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"

How Adoption and Success Services Drive Recurring Revenue

How Adoption and Success Services Drive Recurring Revenue

How Adoption and Success Services Drive Recurring Revenue

Services drive recurring revenue by helping customers to successfully adopt and apply products. When customers succeed with the products they purchase, it increases the likelihood of sustained recurring revenue and creates opportunities to expand the long-term value of relationships. 

The Pursuit of Recurring Revenue

Services drive recurring revenue by helping customers to successfully adopt and apply products. Many products have the features a customer needs, yet features are irrelevant if customers cannot use the product to achieve their desired business outcomes.  When customers succeed with the products they purchase, it increases the likelihood of sustained recurring revenue and creates opportunities to expand the long-term value of relationships. 

Landing the New Deal is Only the Beginning

Landing a new customer sale is the first step in creating a recurring revenue relationship.  While sales and marketing efforts help convince customers that your product has the right features at the right price point, it is not enough to assure the recurrence of future revenue. Customers don’t just buy your products because they like the features or the price.  Customers buy your products to optimize their business’ performance. 

The ability to establish and sustain recurring revenue from customer relationships demands that customers be successful with your products.  The greatest risk to recurring revenue is customer failure.  To mitigate failure companies must be prepared to supplement product capabilities with essential services to help customers effectively adopt and apply products successfully to achieve their business objectives.

Adoption and Success Are the Foundation for Long Term Relationships

For many technology companies, 70% or more of revenue comes from existing customers. When customers do not fully use what they have already purchased, they are less likely to purchase more or even renew current subscriptions. The key to sustained revenue growth is through the delivery of services that drive product adoption and assure that customers can use products quickly and effectively.

According to a study by ServiceXRG, the majority (93%) of customer that receive some form of onboarding and adoption services report that they feel confident that they have the skills to use a product effectively.

Customers that have access to success focused services are 2.8 times more likely to continue using the products they purchase or subscribe to, purchase more products and services, and renew existing relationships.  As the extent and effectiveness of success-focused service rise, the positive impact on retaining and expanding recurring revenue increases.

Ready to up your game! Check out Five Customer Engagement Best Practices to Develop, Retain, and Grow Relationships

Adoption Services

Adoption focused services are designed to help customers use the products they have purchased.  Adoption services may start with a formal hand-off from Sales to Services to assure the expectations set during the Sales process are carried forward to the implementation of the product.  Adoption services may include installation, configuration, and training.  These services provide a solid foundation so that customers have the skills they need to use a product effectively.

Most Effective Adoption Services

Source: ServiceXRG

Success Services

Where Adoption services help customers to get up and running with their products, Success services focus on helping customers to apply products to drive tangible business outcomes.  Success services often include success planning and guidance, account management, business reviews, health checks, best practices guidance, and expert resources.  Success services assure that customers can apply products to solve their business problems.

Most Effective Success Services

Most Effective Success Services

Source: ServiceXRG

Customer Success Drives Recurring Revenue

Services are the key to maximizing recurring revenue when companies have the capability to define, sell, and deliver the services customers need.  When companies lack these capabilities, product adoption and achievement of successful outcomes by customers is inhibited. When adoption and success is impeded, the potential for customer churn increases, placing recurring revenue at risk.  

Service capabilities aligned to the needs of customers are fundamental to ensuring customer success. A well-defined portfolio of services; effective service sales and marketing; and highly effective and scalable service delivery capabilities are fundamental to reducing churn and expanding recurring revenue. 

Learn proven practices for growing recurring revenue with Services.

Download Using Services to Retain & Grow Recurring Revenue and discover:

  • The 3 service-driven keys to revenue retention and expansion.
  • The 4 service-related imperatives for revenue retention and expansion.
  • A framework for planning and executing for sustainably increased recurring revenue.
Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Customer Success Management

Customer Success Management

Customer Success Management

Customer Success Management encompasses the practices, programs, resources, tools, and metrics required to help customers successfully use products to achieve their desired business outcomes.

Understand The Outcomes Your Customers Need

Success Management begins by establishing an understanding about how your customers define success and understanding the role your products will play.  By understanding what your customers expect it is possible to align resources to help them achieve their desired outcomes.

Products + Services = Success

It is possible that customer expectations will only “scratch” the surface of what your product can do, or what they should do with it.  Sometimes asking customers what they want to accomplish should be supplemented by showing them what is possible.

Make a Plan

Help customers define and achieve desired outcomes by developing a success plan.  It is not necessarily your role to execute the plan and deliver the expected outcomes.  It is however your role to assure that you enable customers to be successful.  Customer enablement may include training and skills development, sharing of best practices and hands on coaching and expertise.

