Customer Service Roadmap. The products or services you offer are important, but they are only one part of the success equation. Customer service is a critical part of any business in 2020. If you have a good reputation for customer service, customers are more likely to perceive you as trustworthy. This reputation brings old customers back as well as draws new customers in. When it comes to planning your customer service approach, you can’t leave it up to chance. We live in the digital age where there is an abundance of data available to analyze and gain insights from.
Experts have been analyzing customer service data for some years now and have unlocked the key ingredients of a successful customer service operation.
Today we’re going to look at how to create your customer service roadmap. Let’s get started.
What Is a Customer Service Roadmap?
A customer service roadmap is a high-level visual summary of your customer service vision and goals over time. Your roadmap should act as a strategic tool from which you can check if you’re on track and make new objectives from it. It should be easy to read and be very high level so that anyone looking at your roadmap is clear on your vision and goals for the future. Roadmaps can also act as a springboard for communication with people around the business, stakeholders, or others.
The Benefits of Creating a Customer Service Roadmap
- It keeps you focused on your goals. It’s easy to lose focus on your goals for the future when you work in a busy environment with lots of change. A roadmap holds you accountable to your goals and reminds you that you need to make meaningful steps every day towards achieving your customer service goals.
- It’s great for planning. Your roadmap isn’t an actual project plan, but it can be used to inform what comes next in the company.
- It keeps you focused on innovating. Your customer service roadmap will give you an insight into what value you are bringing to your customers today and what you hope to bring them in the future. When you’re looking at your roadmap you should be asking yourself these questions. Will I be providing substantially more value to my customers in the future? Am I staying competitive? Where will my competitors be in 5 years? Should I be doing more? Is my roadmap realistic or do I need more time to complete these goals? Be honest with yourself when answering these questions and amend your roadmap accordingly.
- It can help you decide which elements of your business need to go.
So, you know where you want to go, but how do you get there? Is your old customer service software standing in the way of going omnichannel? Are there channels that are barely used by customers? Is it time for these to go? Next, we’ll take a look at 7 tips to help you build your customer service roadmap.
7 Tips for Building Your Customer Service Roadmap
1. Know Where You Want to Go
If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, then you won’t know when you’ve got there. Excellent customer service doesn’t happen by chance. It happens because focused people make deliberate decisions to make it happen. Be one of these people. Decide where you want to be in five years, or 10 years. What do you want to be offering the customer at that time? What about something smaller like a weekly newsletter, can that be done sooner? Make a list of everything you want to achieve over a set time period and decide where it should go on your roadmap. Make sure to stick only to goals and visions related to customer service with the ultimate goal of improving the customer experience.
2. Know What You Don’t Want
As well as knowing what you DO want, also know what you don’t want. Of course, you shouldn’t add these things to your roadmap because your roadmap is all about your vision for the future. Instead, you should write a list of the things you don’t want to help you decide what should go on the roadmap. For example, you don’t want your customers to feel frustrated when talking to your agents, so how do you reduce the likelihood of this happening? You could provide more agent training. You could also implement an agent routing system so the most appropriate agent is routed to the right customer.
Using this, you may decide to add “monthly agent training” or “automated agent routing” to your roadmap. You don’t want your customers to feel frustrated when they can’t contact your company outside of operating hours. To address this, you may decide to add “implement 24/7 chatbots” to your roadmap. The options are almost endless here. You’d be surprised how much what you don’t want can tell you about what you do want.
3. Leave Details out of It
Project plans and project documentation are where the details come in. For your roadmap, stay firmly away from the details. You want your roadmap to be useful to anyone viewing it and a huge map filled with lots of detail isn’t useful at a glance. The information gets lost in the word cloud and the roadmap becomes confusing. Anyone should be able to look at your roadmap and immediately be able to tell where you’re heading. Imagine someone has never heard of your company or what you do. This person should be able to understand your roadmap with only a glance.
