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"

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"

Take These Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

Take These Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

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Take These Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

The future success of your Customer Support organization relies on your ability to scale Support delivery. By taking these five actions, you can effectively scale Support delivery to not only meet the expected demand growth, but also fulfill an expanded, Success-focused mission.

When you can scale Support delivery, your team can add more value.

I have blogged previously about my POV regarding Support demand in 2021 and beyond (spoiler alert: Support demand will increase). While increased demand presents an opportunity for Support to take on more high-value customer engagement activities, it first requires increases investment in diversified, targeted actions that will enable Support delivery at scale. Focus on these four action areas that have been proven to drive results.

  1. Prevention – Support must take the lead in identifying the root causes of support demand and aggressively advocate for mitigation of these circumstances. Support must work with Engineering groups to improve product performance and usability issues and work across the company to promote effective customer onboarding and skills development activities. Read more about 7 Strategies to Prevent Support Cases.
  2. Self-Help – Support teams represent a repository of product expertise and must work to make their knowledge available to customers. Many new support cases can be avoided if customers are able to access the knowledge and expertise of Support. Transferring knowledge to customers to help them become more self-sufficient should be high on the list of strategic imperatives for all Support organizations. Read more about 9 Best Practices to Help Customers Help Themselves and Maximizing the Return on Your Support Knowledgebase.
  3. Proficiency – Companies need to look beyond just helping customers help themselves and consider how they can build customers expertise so they can use and apply products more competently. Proficiency will require companies to move beyond a reliance on self-help-focused strategies and invest in building the foundational technical and business skills customers need to apply products successfully. Read more about 10 Strategies to Build Customer Proficiency to speed product adoption and descrease demand on Support.
  4. Automation – Support has always been a labor-intensive function that relies on the skills of product experts. Support cannot scale based solely on human power. Read more about 5 Ways to Automate Service Delivery.

 

 

Want to better understand Support demand trends? Download our research.

Are you ready for the challenges your Support organization will face in the year ahead?  Are you ready to capitalize on new opportunities?  How will you scale and transform Support?

For insights about how Support is changing and the opportunities and imperatives for 2021, download ServiceXRG’s latest study: Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics. It examines current trends in Support delivery and offers tangible guidance for Support, Success and Service professionals to meet growing expectations of both customers and company executives. Download your copy now.

Make your plan to meet the Support demand in your organization—we can help.

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies maximize customer value through better Support performance. Contact us anytime to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time.

 

Support demand is on the rise. What’s your response plan?

Download the ServiceXRG Whitepaper:

Four Imperatives for Scaling Support

Download Four Imperatives for Scaling Support and discover:

  • The most effective approaches to scaling support — proven in high-volume support organizations.
  • The 4 top strategies to scale support and reduce demand.
  • The best practices that make these strategies effective.
  • The metrics that enable precise tracking of your efforts to scale support.
Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

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