A service operations department that focuses on the strategy and alignment of customer success, customer support, and customer experience is vital for scaling companies.
This team is focused on engaging and delighting customers so that your company can continue to grow.
In this guide, we‘ll give you an introduction to service operations, why it’s critical for your service organization, and how to build your own service ops team.
What is Service Operations?
Service operations is responsible for developing a service strategy and working with customer success, customer support, and customer experience teams. The goal of the team is to help scale a business's customer service organization.
As we discussed above, many companies don‘t have a dedicated team. However, we think that’s a mistake because it's important to align customer success and customer support teams with the overall service strategy and business objectives.
A few of the key roles on this team include data analysts, customer operations strategy, and customer analysts who make sure the service organization and infrastructure are set up for success.
What does Service Operations do?
The service operations team will be responsible for equipping the right tools and systems for internal team members to provide a positive customer experience, monitor customer feedback, and track customer engagement. Many of these roles are analyst roles that ensure the customer service department is running smoothly.
Additionally, service operations will own metrics such as time resolution, tickets closed, customer support efficiency, and more service KPIs.
When it comes to infrastructure, this team is responsible for making sure all people in the customer service organization can deliver value in their day-to-day tasks.
Why do Service Operations?
The main reason to have a service operations team is to provide the support and alignment between customer service strategy and frontline customer service reps. Customer success, customer support, and customer strategy teams need to work closely together to deliver the most value and achieve business objectives.
Service Operations Roles and Responsibilities
- Measure success of customers through feedback surveys and ticketing metrics.
- Ensure infrastructure and technology stack are optimized for the customer support teams.
- Manage technology for self-service support, knowledge base, messaging, and chat platforms.
- Develop new and manage existing data required to make strategic business decisions.
- Own annual calendar for strategic planning for customer service.
- Stay close to the day-to-day operations and front line reps, gathering feedback on process improvement.
- Take care of customer onboarding and support the customer success team.
- Run the service desk.
1. Measure success of customers through feedback surveys and ticketing metrics.
When customers respond, a service operations manager will gather the data, analyze it, and strategize how to improve the customer experience with the customer experience, customer support, and customer success teams.
These teams will all work together to align on the company's service strategy and deliver value to their customers.
2. Ensure infrastructure and technology stack are optimized for the customer support teams.
Another responsibility of the service operations team is to support the frontline customer representatives through technology management. These team members will test, manage, and refine the technology stack and infrastructure.
Additionally, the service operations team will work closely with the product team to discuss customer feedback and the IT team to explore service rep feedback on whether the technology is optimized for performance.
3. Manage technology for self-service support, knowledge base, messaging, and chat platforms.
On top of the internal technology management, it's also important for service operations to manage the external technology, such as self-service support, messaging, chat, etc.
As technology is the main way that companies communicate with customers, it's important that this operates at 100% efficiency.
A service operations manager will analyze the success of the external-facing customer service technology and strategize to fix any bugs.
4. Develop new and manage existing data required to make strategic business decisions.
When the customer service organization wants to make strategic decisions, they need data. Service operations own this. The service operations team will report on customer data so that the organization can strategize business decisions.
Service operations report on all customer service data so the executive team can scale the organization as a whole.
5. Own annual calendar for strategic planning for customer service.
Again, the strategy for customer service lives with the service operations team. This is the team that's responsible for customer journey planning, customer journey mapping, and any workflows that improve the customer experience.
When your company goes to plan its customer service strategy, service operations will work with the entire customer service department to analyze data, discuss points of improvement, and strategize for the future.
6. Stay close to the day-to-day operations and front line reps, gathering feedback on process improvement.
Essentially, service operations needs to make sure that all systems and processes for the customer service organization are running smoothly and functioning. This means internally as well. So service operations will stay close to the day-to-day operations of the front line reps and gather employee feedback to improve the process.
7. Take care of customer onboarding and support the customer success teams.
Another responsibility of the service operations team is to manage customer success. Customer success managers, who own the onboarding process with customers, will work closely with service operations to complete the bridge between sales operations to service operations.
The service ops team will help provide that internal contact information and integrate the necessary tools for the customer success team.
8. Run the service desk.
When you think about customer service, you probably think of a customer service help desk, right? Well, service operations need to maintain the help desk so that the customer service organization runs smoothly.
Ultimately, it's important for your service operations team to make sure that the customer journey is seamless from beginning to end and that the customer service organization runs efficiently.
Now, with all this information, you might be wondering, “What does this team look like?” Let's dive into the team structure of the service ops team below.
Service Operations Team Structure
With so many complex and critical responsibilities, forming the right team can make or break the impact of service operations.
Here's a simplified example of what a service operations organization might look like.
Since the main responsibility of the service operations team is to support the customer support team, customer experience team, and customer success team, service ops need to focus on customer service strategy, technology, business capabilities, and analyzing the data.
Types of Service Operations Jobs
A great service ops team structure will include several positions, all of whom play a very important role. Besides these roles, remember that the customer support, customer experience, and customer success teams are also supported through these roles.
VP of Service Ops
The VP of service operations will work with the directors to make sure the entire team is running smoothly. This person is in charge of developing the strategy, disseminating that information to all necessary teams, and leading the charge with the customer service organization.
Director of Services Strategy & Operations
The director of service strategy and operations will manage several roles and ensure that the planning and revenue team and customer operations analyst teams are functioning effectively.
Planning and Revenue
A planning and revenue analyst will review the target budget and revenue metrics of the customer service organization. Additionally, they'll forecast retention and churn rates and analyze customer service performance as well.
This role works closely with the director of services strategy to discuss how revenue and planning might impact the overall service strategy.
Customer Operations Analyst
A customer operations analyst is responsible for analyzing the customer success and customer experience team metrics. This person will review the productivity of all teams, strategize incentives and performance metrics, and then work with the director to come up with strategies to improve the customer operations experience.
Director of Business Capabilities
The director of business capabilities is responsible for owning the automation and technology of the business. This person will make sure that the business is operating efficiently and is capable of handling the automation and technology that runs the business.
An automation analyst will analyze data on workflows and ensure that the automated customer service components run effectively.
The technology analyst will analyze how the technology in the customer service department is running. This includes internal and external-facing technologies such as knowledge bases, chatbot functionality, messenger requests, etc.
Service Ops Tools
Service operations teams employ many tools to help them stay on track and simplify workflows. Some of the common types include:
Project Management Tools
Service teams are often juggling many projects at once — from internal budgets, and onboarding new team members, to tracking initiatives — software is needed to help keep everything and everyone organized. Project management software can be used to delegate and track assignments while ticketing software can help teams manage customer service issues.
Customer satisfaction tools help brands gauge a customer’s overall satisfaction as well as collect valuable data about their experience. These could take the form of surveys given after customers take a specific action on your site or calculating your Net Promoter Score to determine how they feel about your brand and its products.
Making payments should be a frictionless experience for customers. This is why it’s important for both service ops and accounts payable teams to collaborate on choosing the right payment software. The type of software will depend on your business type. For example, if you have a brick-and-mortar location, you may want to go with a point-of-sale system that not only accepts multiple forms of payment but also tracks inventory across stores.
Customer Self-Service Tools
Another overlooked service strategy is to help customers help themselves with a self-service option like a knowledge base, FAQ page, or providing a simple way for customers to submit tickets to report an issue. The service operations team would oversee the creation and upkeep of these resources.
Service Ops Keeps Companies Running Smoothly
While many customer service teams might not have a service operations team, it‘s a very important department to develop in a growing company. When you’re planning to scale your customer service department, a service operations team will help make that possible.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in July 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.