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Companies depend on customer satisfaction for their survival. The market is much more competitive today, with players from all over the globe competing in all countries. Organisations must ensure that their customers get the best service from the company. It is essential to ensure that the teams interacting with customers and those who provide service can work efficiently and without any obstacles. It is why companies have a separate service operations management team that looks after the needs of customer-facing professionals.
Understanding Service Operations Management
The ultimate aim of service operations management is to provide all the resources needed by customer support and service teams. The service operations managers seek to improve the capabilities of those professionals involved in improving customer experience. They also help these teams to scale up their operations. The main responsibility of the management team is to set up and maintain the infrastructure used by the support and service teams in the company. This includes providing and upgrading the tools that help the teams create a positive customer experience, monitor their feedback and take customer engagement forward.
The service operations management team is also responsible for monitoring the teams that provide customer support. They must develop the metrics necessary for evaluating the performance of such teams. There must be accurate information about the quality of service the firm provides to its customers. The service operations team will also track the time taken to resolve issues, and the number of tickets closed in a specific period. They also collect data about the usage of company services by the customers and the ROI of such services.
Service operations are not a very old concept. Those aspiring to become operations managers can learn more about this from the Advanced Certificate Course in Operations, Supply Chain And Project Management. You can visit our website to learn more about this course and how it helps you become an efficient leader in this department.
Key Principles Of Service Operations Management
Service operations managers must keep in mind certain key principles that help them ensure better customer experience and comfortable working conditions for those tasked with keeping customers happy.
Know The Challenges
Service operations management is a multifaceted job that requires managers to use not just tools but also their problem-solving skills. This job needs the leaders to have a holistic overview of the company’s needs regarding customer support and service. They must understand the real challenges that prevent bringing meaningful changes to the system. Training, product design, process design and service operations strategy are important principles that service operations managers must keep in mind. They must solve issues in the service processes that affect the organisation at large.
One of the problems that most companies offering field service face is the difficulty in coordination between different departments. Technicians and service managers should share data to improve customer service delivery. But in many firms, the data lies in various sources that force the officials to jump from one source to another to access data. This is where the organisation of information is necessary. The service operations management must include tools that help to centralise data and make it easily accessible to everyone involved in the job.
Improving customer satisfaction through excellent service delivery is a continuous process that will need inputs from various sources. It cannot be done by the service operations management team alone. This is where the managers must know where and when to seek help. Having a positive attitude and trying new things is good in many jobs. But there is no scope for trial and error in customer service improvement. The leader must seek help from other departments or recruits who may have better knowledge about the latest technology that helps quickly improve customer experience.
Success is often measured in terms of sales volumes and market share. But for a service organisation, customer experience should be the benchmark. The focus of service operations management must always be on improving customer experience and gaining loyalty. They must look at how happy the customers are and whether they will recommend the company to their friends. This is what drives the company forward and makes the team a successful one.
Accountability is an important quality to develop in the service team that provides customer support. It is another crucial task that comes under service operations management. The leader must create a set of rules and directions for the service team and ensure that these are followed strictly. It is also necessary to formulate a set of metrics that will help measure their performance. This will not only keep them accountable for the job but also motivate them to improve. The aim is to create a roadmap with checkpoints that the service personnel must hit to ensure the achievement of overall business goals.
Address The Cause
One of the most important principles that service operations management should work under is to address the cause. There is no use providing symptomatic relief to problems as they will recur, causing great damage to the image of the organisation. A recurring problem will lead to poor customer experience that results in their moving to other brands. The team leader must motivate the members to go deep into the problem and find out what caused it in the first place. This will remove the problem permanently from the system.
Maintain Basics But Introduce Changes
The rule of 80/20 applies to service operations management too. Eighty per cent of success comes from maintaining what is already there and ensuring it is followed correctly. But the remaining twenty per cent can be achieved only by introducing new techniques. The old systems don’t need to be scrapped to bring in new techniques. A little tweaking of the old processes can help to improve performance to a great extent. Using new technology can help monitor the service team on a real-time basis. It will also help to make employees more productive and deliver higher-quality service.
