There are many Customer Success/CRM/Data analysis tools out there. None of them works nicely with the other tools that you need your post sales teams to use. And this means that you will find yourself in the midst of various CS Ops projects either to roll out a new tool or to set up a new integration or reconfigure the tool for a new use case. Here are 5 best practices to help you get started and hopefully reduce the anxiety and increase efficiency of your CS Ops projects.
Minimum Viable Product Approach
Even within the context of a small project, if you haven’t yet started using this approach, the concept of the minimum viable product, or MVP, is extremely helpful. One popular industry belief is that the MVP is a critical and necessary part of any CS Ops project. A minimum viable product focuses on high return and lost risk projects, and can be measured and improved upon with each iteration. Putting this into action is a way to create fast, small products that can be deployed quickly and measured for feedback. A well-run CS Ops environment can take full advantage of what is learned in these short cycles and do small, Agile course corrections along the way.
If there’s one bad word in CS Ops circles, it’s the word “silo.” Silos and CS Ops do not go together. The reason is simple: CS Ops has to do with flow and integration, which means configuration and operations move quickly and in a horizontal manner. Silos, on the other hand, are vertical and walled in. But how do we break down silos and the silo culture? According to a Forbes article by Brent Gleeson, some of the best ways to break down the silo mentality are to create a unified vision within the organization so all stakeholders and team members understand that they are all working towards a common goal. Additionally, it’s important to motivate and incentivize flow and integration not only in the context of a single project but across all aspects of work.
Some of the most wasteful aspects of any project are handoffs. This is work that is completed by one person or team, and then packaged and handed off to the next phase to be completed by another team or person. This process turns any project into a sequence of discrete steps. CS Ops projects, on the other hand, see projects as a continuous flow from beginning to end. By minimizing handoffs, discrete steps tend to disappear, facilitating a CS Ops culture. Some might disagree since a few well planned handoffs at the right juncture of a project can bring in much needed discipline and provide a window of opportunity for others to provide feedback.
Create real-time project visibility
This is very important: In order to maximize flow and integration, everyone who’s part of a CS Ops system needs to know where the project stands. While access to progress measurements can be useful, in a CS Ops environment it’s paramount that all team members have access to the status of the project and its many indexes of progress. Creating real-time project visibility can be done by using the right tools and encouraging all involved to engage in a centralized way. Consider using collaborative project management software that everyone can access, and one that shows updated schedules every time a change is made.
Manage change collaboratively
Effective change management can be a struggle for any project. Having a systematic way to approach change management is critical. In CS Ops, dealing with change management is even more important. In an effort to maximize flow and collaboration, dealing with change effectively can only be done when the team collaborates and works together. The first step is to understand and communicate the need for a change management culture. Then, using the tools mentioned earlier, create procedures and processes to manage these changes in a transparent and collaborative way.CS Ops is still in the infancy stage and a lot of work needs to be done before many of what might appear to be simple tasks/projects become routine and straightforward. Till then the 5 tips above can be used to keep things simple and scalable.