The Foundation of an Ongoing Relationship

Customer Success Management is not simply about the plan and initial delivery of best practices and service.  Success Management is the foundation of an ongoing relationship where your products and services evolve to deliver ongoing benefits to your customers.

Playbook and Assessment

ServiceXRG offers a playbook and assessment tool to help you identify the maturity of your Customer Success Management capabilities.  These resources will help you to establish where your success management practices are strongest, and where you have opportunity for improvement.  The Customer Success Management Assessment tool is available (no charge) at www.servicexrg.com/assessments.

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"

Protecting Customer Data During the Support Process

Protecting Customer Data During the Support Process

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Protecting Customer Data During the Support Process

With new data protection requirements and security threats it’s important that Support organizations understand their role in protecting their organizations from these risks.  As Support is an external interface to customers and partners, it’s important to understand how to minimize risk associated with troubleshooting products in customers’ environments.

By Paul Esch: Strategy and Business Development, TSANet

Protecting Customer Data During the Support Process

Over the past several years the importance of securing customer data has become a top priority for companies.  With laws such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the government can impose fines on organizations that misuse or expose customer data.  Attacks such as ransomware also have also highlighted the risk of doing business in todays connected business environment.

With new data protection requirements and security threats it’s important that Support organizations understand their role in protecting their organizations from these risks.  As Support is an external interface to customers and partners, it’s important to understand how to minimize risk associated with troubleshooting products in customers’ environments.

Partnering with your IT group

Protecting customer data is a corporate level responsibility that often managed by the organizations IT group.    While the IT group may have overall responsibility for securing the data, it is the support organization that is using and updating this information and often the source of breaches.

Partnering with the IT organization to define best practices and obtain certifications such as ISO 27001 is a great way to ensure the security of customer data.  ISO/IEC 27001 is widely known, providing requirements for an information security management system (ISMS).   Using this standard enables organizations of any kind to manage the security of assets such as customer data, financial information, intellectual property, employee details or information entrusted by third parties.

Working with Partners – Multi Vendor Support

While obtaining ISO27001 is a great way to ensure the protection of customer data within your organization, working with Partners adds a challenge if the collaboration requires the exchange of customer information.   Vendors working with Partners on common customer issues should follow the best practices below:

  1. Ensure that the collaboration is supported by a legal agreement
  2. Ensure that the customer is aware of the collaboration and has authorized it
  3. Only share what is needed to solve the technical issue

For more information about Multi Vendor Support read:

Optimizing Multi-Vendor Support Collaboration | ServiceXRG Blog

TSANet – Operational Framework to Protect Customer Data

TSANet provides the operational framework and best practices for Members to collaborate on customer issues by providing the following:

  1. A legal framework that supports collaboration on customer issues
  2. The ISO 27001 certified TSANet Connect platform for requesting collaboration between members
  3. A set of best practices integrated into the multi-vendor support processes

About TSANet

TSANet is a member run community with over 800 companies committed to streamlining multi-vendor support collaboration. TSANet is a not-for-profit industry organization founded in 1993 to provide a common legal framework and technology platform to facilitate vendor collaboration.

If you do not have a multi-vendor strategy or are looking to streamline the way you cooperate with other companies, visit TSANet for more information (www.tsanet.org).

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

Six Critical Service Practices for Business Success

Six Critical Service Practices for Business Success

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Six Critical Service Practices for Business Success

Corporate financial performance depends on Services to nurture, retain, and grow customer relationship value. Companies are taking steps to modernize services and shift them to proactive, success-focused growth engines

Being successful with Services is a company-wide strategic imperative.

Corporate financial performance depends on Services to nurture, retain, and grow customer relationship value. Companies are taking steps to modernize services and shift them to proactive, success-focused growth engines

It makes good business sense – consider the following:

  • For many technology companies over 60% of revenue comes from existing customers.
  • More than half of new revenue is (or soon will be) recurring from subscriptions.

Six Critical Service Success Practices

1. Have a Plan

Establish a service plan to enable and lead a customer-centric corporate strategy. Learn more.

2. Offer Value

Create high-value services that will drive customer outcomes. Learn more.

3. Create the Right Team

Build a Services team with the right people, in the right roles, doing the right things. Learn More.

4. Deliver Efficiently

Implement self-help and automation so you can focus on the most strategic customer issues. Learn More.

5. Measure the Right Things

Modernize Service metrics to clearly correlate service performance to tangible outcomes. Learn more.

6. Improve Performance

Harness customer insights to improve performance across the entire company.

The future for Services is bright and will continue to take center stage as companies recognize and respond to the necessity to create customer-first strategies built around effective engagement and retention activities.

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

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