Bring Fresh Ideas
Customer needs and expectations have changed a great deal over the past years. As companies vie with each other to provide better service, this trend is likely to continue. This means that the service operations management team cannot sit back even if they have achieved a level of success. The manager must remain updated with the latest trends and techniques used in service operations. Fresh ideas and new models must be introduced to ensure that the company stays ahead of the competition. Service improvement needs constant trials of new methods.
Numerous tools can help you perform service operations management successfully. However, without motivated employees to do the job, success will always be out of reach. It is necessary to develop a team of passionate employees who are highly motivated to perform their tasks in the best manner. The service operations manager must find ways to keep the service team motivated and always ready to go the extra mile to keep customers happy. Regular team meetings, one-on-one interactions, talking about things other than work and showing genuine interest in their development can help create a team passionate about their work.
Like in all aspects of business, service management is also changing. The service operations management leaders and team members must accept the changes and gear up to live with them. They must bring changes in the way they manage the service team to make sure that the company is on the way to achieving its goals. Accepting change will help the leaders to adjust quickly to it and ensure that the service team performs efficiently.
Learning and adopting the above principles can help operations managers achieve better success. The Advanced Certificate Course In Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management can teach you more about these principles and how to become a successful service operations manager. You may visit our website to learn more about the program.
Challenges In Managing Service Operations
Any customer service employee needs access to a variety of information. If the person is a field service official, then this becomes even more difficult. In many companies, such data is spread across several applications and tools. A person on the field trying to service customers and keep them happy will find it frustrating if they have to search numerous tools for their information. This is an important obstacle in service operations management. Such scattered information leads to waste of time, inefficiency, employee dissatisfaction and poor customer experience.
Scheduling is a very important task for field service operations. The company must despatch workers who have different skill sets, certifications, roles and responsibilities to the right spot on time. It is not easy when using traditional methods of scheduling. Matching the right worker to the right task is a cumbersome job. Any delay in allocating work to the service personnel can delay service to the customer. A modern tool with the latest features will help service operations management to speed up service and earn customer loyalty. Such applications also enable real-time tracking of field service professionals.
Communication is crucial in all business tasks. This is especially so when your service personnel are spread across various locations. They must be able to access information quickly, failing which, they will be wasting precious time that can be used to service a customer. Information regarding changes in scheduling or customer details must quickly reach the people on the field. If there is no real-time communication facility, it is not possible to reach someone in the field to pass on important information. The service operations management team must implement a centralised communication system to improve efficiency.
This is another big obstacle that service professionals face. Those working in the field servicing customers and taking care of their requirements must perform well because they are the face of the organisation. Customers judge the organisation by looking at how the service personnel do their work. But it is not possible for these people on the field to do their jobs well unless they get proper support from the back office. Traditional tools don’t facilitate such engagement between two teams. The aim of service operations management must be to connect these two teams.
Information is everything in this modern age of technology. If the company is not able to collect, store and analyse data, then it cannot find insights that help make better decisions. It is essential to collect approvals, surveys and customer feedback and use it for analysing if the company wants to improve its decision-making capabilities. But using such data beneficially is not an easy task using traditional tools. This is one of the setbacks that many service operations management teams face. The company must adopt modern methods of data collection, storage and analysis.
The number of devices and gadgets in each household is increasing every day. This provides a great opportunity for companies dedicated to providing service for such devices. But with rising numbers of such firms, there is competition in who does the best service. Reacting to a complaint and solving it is no more enough. Companies must be able to predict when maintenance will be required by a particular customer. Service operations management teams must overcome this challenge by adopting modern technologies like AI and machine learning that help predict service needs in advance.
One can learn to overcome the above challenges as a service operations manager by enrolling on the Advanced Certificate Course in Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management offered by reputed institutions. You can visit our website and learn more about this course.
There is a huge opportunity for companies that offer service to customers. But competition is heavy, and this poses a challenge for organisations to earn the loyalty of customers. By managing the service operations well, these establishments can greatly improve their profits and keep customers happy. It will also help the service personnel work more efficiently and with much less stress. Happy employees will work better, and that, in turn, will bring more customers and loyalty.