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Dog Food by Subscription: Service Design Project Coursework

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2022

The Service Concept

The present individual project introduces the service concept that provides dog owners with dog food by subscription. The purpose of the service is to make it easier for dog owners to get high-quality, locally produced food for their dogs delivered to their doorstep. Moreover, it would allow any brick-and-mortar store that already has an established audience of people living in the neighborhood to extend their service and transform the traditional business without losing its customers.

The target market is dog owners, men, and women who would be able to benefit from having organic dog food to be delivered every week or month. The customers of this business are working people, active users of the Internet and social media (Customer A), and those who have chosen against digital services (Customer B) or do not have the necessary skills of being online (Customer C).

Customer experience consists of several steps. First, a dog owner learns about this newly available service. They then visit the website and fill out a survey on their dog age, breed, allergies, weight and fitness, and food preferences (if they are new customers). If they are already familiar with our brand, there is an option to order a particular type of food directly. The customer also provides their contact details and fills out a payment form. However, the possibility of calling and ordering food with the help of phone customer support is also possible for those who prefer this type of communication. Then the food is delivered to the customer’s doorstep without direct contact. For the convenience and safety of customers and their dogs, customer support in the form of a call center and online chat is available.

Performance specifications of this design are as follows: customers receive the product of their choice on time left on their doorstep from a vendor they already know without the necessity to visit a physical shop (Table 1). Customer expectations can be seen in Tables 2 and 3.

Several actions would have to be taken to fit into the design and delivery specifications to implement the service. The most critical aspects are developing an easy-to-use and reliable website, establishing a customer support center, logistics department, hiring communications and marketing specialists, and deciding upon possible collaborations with local stores to provide printing services and organizing campaigns.

The Service Blueprint and Customer Journey Map

Table 1. The service blueprint

Physical evidence Website
Leaflet / Printed Ad
Package with dog food
Extra treats with each order
(Uniform, car possible)
Complimentary delivery
Customer actions Order by phone or online Receive delivery Call support
Employee actions visible The employee gets all the necessary details on the phone Delivery is left on the doorstep Reply to the inquiry in a hasty manner
Employee actions invisible Customer service order A delivery person picks up the order Find out the reason for the problem
Support processes The order is prepared, billed, and scheduled for delivery
Website maintenance

Table 2. Customer journey map for Customer A (Modified from source: Gibbons, 2018)

Jill and Jake
Scenario: Jill and Jake enjoy feeding their dog, Rufus, the local store’s dog food. However, they work late and cannot find time to visit the store. They want to continue feeding their dog with the best food without having to buy big brands at convenience stores.
  • Clear information
  • Friendly and helpful customer support
  • Doorstep delivery
Aware Interest Consider Purchase
Learn about new service

Emotions: Finally!

Read and hear more about it

Emotions: Sounds great!

Read reviews, get a free trial delivery

Emotions: We should try it

Go to website and order

Emotions: That is easy!

  • Customer support online
  • Producing engaging content
Internal ownership + metrics:
  • Website team: ensure everything works
  • Communications team: providing necessary information
  • Logistics and delivery team: following the schedule

Table 3. Customer journey map for Customer C (Modified from source Gibbons, 2018)

Mrs. Jenkins
Scenario: Mrs. Jenkins and her dog Mr. Gruffles are constant customers at a local pet store. Sometimes it is difficult for Mrs. Jenkins to get to the store as she does not have a car. She wants to continue giving Mr. Gruffles his favorite food. She also does not use a smartphone or computer.
  • Call order
  • Customer phone service
  • Doorstep delivery
Aware Interest Consider Purchase
Learn about new service from a leaflet

Emotions: Interesting

Read and hear more about it

Emotions: I wonder if it works

Read reviews, get a free trial delivery

Emotions: It works!