This is exactly what makes roadmaps so useful. They can act as a source of motivation when you see them every day. They can keep you focused on your long-term future. And they can encourage and inspire discussions on where to go next. There’s plenty of space to delve into the details in other places so keep your roadmap as high-level as possible.
4. Speak to Key Figures in Your Business
The best ideas come from collective knowledge, expertise, and passion. Don’t rely solely on your own ideas when it comes to making your roadmap, even if you’re the owner of the company. You’re making key decisions about the future of the company and these decisions have the potential to impact everyone in the business. Additionally, two brains are better than one, three brains are better than two, and so on. There’s a real chance that you might be missing a great idea because you decided not to brainstorm with your team.
It’s always a good idea to talk to people from all over the business and ask for their opinions. For example, customer service agents are deeply familiar with your customers and their frustrations. They will also have opinions on what makes their job harder to perform. For example, the agent might be using antiquated technology to perform their role. This old tech may cause delays, errors, or even result in loss of data and require duplication of efforts. Talking to the agents may encourage you to change “implementing an omnichannel platform” from a long-term goal into a short-term goal.
5. Pay Close Attention to Industry Trends
Trends happen for a reason so pay close attention to them and decide which ones will impact your business the most. Below are some key customer service trends in 2020. This list isn’t exhaustive, but we have included all the biggest trends so you can decide if, when, and where you can implement these into your business.
- Messaging will outpace email in the near future. Messaging solutions are hugely popular with customers for several reasons. Customers are already familiar with messaging apps because they use them every day. Customers don’t want to wait around for an answer, they want one straight away. If you don’t already offer messaging options for your customers, then now is the time to make the jump.
- Bots are everywhere. Whether it’s chatbots, sales bots, or any other bot, they are here to stay. Bots aren’t intended to replace humans, but rather help them with their job and make the business more efficient as a whole. Bots are available at all times, they don’t get tired and need breaks, and they are cleverer than ever. It’s also easier than ever before to create your own custom chatbots using a bot studio.
- Omnichannel is the future. Multi-channel is now becoming omnichannel. Omnichannel platforms are more efficient, require less training, and are easier to master. Companies are now starting to realize that working across several pieces of software is inefficient and can lead to errors when agents have to repeat data across systems. Omnichannel platforms also promote a more cohesive way of working where all teams feel unified towards a common goal.
- Blockchain is set to become a prominent part of the customer support industry in the form of smart contracts. A smart contract is a binding agreement (contract) written in computer code.
- Self-service is huge. Customers want to have plenty of self-service options available to them so they can get answers on the fly without having to wait around for an agent.
- Customer experience is key. Customers are willing to pay more for a positive experience with a company. This means you have to excel at creating positive emotions in your customers and cut out the pain points that lead to negative emotions.
6. Make Sure Your Goals Are Scalable
What works today might not work in the future. Your company might be small right now, but who is to say that it won’t grow rapidly over the next 5 years. Keep scalability at the forefront of your mind when you create your roadmap. Your roadmap is your path to your future goals, and it should make as much sense day one as it does in three years. This means you have to consider whether you can scale up each goal if you experience growth.
Remember that your roadmap should be future proof and you shouldn’t be creating a new one every year. If you’re constantly revising or redoing your roadmap, this is usually a sign that you don’t have a clear grasp on where you want to go in the future or how to get there.
7. Make Sure Your Roadmap Is Realistic
It’s always good to be ambitious, but at the same time, you must be realistic. Your roadmap won’t be useful if it quickly becomes obvious that you can’t keep up with the goals you set out on your timeline. Take a look at your company and assess what you think is realistic with the resources you have. These resources can be your budget, the amount of staff you have, or the skills of your staff. Have a look at options available to you on the marketplace. Remember that you don’t have to achieve all of these goals on your own. There are now thousands of powerful tools available at an affordable cost that can help you meet your goals.