23 July 2020
Posted by Lewis Martin – firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s service management teams are under pressure to transform customer experience on two major fronts. First, because of the pandemic, customer expectations are rapidly (and perhaps irreversibly) shifting toward digital-first services and products. Second, as more employees are now working from home, companies face a need for new ways of remote collaboration amidst a bevy of coronavirus-related cyberthreats, and incident reports are on the rise at businesses of all sizes. (Case in point, the World Health Organization is urging vigilance after seeing a fivefold increase in attacks against its staff, and the public at large.)
Without question, service management teams must adjust to this new reality to redefine how they deliver an excellent customer experience, first internally (to support your employees), so that you can excel externally (with customers and prospects). This transformation requires your team to rethink everything – including your technology, your data, and your operations. It sounds complex and challenging, but we can offer a roadmap to guide your thinking and planning. Here, we look at four key ways that today’s agile service management teams can transform service management across the organisation to build a resilient environment and drive business value.
The Modern, Personalised Customer Service Experience
The first consideration of service management innovation is all about personalisation.
In a “Consumers and the New Reality” study from just last month, KPMG examined changing customer behaviours across 12 countries, including the UK, and found that when it comes to key purchase drivers, “personalisation” ranks among the top, alongside staid drivers like “value for the money” and “trust in the brand”.
Arguably, this was the trajectory before the pandemic, but, as almost half of customers expect that life will not return to normal for at least six months, personalisation is as important as ever. People want to be informed and connected right now; communicating directly with your customers is key to maintaining trust and goodwill around your brand and propelling your business.
Not only do customers expect personalised, digital-first, and on-demand services and products, but these channels must also be easy to navigate. For service management teams, your role is pivotal. You can deliver and create modern customer service experiences by seeking out innovative technology solutions that lets customers (both internal and external, remember) effortlessly make requests, quickly receive support, and find resolutions.
This is why KA2 has partnered with ServiceNow, an industry leading ITSM vendor. Recently, the major hospitality brand MGM sought to transform its IT service desk, which powers all aspects of its guest experience; any downtime directly affects both guests and revenues. In response, MGM implemented ServiceNow (Connect Support, specifically) to create a chat-based support channel. The result? Agent productivity doubled and MGM now averages five-second response times for live chat. You can, too.
The second consideration to transform the customer experience is around automation.
Today, intelligent automation and machine learning has moved from buzzword to baseline. A recent survey of 500 CIOs in 11 countries across 25 industries finds that technology leaders are increasing their investment in machine learning. Part of an expected “New CIO Agenda” is to drive digital transformation via machine learning to automate complex decision-making. From the survey, nearly 90% of respondents say that greater automation will increase the accuracy and speed of decisions and more than half say they are utilising automation beyond routine tasks (like how to respond to security alerts). Not surprisingly (and related), another component of the “New CIO Agenda” is a greater focus on the customer experience. CIOs are using, or plan to use, machine learning to speed response time to customer concerns, route incoming service requests, and clear bottlenecks.
The role of your technology team in all of this is to usher in intelligent automation toward better workflows for improved efficiency, reduced costs, and, ultimately, top-tier customer service. It will require proactivity and agility, but experts, like our team at KA2, can help. For example, we recently partnered with an international investment bank to streamline processes and accelerate project delivery using ServiceNow solutions. The bank sought to implement a cloud-first ITSM strategy that would enable it to achieve two core objectives: Improve compliance and risk controls and enable faster, more agile service. Under KA2’s guidance and our Smarter Framework, and using the best-in-class ServiceNow ITSM platform, the bank has become more efficient, reduced costs, improved reporting, and accelerated change. Read the full case study here.
A third consideration is to break down silos that may be limiting your customer service potential.
Generally speaking, collaboration, communication, and a mindset change are all required ingredients of successful transformation. But the right digital workflows will also help break down information silos and spread solutions across your entire organisation for seamless customer experience, from request to resolution.
Your service management team must be in sync with multiple teams – including HR, facilities, finance, data, and legal departments. Establishing these touchpoints will enable greater visibility and effective task assignment and resolution, especially in more complex moments like onboarding and offboarding, which require coordinated support and service across multiple departments.
On that note, another tip is to consider an ITSM solution that automates related requests and allows easy prioritisation of tasks via easy-to-use tools that deliver full visibility and scalability.
Flexible and Scalable Platforms
The last consideration of service management innovation is about your solution and platform.
One business-related outcome of the pandemic is a reinforcement that customer expectations are ever-evolving; sometimes, it’s for reasons beyond our control. To build a resilient business, service management teams must leverage solutions that integrate with other out-of-the-box systems, so that processes can be deployed rapidly and safely. As new needs arise, your team will need the flexibility to respond quickly to make needed, forward-looking changes that also incorporate security against ongoing threats.
The right solutions will enable your team to rapidly release new functionality and enhancements (whether for changing customer preferences or in response to the overall environment); this is the key to sustained agility.
For example, KA2 recently partnered with a global investment management organisation to re-implement an out-of-the-box ServiceNow implementation (with no customisations) to ensure seamless and issue-free updates and improvements on a continuous basis. Further, this allowed for a rapid deployment model for the ongoing introduction of key functionality on the ServiceNow platform. (Here’s a link to the full case study.)
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, working with teams to build top-notch customer service was our goal at KA2. For more, please see this post on how great service improves your employee experience.
Yet now, there’s a lot more to think about. To stay competitive and protected, now is the time to invest in secure solutions to enhance your internal and external service delivery, from personalised experiences and intelligent automation to frictionless workflows and flexible platforms. However, one other outcome of the pandemic is the knowledge that you’re not alone. Businesses of all sizes and industries are concurrently navigating digital transformation toward service management innovation.
At KA2, we can help you transform your service management using modern technology, like ServiceNow, to stay resilient and competitive. Please get in touch with us today to discuss your needs and see where we can advise or support your technology or leadership team.