Companies without an established baseline for the delivery of their services really feel blind when investing in a new platform. Without a comparison basis, they cannot quantify the project’s target or follow up effectively with optimization efforts. Here, an AlfaPeople expert explains why and how to prepare a baseline – and what hidden challenges you should be aware of.
What do we really know about our own service processes?
This is a question, that many companies as themselves and it’s very hard to answer because they do not have an overview of the volume, quality, and efficiency that define their own service management performance. In other words, they lack a baseline that quantifies the value of the work they perform in the solution they use.
It can be a time-consuming job to get one established, so it’s understandable that not all companies prioritize the task. But conversely, the preparation of a baseline cannot only have a big business value; It can also act as an eye opener for decision-makers in the company.
Three reasons to build a baseline
Allan Pihl is Lead in Customer Service & IT Service Management at AlfaPeople. He explains that there are companies that primarily invest in a Modern Service Management solution because their existing service management platform is outdated and they, therefore, want to move to a future-proof solution. But for many other companies, they change the service management solution because they expect to save or make money.
“But how do you know if you have saved or earned money if you do not have anything to compare with? Businesses need a baseline because, first-of-all, they can get a complete overview of how they deliver the existing service in terms of volume, efficiency, and quality. Second, because they can set concrete goals for their new technology investment. And thirdly, after implementation, they can measure whether they actually realized the gains they set themselves at the start of the project,” he says.
Business case and ROI
When you knock on the boss’s door and air the idea of investing a large amount in a new service management solution, the boss probably wants to know what the business case looks like and what the ROI is. These are exactly the answers you can provide when you can base your baseline.
“One can tell him that the company with a new platform can handle 10%, for example. Multiple cases per day with the same number of agents. Or that you can increase the quality of service across all channels. Or you can handle an extra department because the service agents’ processes have become much more effective. When you can connect the form of measurable gains to the business case, the boss usually spits ears,” says Allan Pihl.
Requirements for full transparency
However, one must be aware that an investment in Modern Service Management can save on more or less hidden challenges.
“Some baselines are not being made because the work is too big. Others are not made because a baseline gives a view to the matter. The value or lack of the same work you do today becomes very clear when you make a baseline and the value of the work you expect to perform in the future becomes very clear. Both of them are employees and managers who will be on target. Regardless of interests, however, I would like the management to be in full transparency in the decision-making process so that they can react,” says Allan Pihl.
Does the project provide a guiding star
In addition to getting the quantified goal of a technology project, a baseline also gives the project a well-defined direction.
“It sounds banal, but a baseline helps the company answer what they want with their investment. Will they increase volume – handle more cases or spend less time on the cases? Is the goal of raising the quality of services so that the agents receive fewer requests? Or is the primary goal that service agents become more efficient because the business processes become sharper? Knowing your goal will be the guideline of the project, and it will be easier to prioritize the tasks along the way, so you do not end up using resources to pursue a gain beyond the scope of scoring.”
Remember the grace period
As a final good advice, Allan Pihl recommends that you follow the quantitative measurements of technology investment up with qualitative questions for those employees whose everyday life is most affected by the Modern Service Management project.
“For example, you can ask for employee satisfaction before and after the project, so you get an idea of where any challenges are hidden and where to insert additional information or training to the agents,” says Allan Pihl, ending:
“And then you should remember to introduce a grace period of two to three months when the new solution is implemented. It takes time to get to know a new system so you cannot expect the same efficiency from the agents right away. There is a drive-in period for employees to get to know the system, and only then can they determine if they have become more effective.”
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Read more blog posts in this series:
We have written several blog posts on the subject of Modern Service Management, which you can read here: