Customer experience is one of the most critical focuses for any growing business, and ensuring a positive customer experience includes providing quality and timely customer service. The first step in establishing a solid customer service approach is creating a customer service roadmap.
In this article, we will define what a customer service roadmap is while also stating some advantages to using one and some tips to get the most out of your roadmap. Let’s get started.
Customer Service Roadmap Definition
What is a Customer Service Roadmap?
A customer service roadmap is a visual planning template that details your customer service plan and how it will evolve over time. It encompasses the actions taken to assist customers and the larger scope goals that guide the plan into the future.
The customer service roadmap should act as both a planning tool, to organize and understand activities, and as a strategic document that can be referenced to ensure you’re on track to meet the proposed milestones and vision.
Because it incorporates both actionable tasks and strategic vision, the customer service roadmap effectively aligns multiple interest groups within the business and serves as a great tool for these groups to communicate with each other and collaborate on the overall trajectory.
Due to the importance that customer experience holds within every company, customer service should equally demonstrate a business’ commitment to their consumers and be used to gain a competitive edge.
Since good customer service can create a competitive edge, it only makes sense that businesses should devote valuable time to planning and executing on a well thought out customer service roadmap and integrate this strategy with their overall vision.
Customer service roadmaps are also meant to be revisited and refined over time. This is due to the volatile nature of user experience and the fact that if you are to maintain users, your experience and service must always be evolving to meet their increasing needs. This means that while the roadmap is a helpful organizational tool for the team creating these experiences, it also helps future-proof the businesses strategy and gives a platform of evolution to those collaborating on it.
Customer Service Roadmap Advantages
There are many different ways you can go about creating a customer service engagement plan, but using a customer service roadmap is the most detailed and comprehensive strategy. Here are some of the biggest advantages of utilizing a customer service roadmap.
Having a customer service roadmap is critical to companies because it’s able to align multiple different interest groups on the same document and provide a shared focus to everyone working on the template. This template can bring together stakeholders, employees, c-level executives, and even customer feedback because all of these parties have an important perspective in establishing a comprehensive customer service strategy.
Not only do customer service roadmaps aggregate interested parties, but they provide a different kind of product focus. Being able to align your team towards specific end goals on a shared document means you are able to eliminate scope creep.
Scope creep is when there is a miscommunication between team members and features that are out of the initial scope of a project slowly get moved into the project, only to realize they aren’t possible to launch with the planned version.
When there is a concrete document that different parties are sourcing from and working off, it eliminates misalignment between team members and allows everyone to make assumptions based on the same set of information. This provides an extra layer of alignment between teams and enables everyone to narrow their focus to the specific tasks at hand.
Focusing on similar elements and tasks is how the customer service roadmap enables future planning for your customer service strategy. Planning in advance is made incredibly easy when you have a roadmap layed out in front of you and you’re able to visualize the changes and plans that are coming in the future. This focus is on of the things that makes using a customer service roadmap very easy and effective.
Improves Customer Experience
Customer experience is more than just the buttons that are clicked and the path that user’s follow. It’s a comprehensive overview of how the user feels while using the product, and this experience also takes into account what happens when they need additional service.
Customer service is a critical part of the ever growing umbrella of customer experience and is a crucial part of providing timely solutions to customers. When people are experiencing issues, their first step is to contact the customer service team, and this is a critical pivot in their use case. If this service is unhelpful or late, it might push them away from the product altogether. If the service is helpful and timely, however, it could catalyze their brand loyalty and fuel their ability to use the product/service.
Customer service, therefore, is a critical part in ensuring effective customer experience and is a place that has large potential to increase the users ability to rely on your business.
Because customer service is so critical to a positive customer experience, using a customer service roadmap is critical if you are to engage in positive interactions with your users and start developing a reliable and solid customer service strategy. It’s for this reason that using a customer service roadmap is so effective in improving customer experience.
One of the best parts of roadmaps is that they’re constantly evolving and preparing for new changes. Using a customer service roadmap through an online whiteboard means you can scale it anytime, a feature that is extremely useful when using visual collaboration tools.
When using a customer service roadmap, you are able to plan in advance as well as planning for the immediate future. This means that you are able to plan out major milestones for the future and how they will be accomplished, and also you’re able to adjust your plan and add new touchpoints as you progress through the roadmap.
The ability to look into the future and see what value you’ll provide to your customer with specific features and approaches is incredibly innovative, and helps the entire team focus on how they will improve and innovate going forward. This is made much easier through the use of a customer service roadmap, and is much more difficult without one.
Visualize your Plan
One of the most obvious pieces of importance for using a customer service roadmap is its ability to plan out the future. It is a great planning tool that both helps plan out the immediate path and also provides a timeline for what the future will hold. While it isn’t directly a project plan, it can be used in helpful ways to align the team as to what’s on the horizon.
It can offer insights to the milestones and overall goals for stakeholders while also providing details to the team working on the ground. Having a shared platform that enables your team to utilize visual collaboration on the board is an incredibly powerful planning tool that allows everyone to maintain a high level view of the roadmap, even during their day to day activities. It’s this versatility that makes the customer service roadmap such an effective planning tool.
Customer Service Roadmap Tips
A happy customer will always be your best asset. When it comes to planning your road map, you need to go deep into the mind of your customer. In QuestionPro we know experience is key when it comes to customer service, this are the best tips for a great plan.
Understand your Boundaries
Understanding the boundaries on both ends of your roadmap is critical to ensuring that you create goals that are accurate and achievable. It can be incredibly easy when planning for the future to include goals that are well out of reach, but in an effort to be forward thinking and aspirational you end up biting off far more than you can chew. Let’s break this down.
When understanding and creating boundaries, the first step is to create some major goals that must be included. It’s important to understand exactly where you want to go, and then from there you can begin working backwards and understanding the specific ways that you can get there. Additionally, if you don’t have an idea of where you’re going then you’ll never know when you get there.
If you’re having a hard time prioritizing tasks, try using a prioritization board like the Moscow Analysis. This will help you clarify what tasks/goals are a priority and what can be saved for later. By doing this it should give you a solid understanding of both what you need and what you are trying to avoid.
The next step in understanding boundaries, and the final step in using the Moscow Prioritization, is the creation of a “won’t have” section of goals and tasks. This is meant to highlight things that are purposefully not included in the roadmap and are either slated for another time or will be avoided altogether.
It might seem counterintuitive, but having items that are purposefully avoided is actually a very positive exercise in narrowing the scope of the roadmap and focusing on the things that are most important.
When creating a list of “won’t have” items, try to think of things that are on the very fringe of being added, and think about how important they might be to the overall quality of the experience being developed. Won’t have features will mainly consist of these things or of features that are very important but are purposefully being prioritized another time.
By slating features in must have and won’t have categories, understanding the boundaries of the roadmap is an extremely helpful way to keep the overall goals reasonable and achievable while also eliminating scope creep.
Monitor the Competitive Ecosystem
Market trends are often very definitive in establishing the path forward, and this applies just the same when creating a customer service roadmap.
When creating your roadmap, you have to inherently think about the future. Just as your competition is surely doing, there will always be indicators of where to look and where the industry is moving, and it’s important to consider these factors when creating a customer service roadmap.
Make sure you take a look at the specific things that people are launching, whether it be AI assisted customer service, increased visibility and outreach from providers, or increased customer service availability, all of these things could help you get the edge on your competition as you plan out the future in your roadmap.
Using a customer service roadmap is a process that is meant to be revisited and revised as time goes on. While there are milestones and pieces that should be emphasized and maintained throughout, it is a [;an that is designed to be changed.
This means that when working on a roadmap, you must be able to be flexible and willing to make changes to your plan when necessary. These changes can either be forced or chosed, but either way they must be made. If you aren’t willing to make changes, you might find that the roadmap is a bit too rigid and will eventually become obsolete.
It’s crucial to design smart strategies to meet and constantly update the customer experience for better results. With a good CX software, you can get more insights to achieve greatest goals.
Using a customer service roadmap is one of the best ways to host a virtual workshop and create an effective way forward. If you want to learn more about the ways you can create customer journey maps and utilize online whiteboards, make sure you check out Fresco.