Designing Service Systems by Bridging the 'Front Stage' and 'Back Stage'

Robert J. Glushko and Lindsay Tabas, "Designing Service Systems by Bridging the 'Front Stage' and 'Back Stage'". Information Systems and E-Business Management, Vol 7, No 4, pp 407-427, September 2009.


Service management and design has largely focused on the interactions between employees and customers. This perspective holds that the quality of the “service experience” is primarily determined 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.


Last updated:

September 20, 2016