Six Characteristics of Highly Effective Service Organizations

Six Characteristics of Highly Effective Service Organizations

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Six Characteristics of Highly Effective Service Organizations

To be fully successful with services you must keep the customers you have and create opportunities to expand relationship value.

This means that you must deliver positive customer experiences and meet increasing customer demand and satisfy higher customer expectations – cost effectively.

Here are the six characteristics of highly effective service organizations.

1. Service Strategy Delivers Outcomes

A well-defined plan helps you to be successful with services.

Strategy defines what an organization wants to accomplish and how it will prioritize initiatives and allocate resources to achieve outcomes. Service organizations need a strategy to set goals, define priorities and establish plans.

Highly effective organizations define how teams including Services, Development, Sales, and Product Management cooperate and coordinate efforts across the company to cost effectively meet customer needs and attain business outcomes.

2. Service Offers Drive Growth

A well-defined portfolio of service programs is essential to retain and expand customer relationships.

Service programs establish customer expectations and define how companies monetize service delivery.

Service portfolios need to meet evolving customer needs from onboarding through adoption, support, success, and modernization stages of product ownership.

The right service portfolio design will engage customers, accelerate time-to-value, and increase the likelihood of renewal and expansion.

Highly effective organizations monetize support and success services by offering catalogs of high-value services that customers want and Sales can sell.

3. Service Team Design Promotes Collaboration

Organize the right people in the right roles to do the right things cooperatively.

Every team within an organization is accountable for contributing to customer outcomes. Organizations need to have the right people with the right skills and responsibilities incented to do the right things.

When teams cooperate and work towards common objectives, they are efficient and effective in delivering what is promised to customers.

Highly effective organizations break down organizational silos and maximize cross-functional cooperation to achieve shared objectives and deliver better customer experience at every touchpoint.

4. Processes are Streamlined and Cross-Functional

Define activities and actions to achieve desired service outcomes efficiently.

Process defines what organizations do and how they do it. Service processes need to encompass delivery of services, engagement, and renewal of customer relationships, and strengthen service delivery capabilities.

Highly effective organizations increase service efficiency when key activities are well-defined and best practices embraced.

5. Technology Drives Efficiency and Innovation

Innovate, automate, and scale service delivery cost effectively.

Technology enhances service capabilities and enables new ways to engage customers. The right use of service technology will scale delivery capacity, improve customer experiences, and deliver better business outcomes at lower costs.

Highly effective organizations leverage technology to streamline and automate core service functions and find new and better ways to serve customers.

6. Access to Data Leads to Meaningful Insights

Insights drive process improvement, efficiency gains, and better customer experiences.

Highly effective service organizations have the means to measure the contribution of service initiatives to specific corporate goals and objectives. They use insights to predict and prevent issues and escalations and identify opportunities to mitigate churn and expand relationship value.

Apply theses 6 characteristics of effective service organizations to maximize service success.

  1. Define your service strategy.
  2. Offer a robust portfolio of services.
  3. Organize teams to maximize cooperation and collaboration.
  4. Embrace best practices.
  5. Modernize technology.
  6. Develop and apply insights

Would you like to discuss how well you have embraced these Six Characteristics of Highly Effective Service Organizations?  Would you like examples of effective service strategies and metrics? Contact ServiceXRG. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time.​

Accelerate Customer Success.

Download the ServiceXRG Playbook:  Customer Success Management and discover:

  • How to establish customer needs and plan for successful outcomes.
  • What it takes to help customers adopt and apply your products.
  • Key success indicators and the means to monitor progress.
Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Service Sales Enablement and Overcoming Objections

Service Sales Enablement and Overcoming Objections

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Service Sales Enablement and Overcoming Objections

To retain and grow service revenue you must encourage new customers to buy service contracts and convince existing customer to renew or even expand current service agreements.

If customers are reluctant to purchase or renew services, enable your Sales team with training and resources to position service value and overcome customer objections

 

Target Outcomes Core Service Capabilities Service Activities Focus
Grow Revenue Program, Technology, Process Sales Enablement, Program Design Customer Success, Support, Sales

Practices:

Review the following practices to enable Sales to sell services effectively and to minimize customer objections to purchasing services.

 

Provide Services Customers Want

The most effective way to encourage the sale of services to new customers is to offer services aligned with their needs.  Create service offers that align to top customer needs including:

  • Provide help with adoption and application of products.
  • Remove barriers to use, and maximize performance and reliability through proactive and preventative services.
  • Provide peace of mind with responsive issue resolution and repair.

