This is the first in a series of three blogs looking at the three services provided by sooth consulting. Over the coming weeks I’ll talk about:
In this first blog in the series I’m reflecting on service experience strategy - something that I am passionate about and has been a constant source of challenge and excitement throughout my service career - as an employee, an interim and as a consultant.
It sounds obvious but having a service experience strategy is essential for any organisation, with any size of service operation.
It’s important for five main reasons:
You’ll have a clear vision of the service you want to deliver
You’ll understand the gap between where you are now and your future state
It’s means your strategy has a conscious approach and is not random/drifting
It helps gain buy in and investment from others in your organisation
It gives you something to galvanise your teams around
Your approach to designing your service strategy very much depends on your starting point. Are you a start-up with a blank sheet of paper to work from? Are you an established service organisation looking to add digital? Or do you want to create or shift to a digital first service experience? Depending on where you are will influence your strategy and your approach to delivering your target operating model.
One element of your strategy should be to have service design principles. (That may become a blog of its own at some point). Service design principles are useful to check yourself and to share with your internal stakeholders such as technology and marketing teams designing and building service solutions. Your service principles are a list of the critical considerations when designing service interactions. It shouldn’t be a long list, just the most important principles for everyone to follow in your organisation.
When going into an organisation for the first time I’m always interested in the channels they offer and the agent experience for each channel. Too often I see organisations offering every channel possible, with good intentions of making themselves accessible to the widest audience possible. I question whether this is optimal for customers or the organisation. Too many times I’ve heard organisations add chat to deflect calls - and every time overall contact volumes increase. Adding a channel adds contact, rather than reducing it. So there is a very important cost to serve conversation to be had when considering your strategy and the channels you’ll offer service through.
From a customer perspective think about where they ‘hang out.’ By that I mean what are your customers preferred channels and assess your current design versus their preferences. It’s a good starting point to identify any gaps and challenges you have in moving your strategy forwards - particularly if you want to shift or build contact through digital channels. Doing this exercise helps make your decision making, and therefore your strategy, conscious.
And just because you’ve created your strategy, doesn’t mean you can’t change it. In actual fact I recommend regularly reviewing your strategy and adapting it. This is because both internal and external factors are constantly changing and flexing and you need to consider these changes and if there is any impact or opportunities for you and your strategy.
At Pure Planet, we were growing our customer base fast as well as developing new products and services at a high rate so I reviewed our service strategy about every nine months. This review looked at the strategy, emerging technologies, our internal delivery opportunities and also a review of our service design principles to ensure they were still relevant to the strategy goal. How frequently you review your strategy will depend on the pace of change in your organisation and the market(s) you operate in.
So, to recap:
If you haven’t got a service strategy, create one
Don’t feel obliged to offer all channels
Share your strategy with anyone that will listen
Review it regularly
Use it as a tool to galvanise your stakeholders and your people
If you want to know how we can help you with your strategy, get in touch.
Let’s speak soon.