Call the store and order delivery

Emotions: Great! I can just call

  • Customer phone support
  • Supporting local printing businesses and newspapers
Internal ownership + metrics:
  • Call center: training employees
  • Communications team: print info
  • Logistics and delivery team: following the schedule

The Media Channels

The customer journey that this service design aims to provide for the targeted audience requires the use of different media. The choice and utilization of various channels depend on their ability to create meaningful touchpoints. Moreover, it is crucial to take the beneficial side for the business into account, which “requires a thorough understanding of the company’s customer base and customers’ preferred digital touchpoints” (Hallikanen, Alamäki, and Laukkanen, 2019, p. 392). Therefore, based on the fact that our customers are both tech-savvy and anti-digital, using a multichannel approach, combining both digital and traditional media, has been chosen.

Media channels used for creating meaningful touchpoints through the customer journey
Figure 1. Media channels used for creating meaningful touchpoints through the customer journey

The use of printed ads and leaflets positioned in store and locally is recommended to raise awareness of the new service available for the business’s existing customers. Moreover, the personnel can spread the word while talking to customers, and promotional posts in local community internet-based groups are welcome. It is essential to emphasize the availability of different order options. Furthermore, it can also be suggested to allocate a small budget on targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram to expand the potential customer base.

The customer’s interest can be sustained through online posts on Instagram and Facebook pages of our store. Since the company has already built a community in these channels, it seems only logical to make it a touchpoint. To make it effective and meaningful, it is advised to focus on creating engaging content that would allow customers to move on to a consideration phase.

At the consideration phase, it is vital to provide customers with opportunities to read more about offered products and services. It is advised to make sure that all the necessary information – reviews, information on the product, and delivery options – is easily found, both in digital format and printed. Moreover, PR campaigns such as in-store signing-up of particular customers might help the client base to consider the service and choose it.

The retention phase presupposes, paying much attention to the customers’ feedback and comments. To do this, it is important to ensure the implementation of social listening and search engine reputation management. It would include managing the community’s responses and comments, neutralizing negativity and finding solutions to improve the service. The media that would be involved at this stage would be forums, social media, review websites, and traditional channels like newspapers. Moreover, it is advised to continue implementing PR campaigns among existing customers.

Finally, the advocacy stage would involve further promotions, and the use of influencers – both those who would be potentially interested in collaborations and existing brand’s fans. They should be advised and incentivized to share brand content and produce their own content relating to the brand (Dimitrou and Guesalaga, 2017, p. 589). Moreover, it is essential to consider this phase as the next awareness stage, but at a higher level, that would allow the business to expand geographically and transfer operations solely to order-and-deliver (and potentially digital-only) schemes.

The Strategic Importance of the Service Design Project

The presented service design’s importance is strategic as it allows stores to gain a competitive advantage ahead of other similar establishments. It not only makes purchasing dog food easier for digital natives of young age but also for those customers who are not proficient enough in e-commerce procedures. Therefore, the company which employs this service design would potentially acquire a particular group of customers who are typically excluded from contemporary service innovations. Preparedness to provide different types of customer support would demonstrate to existing and potential customers a personalized approach.

Moreover, this service design is oriented on community-focused businesses, that usually value peer cooperation. Therefore, this model must allow companies to implement this service design to support other local businesses, such as printing services or local newspapers. This circumstance might play a vital role in improving the company’s image in the community. The developed brand image on a local level would potentially allow the company to expand and experience organic growth into regional and state proportions.

Finally, since the service encounters in the service design are mostly done through the Internet or over the phone, it allows minimizing human interaction between customers and employees. This aspect is especially relevant for the contemporary situation when public health and safety have become a priority. Thus, it creates another advantage for business as people might want to prefer conscious types of companies now and in the future.

Reference List

Dimitriu, R. and Guesalaga, R. (2017) , Psychology & Marketing, 34(5), pp. 580-592.

Gibbons, S. (2018) . Nielsen Norman Group.

Hallikanen, H., Alamäki, A. and Laukkanen, T. (2019), Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 50, pp. 383-393.

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