Provide Flexibility

Offer services that evolve with customer’s changing needs with:

  • Optional add-ons to supplement core service capabilities.
  • Fixed-scope outcome services.
  • Access to full service portfolio including Support, Customer Success, Consulting and Training.
  • Provide flexible purchase options (e.g. pre-paid credits).

Describe the Value of Services

Develop a credible and quantifiable value proposition to help customers justify service spending.

  • Help customers understand the circumstances for when they need services.
  • Provide examples of how services can help them attain their goals.
  • Outline how services can mitigate operational risks.
  • Quantify the potential savings associated with services.

Enable Sales to Sell

Sales teams, both direct and partner-based, can be very effective when they understand what they are selling. Help Sales make the case for services by enabling them to sell with:

  • Help Sales to understand how customers benefit from services and accept the value of selling services.
  • Provide a service catalog of descriptions about available services.
  • Offer guidance and insights about what services to align to customer needs.
  • Clearly define the service value proposition for each service.
  • Provide in-person and self-paced service sales training for direct and partners service Sales teams.
  • Provide a modern Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) system optimized for service sales with guided selling and automated service quote configuration.

Assess:

Do you have effective service enablement practices, and can Sales overcome customer objections?  Review the following.

  • Do you offer services aligned to customers need?
  • Do services deliver value?
  • Do customers object to purchasing services?
  • Does Sales enthusiastically sell services?
  • Does Sales know how to configure and position services correctly?

If any of the answers to these questions are No, then it will be harder to sell and renew services. 

Plan:

  • Ask your customers what they think about your services.
  • Check with Sales about what they think and hear about your service offers.
  • Review service attach rates to see if they are at or above 95%.
  • Review service usage to see what, and how often customers use service entitlements.

Develop a plan to enhance your portfolio and enable your Sales team.

Need help? Let’s talk.

Success Marketing and Portfolio Management best practices will help you position and sell the value of your Service portfolio

Download Success Marketing and Portfolio Management and discover:

  • The essential sales and marketing practices to position and sell Support and Customer Success offers.
  • Strategies for effective Sales enablement.
  • How to develop a compelling service value proposition.
Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Retention Strategies to Keep the Customers You Have

Retention Strategies to Keep the Customers You Have

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Retention Strategies to Keep the Customers You Have

Retention begins on day 1 of the customer relationship.

 

Target Outcomes Core Service Capabilities Service Activities Focus
Retain Program, Process, Insights Onboarding, Adoption, Success Management, Renewal Customer Success, Support, Sales, Renewal

Practices:

From the day you sell a subscription or service contract you need to continually work on the retention of that customer relationship.

The worst thing you can do is wait until 90 days prior to the expiration to send a renewal notice.  Each of the reasons for nonrenewal can be mitigated — or at least minimized — through well-defined and executed renewal practices.

Here are essential retention strategies to keep the customers you have:

Minimizing Cancellations with Onboarding, Adoption, and Success Initiatives

The best strategies to minimize cancellations is to develop good onboarding, adoption, and success practices. These will help ensure that your customers can use and apply your products effectively. Consider the following actions:

Onboard

  • Develop customers’ product skills by offering easy-to-access and affordable (preferably free) training programs.
  • Help customers define and achieve success through success planning.
  • Define journey maps and provide coaching and guidance to help customers attain specific outcomes.

Adopt

  • Do not wait for customers to call with problems, engage customers proactively through automated and personal methods.
  • Offer or extend proof of concept, architecture, and design guidance.
  • Define and monitor customer adoption (extent and frequency of use) and success (impact of use) metrics.

Success

  • Assign success managers or teams to monitor and drive customer adoption and success rates.
  • Monitor product performance and service use.
  • Conduct periodic health checks and account reviews.
  • Offer a portfolio of value-added outcome services.

 

Identify At-Risk Service Customers

Chances are good that you have active customers that are considering cancelation. You still have time to protect these relationships. Work with your potentially at-risk customers to help them fully use and realize the value of their relationship. Consider the following actions:

  • Establish a customer health scoring system and monitor customer relationship health.
  • Interact with customers throughout the relationship — don’t just wait for them to call you. Interaction can occur through a support case, a proactive call to the customer, an informative e-mail newsletter, and publication of useful self-help resources (blog, wiki, knowledge base).
  • Report progress relative to success plans, support plans, and journey maps.
  • Make sure that customers are taking advantage of the services offered through the service relationship.
  • Meet service-level commitments and make sure that customers are aware of your performance.
  • Conduct periodic health checks and account reviews (quarterly business reviews or more frequent, e.g.) with both technical and business unit stakeholders.
  • Leverage each customer interaction as an opportunity to reinforce the value and necessity of the service relationship.
  • Establish a service usage “statement” that highlights the type and frequency of services used. Provide customers with evidence about the benefits they receive.

