While often considered a ‘hygiene factor’, Ops teams are actually the front line when it comes to a company’s customer retention strategy, says Yoyo’s head of operations, Heidi Herre. As 2018 kicks off, she identifies three key areas her fellow operations leads should consider to ensure best practice…
Working in operations is a funny old thing. Having been in a variety of implementation and support roles over 15 odd years, I’ve found it to be a famously difficult area to showcase.
We’re essential to customer retention, effective process management, and keeping running costs at bay, but are oft considered (fondly) as a ‘hygiene factor’.
We’re frequently the last to be fully considered when significant product changes or customer projects are taking place – even though we manage and maintain most activities through said change.
I say this madness must stop! And with that in mind, I’ve identified three key areas that heads of operations should give themselves a moment to stop and think about as 2018 kicks off!
1. Sing about the day-in-day-out heroes
Unlike our sales and marketing counterparts, the less we are contacted or referred to, the better. No news is absolutely good news. The absence of noise means the presence of order and process, which means we’re doing an excellent job.
This isn’t always the first goal to be flagged on the corporate scorecard or the most ‘feel good’ of approaches, so it’s no wonder that there’s usually a fair amount of employee attrition in Ops.
Defining what great performance looks like and distilling clear objectives is always key, but acknowledging the following is also absolutely critical:
- The ability to convert experiences from bad to good
- Tenacity to churn through repetitive, mundane and, let’s face it, often cumbersome patchwork processes
- An absence of errors despite working with multiple disparate and non-integrated systems
- Team co-responsibility to get the job done – with spirit – when fluctuating resources and demand don’t quite match.
Whilst typically a generalist role, the specialisms and insights individuals develop over time are often the bits that provide stand-out memorable experiences for all involved. A happy Ops team equates to operational stability and resilience.
So fix it before it’s broken. Like an important life relationship, remember to tell Ops you love ‘em.
2. Expect continual process improvement and investment
I’ve learnt recently that one of my catch phrases happens to be ‘is that captured anywhere?’ I’m rather a fan of minimal rework and clear process. There is much comfort in knowing the ‘normal’ way of doing things when it comes to customer retention.
The 80/20 rule is our holy grail – I’m constantly rabbiting on that if we’re spending one day a week discussing, tailoring and improving, and four days efficiently doing the doing, then things are proportioned the right way.
It’s understandable that Ops often play second fiddle to client facing requirements. Inevitably these also trump the long list of internal automation priorities. We know our station and we get the order of things.
This can, however, only go on for so long before it becomes a barrier to scale and cohesion, so know when to tackle the tough stuff too even when it might not correspond with immediate ROI. People can only overlay gaps for so long before the overhead is passed on to your customer.
Yoyo recently launched a new product feature, Campaign Launcher, which enables retailers to create their own campaigns to incentivise increased adoption, engagement, and customer retention.
This is not only incredible for clients who gain increased understanding, control and measurement of their marketing loyalty campaigns, but has also significantly reduced our operational demand (it was sooooo manual before) by allowing us to focus on the interactions which really add the most value. Win win.
3. Shout out to your customers
Being the direct B2B2C support conduit is about striving for the right balance between conciseness, insight and impact when it comes to customer retention.
Whilst the complexity and volume of projects and queries may vary, we seek to make all of our interactions beneficial by recognising that our customers are owed the following in this age of personalisation:
- Clear information and guidelines, as well as the ability to not have to contact Support in the first place
- Clear understanding of needs, even the unspoken ones
- Expectations managed thoroughly through to resolution
- Memorable high quality interactions with immediacy and appropriateness of response
Below are some recent replies to our quick responses. Some particularly make my heart sing with pleasure:
I was very pleased with both the speed and understanding. All too often companies insist on following the laid out procedures without any flexibility. Which can be very annoying if you have limited time to resolve something. Thank you very much for dealing with this so efficiently. Very definitely not just good. EXCEPTIONAL.
X was excellent, she took ownership of the issue and kept me constantly updated. It’s great to deal with one person and I’m pleased to say the matter has been resolved.
Very satisfied with the service I’ve received from Yoyo, which has been consistently great whenever I’ve needed help.
Fantastic customer support, feel like I’ve been given a treat! Always nice.
At Yoyo, our Operational department is made up of three customer facing teams: Onboarding, Partner Support and Consumer Support.
They are viewed by the entire business as people who can delight customers and suggest ways in which Yoyo and its product offer can do even more for them.
As is industry standard, we use NPS to measure our customer loyalty and cSat to determine how effective our daily support interactions are. Our teams take this feedback seriously, it’s not just about a score, but the qualitative detail that sits within the feedback that keeps our finger on the pulse of what’s important when it comes to customer retention.
We collate and feed this into our product teams, thereby directly shaping the direction of Yoyo with our customers’ proverbial voice. See here how Yoyo recently partnered with one of our valued clients to create a fantastic post-transactional marketing campaign.
In summary, I’d say that keeping things tick-tick-ticking along is the name of the game for Operations, but not always as easy as it may appear. It takes disciplined energy to bring continued levels of commitment and enthusiasm for tasks which require standardisation and repetition.
It takes initiative to spot opportunities for improvement and determine how to differentiate service. And it takes a seriously fantastic team to convert the humdrum to levels of greatness.