Service providers today are competing with each other to better serve customers. Their stores are sleek and comfortable, and they go all out to provide a range of products and services.

Organisations should have a bird’s eye view of their entire service process so they can focus on what is working, what’s not working, and what needs to be improved or changed.

Try reviewing the service process from each step the customer takes in his experience with your organisation:

* Break down the entire process and identify the key activities involved in the creation and delivery of the service. Service providers have to better understand each step the customer takes in the service journey by analysing the links between customer contact points and visibility of the services to the internal support services that allow the service to take place. Each link should be clearly specified.

* Be clear about how the different internal departments of marketing, human resource, information technology and operations interact and work together. This clarity will help organisations to improve their service performance by ensuring that the necessary support tools to meet greater customer expectations are made available.

* Understand the bigger picture. Keep the activities relatively aggregated for a clearly defined snapshot of the service flow.

Here’s a suggestion: Take pictures of the existing service process and lay them out on a table. During a work improvement team meeting, these will stimulate ideas for improvement or even trigger issues for discussion.

* Get the details on what works and what does not. Be open to suggestions and improvements. Actively listen to both internal and external customers.

Pay more attention to every customer’s reaction during the service operation. Remember, your objective is to obtain the loyalty of external customers as well as the buy-in from customer service staff. Research has shown that happy, engaged employees offer superior customer service. 

* Provide solutions for a better service experience. Organisations should constantly find ways to improve their existing processes and service landscape to enhance the overall service experience. Some suggestions include automation, reducing redundancies and increasing productivity for both internal and external customers.

* Revitalise outdated services. Service providers have to be tuned into the latest trends, technology and changes in customer expectations. Organisations have to challenge their assumptions to understand their customers and scrutinise their internal processes to look out for gaps in evolving expectations.

Organisations that seek a range of customer perspectives and synchronise their support function to suit the customer will gain an edge over their competitors.

* Implement and integrate changes into the daily operations. Making those changes a part of the “new normal” sets a standard for all staff to follow. Management must be supportive in simplifying and communicating initiatives.

* Champion the need for continuous improvement. Everyone in the organisation plays a part in the improvement process. Asking for feedback and looking into past complaints are some ways to improve. Service providers should always strive to close the gaps between the adequate and desired service experience.

* Bring your service experience to the next level. Organisations must regularly review their existing service blueprints to see what can be done better. Be connected to customers’ needs, resolve their concerns and learn from the best industry practices.