 

Optimize Renewal Practices

The actions you take to secure the service renewal are fundamental to success.  Great programs and great relationships can be undermined by simple breakdowns in renewal procedures.  The costliest process breakdowns include not asking for the renewal or asking the wrong person.  Consider the following:

  • Maintain a relationship with the person(s) responsible for renewing the service contract.
  • Target multiple points of contact for renewal notification.
  • If the primary person leaves find out who will assume responsibility for the relationship.
  • Set clear expectations with the customers about budgeting for contract renewals including any uplifts or add-on fees.
  • Notify customers at least two months prior to renewal expiration.
  • Analyze the reasons customers do not renew.

Retention is paramount — make it a strategic priority!

 

Need help? Let’s talk.

Success Marketing and Portfolio Management best practices will help you position and sell the value of your Service portfolio

Download Success Marketing and Portfolio Management and discover:

  • The essential sales and marketing practices to position and sell Support and Customer Success offers.
  • Strategies for effective Sales enablement.
  • How to develop a compelling service value proposition.
Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Ten Steps to Quantify the Business Impact of Support

Ten Steps to Quantify the Business Impact of Support

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Ten Steps to Quantify the Business Impact of Support

For Support to maximize its contributions to the business it must connect the impact of its efforts to strategic performance indicators such as time to value, customer adoption, revenue, growth, or retention.

Connect Support Actions to Business Outcomes

The return on investment companies make to provide technical support is difficult to quantify.  This is because the work product of a Support organization is difficult to connect to measurable business outcomes.  For example…

Responding to more customer issues does not necessarily translate to more revenue and satisfying customers with each service interaction does not guarantee that customers will continue to be loyal and renew subscriptions and service contracts. 

Metrics such as case volume, time to resolution and satisfaction are important indicators, but they are not enough to indicate the full contribution Support makes to the business.

 

Here are ten steps to take to connect support actions to business outcomes.

 

1

Define the strategic role of Support by defining measurable goals and objectives that directly relate to support delivery.

Define how Support removes obstacles that prevent customers from adopting and using products.

2

Establish the quantifiable connection between strategic Support goals and the benefits from achieving them.

Connect how obstacles removed and issues resolved increase adoption rates and accelerated time to value for customers.

3

Align strategic Support goals with tangible performance indicators and measurable business outcomes.

Focus on issue prevention, accelerated time to resolution, and assuring adoption rates. Describe how time to resolution and first contract resolution rates impact time to value, satisfaction and adoption rates.

4

Align management, team, and individual goals with strategic Support goals.

Recognize individual team efficiency, but reward contributions to strategic outcomes.

5

Define the target performance levels for each key performance indicator.

Identify if faster response time can impact satisfaction, adoption and time to value.

6

Define current performance levels for each key performance indicator.

Establish the level of Support performance required to maximize outcomes.

7

Identify inhibitors to the attainment of target goals and objectives for key performance indicators.

Identify the factors that prevent Support from reaching optimal performance levels.

8

Develop a plan for mitigating inhibitors to optimal Support performance.

Define how Support can overcome inhibitors to performance and make the case for more resources.

9

Provide continuous reports on Support’s performance to key stakeholders.

Create and report on ongoing Support performance and the impact Support has on other strategic outcomes.

10

Connect Support performance levels to the attainment of business outcomes.

Let management know how Support performance affects retention, expansion and overall growth.

It’s not easy but necessary to tell the story about how Support actions drive positive business results.

Fresh, authoritative, actionable insights for Support leaders

Exclusive Research Report:

Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics

Download the ServiceXRG Support Transformation 2021 research report

SURVEY SAYS: Top Service Challenges For 2022

SURVEY SAYS: Top Service Challenges For 2022

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SURVEY SAYS: Top Service Challenges For 2022

Each year we begin by asking you about your top service challenges. Here are the results for 2022.

Top Challenges for 2022

It’s no surprise that staffing is a top-of-mind issue for many service leaders.  Establishing the right metrics to measure service performance and impact is also a top-of-mind issue.  Rounding out the top three challenges is reducing customer churn

Overcome your challenges to be successful with services!

Let us help you get a handle on your priorities and most pressing challenges. We identify inhibitors and gaps to your success and introduce ways to overcome barriers.

We can help –  Let’s talk

 

You can also find many useful articles and reports about the challenges you face in our Blog – check it out.

Exclusive Research Report:

Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics

Download the ServiceXRG Support Transformation 2021 research report

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