Design your service process with a customer perspective while keeping other constituents of a service in mind
What does your service look like to a customer? Remember, what may seem obvious to you, may not be so clear for your customer. What customers want in a service portal is straightforward: a great experience. But, designing your ServiceNow service portal to ensure good experiences for customers is where the challenge lies for most businesses.
In truth, your customers are looking forward to doing business with you. They chose you. However, you risk losing them to your competitors if your service is inconsistent. Amazon offers the best example of how consistency keeps customers coming back for more. Think about your experience as an Amazon customer. Regardless of the day, the hour, whether you’re in a good or bad mood, as an Amazon customer, you can rely on a consistent end-to-end experience every single time. In fact, we are so used to it we don’t even have to think about it to use it.
This should be your aim: to provide consistent end-to-end services for your customers. What happens when consistency is nowhere to be found in your service portal? Chaos happens – your customers won’t know what to expect and where to go to next. Chaos is a byproduct of inconsistency. To avoid chaos and ensure consistency, consider your customers’ perspectives as you build your service portal.
While you are building with your customer in mind, you can’t ignore the other two constituencies of a service: the Providers and the Managers. To create any truly viable service, every constituency must be involved in the Service Design Process, whether they are on the front-end or the back-end of a service. So, as you build your ServiceNow service portal with consistency in mind, consider what each of these groups are looking for in a service portal.
- The Customer: Your customers want an excellent customer experience. To deliver that we must think like the customer. What does your service look like to a customer? Step out of your comfort zone and find out. Then, design your service portal from the customer in, not IT out – or they will reject it.
- The Provider. Execution Effectiveness is what providers are looking for. If your service portal is not built in a way that it makes providers more efficient and effective, then they won’t support the change with the customers. And they will work around the system, which worsens the problem.
- The Manager. Governance and Accountability are top requirements for Managers, for they are necessary to effectively build and deliver an enterprise portfolio of consistent, high quality services.
A simplified service portal makes it easy for everyone to understand
A good, consistent Service Design Process is critical for customer satisfaction, simplicity and quality. In the example below (figure 1), we have an IT service that provides business analytics. You can see a simple description of the service offered, you can see who the Service Owner is if you need to contact them and it’s clear that the service is rated 3 out of 5 stars for quality. The design of the portal allows the customer to easily select between 3 different request items. And, where further detail is needed to make a decision, the tabs at the bottom offer clear direction.
Figure 1: What a service looks like to a customer.
Make it easy for the customer to self service
Whether a customer wants additional information, answers to questions, to provide feedback, to submit an idea, or to order / change their service – a good service design goal is to provide enough information to enable a customer self-service action. While this isn’t always possible, it is what we should aim for. We call this customer view a Service Tombstone, because it summarizes “what lies below.”
The Service Tombstone is how the service looks to the customer – the customer facing view. It answers the question I mentioned earlier in this post: What does your service look like to a customer?
But remember, don’t forget the needs of the other constituents – providers and managers. ServiceNow’s Service Portal gives you the ability to create new requests and supporting workflows easily and quickly to meet the needs of all three constituents of a service. It is a powerful capability. But that can also create a problem. You can quickly build hundreds of requests and services, all with a unique look and feel, but the decision-making process becomes a burden on your customer. And your customers won’t like that.
So, keep it consistent! That’s key to customer happiness. I will talk about this in my next blog post.
P.S. - Need direction on how to best organize and manage IT services with ServiceNow’s Service Portal CMS? Watch this webinar!
About the Author: Don Casson is CEO of Evergreen Systems, an IT consulting firm helping medium to enterprise public and private sector organizations to dramatically transform their IT operations. Don is a frequent writer, blogger and presenter, and has delivered over 50 webinars on topics in Service Management, including IT and shared services.