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"

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

How To Successfully Change Your Service Organization and Culture

How To Successfully Change Your Service Organization and Culture

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.

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.

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.
Exclusive ServiceXRG research report: "Support Transformation"

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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.

Seven Engagement Practices for a Successful Sales-to-Service Handoff

Seven Engagement Practices for a Successful Sales-to-Service Handoff

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Seven Engagement Practices for a Successful Sales-to-Service Handoff

Whether Sales in your organization is the responsibility of partners or a direct sales team, those responsible for selling and closing new business create the first impression of your product or service. A successful sales-to-service handoff is essential to maintaining that positive impression and promoting long-term customer success. To accelerate time-to-value, sustain customer relationships, and lay the groundwork for recurring revenue, leverage these seven proven practices for sales-to-service handoffs.

Effective customer engagement begins with the Sales process. This is when your organization identifies each customer’s desired outcomes and aligns its product and available services to them. In a successful sales-to-service handoff, Sales and Service need to collaborate so they can ensure that customers can successfully onboard, adopt, and realize the value of their purchase.

 During the pre-sale process Sales should invite Service to collaborate to help identify needs and formulate the right solution for the customer. However, Sales does not typically invite Services into the Sales process and in this case, Services needs to advocate for being part of the pre-sales process. Through this collaboration there is higher probability that customers will get what they need to be successful.

 The collaboration and information transfer should be complete and seamless—during the pre-sale process the Service team should know everything about the customer that the Sales Team knows.  And customer should not be expected to provide Service with information they’ve already given to Sales.

 

These 7 practices are proven to ensure successful Sales-to-Service handoffs:

  1. Establish clear expectations for the roles of new-sales and post-sales teams. Ensure that motivations and incentives are equally focused on closing new business and retaining existing customers.
  2. Provide information to Sales teams about service programs available to help customers adopt and use products.
  3. Help Sales teams understand pricing and discounting policies, prerequisites, and any other considerations for frictionless service sales.
  4. Create Customer Success-focused engagement teams and resources to help customers understand not only the product features but how they can apply products to achieve their business objectives.
  5. Involve the Service team during the Sales process to help understand and validate that customer expected outcomes can be delivered post-sales.
  6. Formally transition newly acquired customers from Sales to designated Support or Customer Success resources.
  7. Begin a formal onboarding process based on expectations set in during the Sales process.

How effective is your Sales-to-Service handoff process?

We can help you make it better.

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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Service Outsourcing Should Be at the Top of Your To-Do List

Service Outsourcing Should Be at the Top of Your To-Do List

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Service Outsourcing Should Be at the Top of Your To-Do List

Today’s customer service leaders are under enormous pressure to deliver high quality service to more customers across a growing number of channels with budgets that are not matching the pace of interaction growth. Facing these constraints, some may find themselves purposely hindering the customer experience (turning off channels, reducing hours of service, or increasing acceptable response time windows) instead of considering an entirely different approach to their costs. Read about why you should really be considering outsourcing right now.

By Amanda Quinn, SVP Finance & Marketing, ArenaCX

Picture this: The new smart watch you ordered online has finally arrived. You successfully turn it on and get it syncing with your phone. For the first week or two everything is going great – you’re loving the health insights, being able to respond to messages on the go, and finding out the weather with a flick of your wrist. 

But then, all of the sudden, your watch stops receiving text messages. You go to the manufacturer’s website and call their support line. The estimated hold is currently 95 minutes. “That’s crazy,” you think.

So you go try to self-serve by visiting the company’s help center to look for articles that might explain what’s going on. You follow the directions to troubleshoot (turn the watch off and back on, turn your phone off and on, unpair your watch from the phone) with no luck. You even call your nephew to see if he knows any tricks you don’t.

Now what? Do you call the manufacturer back and just resign yourself to the long wait? Do you email the general support address and hope you get a timely response?

Let’s paint a new picture of service.

Imagine the original scenario, but this time when you go to the manufacturer’s website you see the option to start a chat and the estimated wait time is less than 2 minutes. The agent asks you a few basic security questions, listens to the issue you’re experiencing and offers you a few easy-to-follow troubleshooting tips. Before you know it, your smart watch is back up and running and you can get back to your life.

Now, what if I told you the person you were just chatting with is actually an outsourced customer service representative based in Honduras. Would you be surprised that you could get “good” support from an overseas agent? Most people would be.

Unfortunately, customer service outsourcing has a lingering bad reputation from a time when offshore centers were notorious for treating their customer service agents with little respect. When you hear “offshore call center,” sadly, you probably still picture poorly vetted sweatshop environments with underpaid, mistreated, and miserable workers. While I’d be remiss to say that those types of outsourcing centers have become completely extinct, I can gladly say that that awful scenario is becoming less and less frequent as the number of well-managed contact centers consistently rises. 

Think about outsourced service in a new light.

Over the past few years, the outsourcing industry has made considerable improvements so it’s time to start thinking about outsourcing in a new light. Now there is a plethora of well-managed contact centers with excellent performance records, high ethical standards, sophisticated technology, and a deep appreciation for the modern customer experience.

Today’s modern contact centers are well-prepared to handle the day-to-day operations of assisting the customer at multiple touches and through multiple channels. They also strive to meet the financial, culture, social responsibility, data security, and regulatory compliance requirements of the companies they are representing.

This can be accomplished by a demonstrable shift in the way CSRs are managed: They can now expect fair wages, respect from their employer, and opportunities for career growth and success. As a result, these happier CSRs have a more positive outlook on their work, which reflects in how they treat the customers they’re serving.

This has been widely recognized in the industry, and more and more outsourcing centers are doing what it takes to do right by their employees and by their client’s customers. After all, Happy Customer Service Representatives = Happy Customers = Higher Customer Satisfaction Scores

Ranging from small boutiques to publicly traded companies, contact centers are now present in every geography, helping fill language and time zone gaps for internal teams. Brands can partner with firms that are local (US-based), nearshore (Latin America and the Caribbean), offshore, or even an open-talent firm. 

Better yet, a combination of partnerships is often the best bet, allowing brands to tap into a disparate set of skills and strengths for different aspects of their business. This enables the brand to save money on support costs while maintaining the level of support their customers expect and deserve.

In short, service outsourcing no longer requires a tradeoff of quality for cost.

For those still hesitant to trust these improvements, take comfort knowing that industry watchdogs, news outlets, and social media platforms won’t hesitate to spread the word about bad actors in the outsourcing space. A bit of vetting and getting customer testimonials will help you find the partners who fit with your business.

It’s important to outsource with integrity. 

This obviously includes choosing a reputable partner who treats their employees responsibly and respectfully, but it also means that once you’ve chosen your partner(s), it’s imperative that you treat them as such: trusted partners. You and your outsourcing partners must understand that you are mutually responsible for business outcomes and must manage the relationship collaboratively. Your partners can become huge assets in your quest to deliver high quality support with a constrained budget. 

We view the traditional headcount-based model of engaging with a contact center as an impediment to creating the true spirit of partnership most brands desire. Instead of contracting on a per-agent basis, we recommend engaging your partners on a per-interaction model where they earn more of your business the better they do. We believe aligning incentives for your company and your partners is key to long-term successful partnership.

In short, if you feel your customer service operations are not 100% able to meet your customer needs (channel, hours, languages, etc.) within your budget, you should really consider outsourcing. 

About ArenaCX

ArenaCX is the world’s first marketplace where contact centers compete to better serve your customers. We make it easy to find and trial new contact center partners. If you’re interested in learning more about outsourcing or how ArenaCX can help match you with vetted, ready-to-onboard partners visit ArenaCX.

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