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

How To Successfully Change Your Service Organization and Culture

How To Successfully Change Your Service Organization and Culture

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How To Successfully Change Your Service Organization and Culture

Change is inevitable in Services but often difficult, especially when it challenges current operational and organizational norms. When you can recognize the conditions that require change and can address the potential inhibitors you can prepare for a smooth transition to a new operating and organizational model.

Is it Time For a Change?

Is your Service team ready to meet the challenges of 2022 and beyond? Can you respond to current demands, support new products on the road map, and are your prepared to fully embrace an as-a-Service model?

Change is inevitable in Services but often difficult.

Change is especially difficult when it challenges current operational and organizational norms. When you can recognize the conditions that require change you can prepare for a smooth transition to a new operating and organizational model.

Consider the following indicators that signify change is necessary:

  • Customer Demand – Customers express explicit need for better coordination between service entities and enhanced responsiveness to product needs.
  • New Leadership / Vision – Service or corporate executives edict.
  • New Revenue – Pursuit of new revenue opportunities from new service sales (Up-sell/Cross-sell).
  • Customer Retention – Effort to stem customer deflection due to product and or service deficiencies.
  • Competition – Competitors (partners and/or product competitors) offer differentiation with coordinated service offers.
  • Product Transformation – Changes to product demand new types of customer engagement and/or programs.

Overcome Inhibitors to Change

There are always reasons not to change, but in most cases change is necessary.

Consider the following inhibitors to change and develop a response to address each:

Incentives

The specific goals of teams and individuals do not foster cooperation. Individual and team goals and incentives may need to change to drive new behaviors.

Executive / Corporate Philosophy

Attitudes such as “Technology first”, “we never did it that way before…”, “let the channel do it…” inhibit organic Service transformation. Change the culture with fact-based evidence to justify the reasons for transformation.

Lack of Vision

Lack of visibility into opportunities or risks of not making changes diminishes executive support. Make the case for why change is necessary. Quantify the net benefits to change.

Parochial

Views that protecting organizational “turf” is more important than corporate growth. Convert detractors of change into champions by convincing individuals that the change will result in a net personal benefit.

Rapid Growth

No perceived need to change during growth. It is hard to make the case for change when all performance indicators are positive. While change during high growth periods may not be necessary or possible, be prepared for when growth slows.

Too Busy

When there is a justifiable reason to change, then everyone can make the time to do what is right. Make the case that the benefits of change are worth everyone’s time.

Risk Averse

Change for the sake of change is never a good idea. All changes should be well thought-out and understood. A good plan should outline the risks in addition to the rewards.

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

Service Planning Drives Results

Service Planning Drives Results

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Service Planning Drives Results

Effective Service planning must clearly define the role of Services within your company, prioritize service initiatives necessary to attain prioritized results, and establish metrics to track service performance and outcomes.

Service Planning Drives Results

To be successful with Services, you must establish a Service plan. To be effective, the Service plan must be aligned to corporate objectives, clearly define how Services will contribute, prioritize key initiatives, and have established metrics to track service performance and outcomes. Service team results are driven with a Service plan that incorporates the following actions.

Align service objectives to strategic business goals, objectives, and outcomes

Service teams should be focused on activities that contribute to attaining strategic business goals and objectives.

To align Service initiatives to corporate outcomes:

  1. Understand corporate goals and objectives.
  2. Establish which goals Services can contribute to.
  3. Define the extent to which Services can contribute.

Identify and focus on priority initiatives

Resist the temptation to spend time on less important things – you can’t accomplish everything.  Practical resource limits demand that you focus on what is most important.

To prioritize Service initiates:

  1. Determine which Service initiatives are critical to Service delivery.
  2. Identify Service initiatives that will yield the greatest benefits.
  3. Focus on initiatives that are attainable given available resources, budget, and time.

Align individual and team goals with priority Service initiatives

Every individual and team must contribute to the attainment of Service outcomes.

To connect individual performance to strategic service objectives:

  1. Align Services organizational goals to corporate goals.
  2. Align each Service teams’ goals to Services organizational goals.
  3. Align individual goals to team goals.
  4. Create performance management guidelines to evaluate performance at every level.

Define metrics for tracking Service performance

Modernize Service metrics to clearly correlate Service performance to tangible outcomes. To accomplish this:

  1. Establish key indicators for expected Service outcomes.
  2. Monitor Service performance for each indicator.
  3. Correlate Service performance to tangible outcomes.

