Service process transformation for the digital age

by Chris Horn

by Giovanni Saraceno

In today’s environment of continual innovation, there is an ongoing need to transform around evolving customers to stay relevant. At Blackdot, a lot of what we do is helping clients with marketing and sales transformation, however given the high expectations of todays’ customer, increasingly service also requires significant transformation, with particular focus on the integration and collaboration with other internal teams. More and more, companies are tasked with re-wiring legacy siloed processes with little knowledge on what a good future state looks like. In today’s post we’re covering aspects of best practice service processes that support consistent high-quality interactions between servicepeople and the ever-evolving digital customer.

In our last post, we looked at seven key people aspects of a best practice service operating model that enabled companies to efficiently deliver value to customers. These features focused on evolving channel capabilities to optimise service effectiveness and cost; providing service employees clarity on roles and objectives to drive positive client engagement; as well as integration across marketing, sales, and service roles to provide a united face for the customer. Whilst these shifts are important to set the organisation up to deliver more value-adding and lower cost interactions, we will now focus on the process aspects of a service operating model that will actually scale and support these new ways of working.

With companies seeking to provide value across the entire buyer lifecycle, and customers traversing across more channels than ever, there is significantly more handover activity between marketing, sales, and service functions. This creates the need for a higher standard of internal alignment to engage with today’s sophisticated buyer. Robust and more integrated processes are thus a key aspect of actually delivering cohesively and consistently. Getting these processes right also lays critical foundations for layering additional technology and automation around the service function.

So, what are the shifts to service process that count? Across our transformation work with enterprise clients, we’ve identified the six shifts below as the ones that matter most:

Customer-centric design

As we aim to increase share of wallet, or deliver value to customers across an extended remit, it is crucial that we first understand the touch points across which we engage with customers - failure to do so can lead to significant frustration for customers and employees. Once we properly understand our customer experience journeys across a range of key customer types, we can map pain points and actually design what we want the future state customer experience to look like - aligning internal channels and processes behind this future state to provide a holistic service experience. 

Case management and escalations

Best practice service operating models involve setting staff clear expectations on what the detailed methods are for fulfilling service requests. Best practice businesses will also take steps to ensure servicepeople can quickly identify service needs, and then support their staff with effective escalation processes that are designed to resolve customer complaints at the first point of contact. These key process features will support efficiently fulfilment of requests and rapid problem solving.

Service interaction model

Key to any transformation is capable frontline staff who are supported by technology and processes to best deliver value to customers, in this regard service transformation is no exception. Frontline staff should also be provided an empowering service interaction model. This will equip servicepeople to quickly assess customer needs, providing staff with the tools to tailor responses, handle service scenarios and deliver customer outcomes.

Authority and delegations

Best practice service operating models will make sure that proper authority and delegation guidelines are in place. Giving service people a clear understanding of approval limits for common requests and adequate authority to go the extra mile for customers will ensure that requests are processed in a consistent manner, and that the service level is aligned to customer value.

Handovers and workflows

With customer engagement occurring across more channels than ever before, it is critical that companies provide a seamless experience across the multitude of client touchpoints. Key to optimising the experience as customers interact with various internal functions is clarity around activity ownership, and integrated handover processes across teams that seamlessly pass on customer interactions and information. These measures ensure that the experience will be cohesive for customers as they traverse between marketing, sales, and service channels, and also enable businesses to effectively pass on leads when new opportunities are identified.

Optimisation and ongoing execution excellence

Customer needs are always evolving, so how do we ensure that our new service processes maintain their efficacy? To make sure that service transformation is agile and able to deliver continual value to customers as their needs change and grow, it is crucial to include inbuilt optimisation measures into any service process design. By capturing the voice of the customer, and actioning insights gathered from customer feedback, businesses are able to regularly close emerging gaps and drive ongoing enhancement of service processes.

 
What’s next?

We’ve now covered the key people and process aspects of a best practice service operating model, in a future blog we will investigate the technology features that will support these new ways of working. 

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

Want to know more about the design & integration of service features? Download our 'Integrating & Digitising Marketing, Sales & Service' Whitepaper.