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

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

Is it worth competing for Service Industry Awards?

Is it worth competing for Service Industry Awards?

Is it worth competing for Service Industry Awards?

Service industry awards hold the promise of providing tangible business benefit including recognition, awareness and a healthy self-assessment from the application process. But, are service industry awards worth the effort?

The Pros

Service industry awards hold the promise of providing tangible business benefit including recognition, awareness and a healthy self-assessment from the application process.  Consider the following pros.

  • Award Winning – Being able to claim award winning service can enhance your marketing message, especially if your top competitors cannot make the same claim.
  • Clarify External Messaging – The process of completing an application often requires a review of current capabilities, accomplishments, innovations and strengths. Once the application is complete you have developed and revised the key points you need to communicate externally.
  • Self-Assessment –The application process often provides a healthy self-assessment of current performance and practices. An honest self-assessment will reveal both strengths and weaknesses.

The Cons

As with most things there is a downside to participating in industry awards.  The risk of losing the time invested to participate, and the potential for a disappointing return from the effort.  Consider the Cons when considering participation in awards programs.

  • Diluted Claims – The phrase “Award-wining” has become diluted by the claim of so many companies that they have won awards. Not all awards are created equal, nor are they all earned under the same conditions and timeframe. The often-used phrase “award winning” can appear with little explanation or substantiation.
  • Customer Impact – If you win an award will your customers and prospects even notice. The effectiveness of an award is directly related to the brand equity of the award or body presenting the award. Before participating in an awards program ask your customers and your sales team if it matters.
  • Winner or Loser – If you don’t win are you a loser? Some recognition programs publish both winners and the losers. If you do not have a high degree of confidence of winning are you willing to be classified as a runner up to your top competitor, or even worse labeled as a loser?
  • Time and Effort – Any award worth winning is going to require time and effort to develop a complete and compelling application. Be prepared to do it right.
  • Repeat Performance – Once you win, you are under pressure to continue to win.

Recommendations

Awards programs can offer sales and marketing benefit as well as an opportunity for self-assessment.  Consider the pros and cons outlined above to determine if it is worth your time and effort to participate.  When it comes to awards more is not necessarily better.  It is best to choose the awards that will provide the most benefit.  Consider the following recommendations:

  • Choose Wisely – Identify awards programs that are likely to carry weight with your customers.
  • Do Your Homework – Understand the judging criteria and the way that results will be published – win or lose.
  • Be Ready to Win – Be reasonably sure you have a chance to win. Do not enter an awards program just to see what will happen. Understand who the other likely participants will be and determine if you are ready to beat them.
  • Do it Right – Be prepared to invest the time and effort to submit a high-quality application.

Ready to Compete?

Are you thinking about competing for a service industry award?  Are you looking for the right program or category?

Give me a call, I can help.  I have written many winning award applications and judged numerous awards programs.

Tom Sweeny

CEO | ServiceXRG

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"

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

For more information read:

How to Prioritize Service Initiatives

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!

Visualize, strategize, and optimize for service success and recurring revenue.

Download Transformation of the Service Organization, and discover:

  • An analysis of what’s working — and what isn’t — in current service organization structures.
  • The characteristics of mature, efficient, and effective service organizations.
  • The catalysts for organizational change — and how to overcome the inhibitors that get in the way.

The Right Metrics for Support and Success

The Right Metrics for Support and Success

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The Right Metrics for Support and Success

High customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores as the desired outcome of Support and Customer Success interactions, while positive, is not enough because it does not connect service delivery excellence with tangible business outcomes.

​The Right Metrics for Support and Success

Support and Success must focus on the attainment of tangible business outcomes. For the customer, this implies that Support or Success interactions must help the customer apply a product successfully. For a customer’s perspective success implies that they can use and apply a product to achieve their business outcomes.  For the technology vendors, providing these services must contribute to retaining relationships with hopes of expanding their value. This is why organizations must look beyond NPS (Net Promoter Score) or basic transitional metrics when measuring the impact of Support and Success on lifetime customer value.

The measure of Support and Success must be tangible and focused on “end game” results such as:

  • Can the customer use the product?
  • Can customers achieve tangible business outcomes by using the product?
  • Did Support or Success services help the customer attain their goals?
  • How will the customers’ ability to achieve their desired outcomes influence their ongoing relationship?

8 Metrics for Support and Success

What is the primary reason for offering Support and Success services?  In most cases these organizations are aligned to help customers adopt and apply products successfully. The rationale is if customer can use and apply products successfully, you will increase the likelihood that you can retain and expand these relationships.  A single, simple measure such as NPS cannot provide sufficient insight to indicate that Support and Success efforts are resulting in tangible business benefit.

Consider the following eight metrics for determining the impact of your post sales services.

Metric

Description

1. Onboard

The percent on that new customers have received formal onboarding guidance.

2. Adoption

The rate that customers have met adoption milestones.

3. Success

The percent of customer that have reached established performance goals or milestones on defined journey map.

4. Availability

The rate that customers business operations have not be interrupted due to downtime or outages.

5. Engagement Quality

The percent of all customer engagements that result in positive outcomes.

6. Retention

The percent of active customers that have committed to renew an existing relationship.

7. Health

The relative health of a customer relationship based on the composite rates of adoption, success, retention, and recurring revenue rates.

8. Net Recurring Revenue

The net growth or contraction of the total recurring revenue relationship value. Learn the formula for calculating Recurring Revenue Rate.

 

How effectively are you managing and maximizing these Support and Success metrics?

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 time to talk.

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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