Daunting but necessary

The Service planning process can be daunting – especially when there is so much to do, but not enough resources. As difficult as it may be to develop a Service plan, it is fundamental to attaining successful Service outcomes.

A plan is only as good as your ability to execute

Successful Service plans need to focus on attaining expected results, with the flexibility to adjust as circumstances change. Plans fail when they are underfunded, understaffed, or beholden to established practices and outdated measures of performance just because “it has always been done that way.”

We’re ServiceXRG – Service Success is our passion.

 Since 2004, ServiceXRG has helped leading technology companies transform and optimize their Service organizations to achieve Service Success.

 Let us know how we can help you develop your Service Success plan – Contact UsWe’re here to help!

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

From Tasks To Outcomes – Transforming The Service Organization

From Tasks To Outcomes – Transforming The Service Organization

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From Tasks To Outcomes – Transforming The Service Organization

The current organizational structure of your Services team and alignment with other customer-facing teams may be inhibiting your ability to deliver outcomes. Organizational alignment, increased cooperation, and shared goals are key to customer retention and revenue expansion initiatives.

The State of Service Organizations

Service organizations are optimized to achieve task-based service objectives such as case closure efficiency, onboarding and adoption milestones, case deflection, and attainment of target Net Promoter Scores. While these are all important objectives, they are inadequate goals if not directly aligned with achieving strategic outcomes such as retaining customer relationships, growing account value, and contributing to ARR.

Companies focused on transactional tasks are not able to maximize retention and expansion of customer relationship value. Sub-optimized organizations may:

  • Achieve transactional success but miss opportunities to identify customers at risk.
  • Create delivery efficiencies though self-help and service automation but fail to deliver services necessary to help customers adopt and use products effectively.
  • Establish new relationships but fail to retain them for more than a year.
  • Provide a timely accurate response to support issues but miss an opportunity to upsell additional services.

Are you Organized for Success?

Consider the following characteristics – and if any of these attributes describe your Services Team or your company – it’s time for a change.

The following characteristics are inhibitors to Service success:

Narrowly Defined Customer Experience Strategy

The lack of a well-defined and coordinated Customer Experience (CX) strategy perpetuates inefficient and siloed organizational structures. When specific teams and individuals are not held accountable for contributing to overall CX strategic objectives, revenue and retention opportunities will be missed.

Siloed Organizational Structures

Service remains predominantly siloed with separate departments for Support, Education, and Professionals Services and are often separate from Product Management, Sales, and Renewal teams.  Siloed organizational structures inhibit the ability to provide coordinated and efficient resource allocation to deliver the services necessary to sustain healthy customer relationships.

Lack of Common Goals

It is unrealistic to expect that cross-organizational teams will regularly coordinate activities if there are no incentives to promote this behavior. The lack of shared goals that transcend organizational boundaries assure that teams will focus their efforts only on the tasks and activities they are goaled on.

Limited Coordination

Siloed organizations do not actively coordinate activities throughout the customer relationship lifecycle. The lack of coordinated action is often the result of narrowly focused practices to achieve specific tasks and silo-specific goals with little or no incentives to promote cross-functional cooperation.

Sub-Optimized Resource Utilization

Use of overlapping and complementary resources from post-sales teams are not coordinated or pooled to drive customer success or achieve service delivery cost-efficiencies.

The Journey to Organizational Transformation

As companies refine their customer experience (CX) strategies and recognize that retention and relationship growth are paramount objectives, organizational transformation is inevitable. Here are three critical steps to successful organizational change:

 

  1. Define a Service plan to describe what you are trying to accomplish with Services and how you plan to get there.
  2. Build the right Services team with the right people, in the right roles, doing the right things.
  3. Change can be a daunting task, but often it is the only way to drive towards Service success – It’s imperative that you understand inhibitors to change and overcome obstacles.

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

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

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Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

Inactive customers may be less costly to serve, but they’re more likely to churn. Keeping in touch with customers is essential to developing, retaining, and growing customer relationships—and these eight best practices can help.

