It doesn’t matter if you are starting a service organization from scratch, focusing on improving one, or totally transforming a non-functioning organization into a high-performance team; what’s important and critical to your success is:
- Creating an aligned service strategy
- Getting executive buy-in and sponsorship
- Identifying best practices
- Assessing the current situation
- Creating the roadmap and gap analysis action plan
- Developing a comprehensive operational model
- Hiring the right people
I will be contributing to HDI a series of articles focused on service leadership - providing insights and recommendations, and sharing experiences on how to become a more impactful strategic service leader. Simply put, we’ll look at how best to focus on the customer experience while being a more visible, inclusive, and empathetic leader for your team members.
I first want you to think about the importance of thinking strategically. The importance of creating an aligned service strategy lies in knowing that you will be challenged in gaining executive support and the required funding to build a best-in-class service organization.
Strategic thinking is not only a requirement for achieving senior level positions, but also a required skill in creating your service strategy. It’s the process of learning from your experiences on what works and what doesn’t work that makes us a better strategic service leader.
Developing a service strategy is hard work, time consuming and takes persistence and commitment to do it correctly. It also takes insightfulness and creativity in formulating a relevant vision of your service organization’s evolution in achieving its goals and objectives.
We take risks to discover the art of possible and what will work within our environment. We experiment to discover the art of the possible and what will work within our scope of influence. We think first in order to act; but sometimes we act in order to think and gain experience. Service leaders must allocate the right amount of time for strategic thinking and initiatives to align goals and objectives, define scope of services and an operational model to deliver them, and build success metrics to measure value to the business.
The service strategy is flexible and adaptive in enabling the service organization to respond quickly to changing customer preferences, technologies, market conditions, and competitive threats. Your budget cycle should always include recommendations for continued investments in enhancing the customer experience, reducing operational costs, and scaling services without incurring additional time and expense. Your strategy-making process should include spending time researching and learning what other service organizations are doing, what the industry and business trends are, and what you can do to capture the relevant experience of others into creating your own service strategy.
Most importantly, map and align your business and IT strategy with your service strategy based on connecting with senior business and IT stakeholders and articulating the potential value to the business stated in your goals and captured in your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It’s important to take the time to get to know your business, the customers, and the marketplace. Partner with your business to better understand their priorities and service level expectations. Take the time to describe your services and how they will be delivered and measured, and ask them how best to communicate to the business. Communicating your progress via your goal achievement and monthly performance progress across the organization is a requirement in continuing to build trust, confidence, and partnership.
Want to learn more about how to implement successful service and support leadership practices? Read part 2 of this article here.
Peter McGarahan is the Senior Director of Workplace & Collaboration Services for First American Financial and an IT Service Leader and Customer Advocate. At HDI SupportWorld 2020, the First American IT Service Desk was honored with 2 Industry Awards; one for Best Use of Technology and another for the Best Service and Support Organization. Pete was also presented with the HDI 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. He is an industry expert and thought leader in global IT Service Management Strategy, Structure, People, Processes and Tools. He was the founder of McGarahan & Associates and offers 32 years of business, IT, and service leadership experience.