How to design a winning, future-state service operating model

by Chris Horn

by Giovanni Saraceno

Facing wholesale changes in customer behaviour as well as top and bottom line pressure, organisations have been tasked with the reinvention of their marketing and sales operating models to deliver a more customer-centric and cost-efficient buyer interaction. However, with today’s customer having unprecedented buying power, there is further pressure on firms to also tailor their service offering to be better, smarter, and faster. Many businesses are struggling to uplift their service operating model without a clear idea of what the ideal future state looks like. In this post we will be examining the key shifts that companies have undertaken to differentiate their service experience and deliver value.
 

As firms continue to grow in organisational complexity, service operating model redesign is one of the most critical investments executives can undertake to ensure they maintain relevance in delivering value to customers. A large focus has been placed on leveraging new and exciting digital assets such as apps, or a fresh web experience to engage with customers. Whilst this is important, equally important is the underlying people side of the operating model which underpins the execution of high-quality, consistent experiences across both digital and physical channels.

At Blackdot, we’ve identified seven common shifts that best practice businesses commonly pursue to uplift their service operating model and deliver improved customer outcomes.

BEST PRACTICE TIPS:

Service role and goal clarity

Role and goal clarity can make or break a winning service operating model. Ambiguity around responsibilities and objectives can result in poor customer outcomes through task duplication, inefficient service processes or complete oversight of service duties. To prevent this, firms must ensure that staff at every level understand the role they play in shaping the customer journey by explicitly defining KPIs and accountabilities.

Omni-channel service capability

With companies placing a greater focus on ‘being digital’ than ever before, many fall into the trap of neglecting to properly develop the capabilities of their servicepeople to execute within this more varied channel ecosystem. Online, self-service channels offer new levels of accessibility and convenience; however the importance of face-to-face channels typically remains. As channels continue to evolve it is vital that service people are given the capabilities to proficiently operate in and around digital channels, while remaining adept in more traditional physical channels.

Service resource allocation

Properly allocating the support required for these channels to effectively serve customers is another key challenge that many fail to solve. Service resources must be strategically allocated to activities that allow you to deliver the greatest impact - minimising non-value adding time, while flexibly accommodating changes in customer request volumes.
 
Performance metrics & service level agreements

A firm’s commitment to service is translated through service level agreements for each function. This, along with metrics such as response time, average handle time and net promoter score, are useful in drawing clear insights about the performance of service functions and identifying areas of continuous improvement. By aligning KPIs between service and back-office roles and grounding them within the broader organisational strategy, firms can promote collaboration rather than competition and deliver a consolidated customer-centric approach.

Marketing, sales, and service collaboration

To optimise the customer’s experience throughout their lifecycle, businesses must provide a united front, and create a seamless experience as the customer is passed throughout the organisation. Best practice businesses create this functional marriage via integration of planning and communication. By creating common language, processes, and metrics between marketing, sales, and service businesses can ensure different functions collaborate to drive the interactions that will improve conversations and the customer experience.

Service operating rhythm

As enterprises move towards more integrated sales, service, and marketing execution, ongoing collaboration and review is key. Re-establishing an integrated operating rhythm is an important step in breaking down functional silos and empowering marketing, sales, and service to become more synchronised in their approach. Comprehensive meeting agendas with defined accountabilities, and regularly leveraged dashboards that track performance are key factors to driving consistent and efficient service execution.

Service culture and collaboration

Given the integrated nature of how service must work with other internal functions, it is more important than ever that businesses focus on the consistent embedding of a collaborative and constructive culture with strong communication across functional boundaries.

Looking forward

With today’s disruptive marketplace, service transformation will continue to play a key role as businesses strive to find new ways of delivering value to evolving customers. In addition to implementing new digital assets it is crucial that businesses develop the core operating model in order to support a holistic, differentiated experience across all channels. In a future blog we will be examining the process aspects of the operating model which enable scale and support new ways of working.

Written by Chris Horn - Executive Director, Products & Marketing with Giovanni Saraceno

Want to know more about service operating models?