the appropriate teams.
  • They allow comparison with competing services to improve if necessary.

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