Healthy customer relationships require an ongoing dialogue. This dialogue consists of a mix of:

  • Regular interactions through digital media
  • Self-help materials
  • User communities
  • Direct interaction with your Support and Customer Success team members

To accelerate time-to-value, nurture long-term relationships, and drive recurring revenue, leverage these eight strategies for keeping in touch with customers:

  1.  Develop a communications plan based on onboarding programs, success plans or journey maps to determine type and frequency of contact.
  2. Proactively communicate with customers on a regular basis through newsletters, social media, blog posts and contact by Customer Success team members.
  3. Introduce best practices and new ways for customers to use and apply your products through workshops and webinars.
  4. Extend relationships beyond technical points of contact to end-users and executive stakeholders.
  5. Prioritize proactive contact based on customer relationship value.
  6. Look for opportunities to expand quantity and quality of interactions through digital outreach.
  7. Conduct periodic Executive or Quarterly Business Reviews (EBR / QBR) with customers.
  8. Proactively contact inactive customers to determine the reason for inactivity and what actions, if any, can be taken to preserve the relationship.

How much customer interaction is enough? How can you better keep in touch with your customers?

I’m here to help you get the answers you need.

Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about the best ways to engage and retain your customers. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time to talk.

 

Ready to commit to a Customer Success strategy? Learn the 5 critical milestones.

Exclusive ServiceXRG White Paper:

Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success

Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

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From Tasks To Outcomes – Transforming The Service Organization

The current organizational structure of your Services team and alignment with other customer-facing teams may be inhibiting your ability to deliver outcomes. Organizational alignment, increased cooperation, and shared goals are key to customer retention and revenue expansion initiatives.

read more

Recurring Revenue Rate

The amount of recurring revenue a company receives may increase, stay the same, or decline for a given period. Recurring Revenue Rate indicates the percent change in the amount of recurring revenue at the end of a specified period compared to the recurring revenue at the beginning of the same period. Measuring recurring revenue rate is essential to help identify the factors that lead to revenue retention and attrition and provides an indicator of the overall state of customer relationship health.

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Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

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Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

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Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

Customer Success doesn’t just happen. It requires intentional, meaningful engagements across the product lifespan. Take these 6 steps toward more effective Customer Success Planning.

Sounds obvious, but it isn’t always: Customer Success Planning starts with how your customers (not your company) define success with your products and services. When you clearly understand what your customers’ expectations are, your organization can then align resources to help them achieve their desired outcomes.

It is possible that a customer’s expectations will only “scratch the surface” of what your product can do, or what they can do with it. This is the most fertile ground for nurturing Customer Success and growth — because when you can augment their desired outcomes with an enticing and useful positioning of what’s possible, you’re exceeding expectations.

The Success planning and management process is ongoing — from the initial Sales engagement, through product adoption and use, to value realization. Knowing this, you can help your customers define and achieve their desired outcomes by developing success plans.

To accelerate time-to-value, sustain long-term relationships, and drive recurring revenue, leverage these six steps to effective Customer Success planning:

  1. Engage customers to understand their needs and expectations of your products. Use automated (e-mail, web-based surveys, etc.) or direct engagement (phone, video conference, on-site) methods.
  2. Identify customer-focused success criteria and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  3. Work with customers to develop a success plan.  Use the plan as a basis for aligning resources and setting expectations for service types and levels.
  4. Define journey maps to attain specific outcomes.  Introduce the practices and methods necessary to achieve defined goals. Journey maps may address the needs of many customers or be tailored to the needs of a specific customer.
  5. Establish success metrics to indicate progress against a success plan or journey map.  These may be standalone indicators of success or part of an overall customer health metric.
  6. Keep success plans up-to-date and relevant through periodic business reviews to assess progress against the current plan.  Regular interactions may be conducted informally or through Executive or Quarterly Business Reviews. (EBR / QBR).

 

How effectively do you help your customers plan for success?

I’m here to help you get the answers you need.

Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about the best ways to engage and retain your customers. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time to talk.

 

Ready to commit to a Customer Success strategy? Learn the 5 critical milestones.

Exclusive ServiceXRG White Paper:

Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success

Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Related Articles

Eight Strategies for Keeping in Touch with Customers

Healthy customer relationships require an ongoing dialogue through digital media, self-help, communities and direct interaction with Support and Customer Success team members. This article introduces eight customer interaction best practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

Six Steps to Effective Customer Success Planning

Planning for customer success starts with establishing how your customers define success with your products. By understanding what your customers expect it is possible to align resources to help customers achieve their desired outcomes. Six steps to effective Customer Success planning practices to engage and retain your customers.

read more

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