Whether it’s bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly, the majority of enterprises have prioritization procedures they use to determine if a project will move forward, wait, or be put on ice. In my experience at Seamless, our customer service team usually sat near the bottom of the barrel. Product and marketing could push their way to the front of the line, but customer service, the largest department in the company, could barely get the smallest projects put into production.
Below are a few tips that I learned to get customer service projects prioritized.
Insider Tip: Use Another Company’s ROI
Here at Teckst, we live by our ROI. In fact, many clients and future clients often say, “Wow. I didn’t believe you, but now that we’ve used you for a few months, we see the returns you promised.” We have more than 100 clients, and with all the data they share, we can constantly update our ROI calculator numbers based on vertical, customer behavior, and use cases.
To take the ROI one step further, speak with another client of the vendor, confirm their ROI numbers, and bring those to the prioritization meeting. This legitimizes the ROI and takes it from something a vendor delivered to a realistic viewpoint a non-invested third party sees. It’s honest and authentic.
Tip 2: Me, Myself, and Our Customers
When presenting to a prioritization team, a fatal flaw that many requesters will do is discuss the request and how it directly affects them. “I need to reach my goal of 10% in reduced costs” is easier to say no to than, “Our customers have been asking for this and we’re seeing higher churn that we attribute to a lack of text messaging as a channel for customer service.” Let the customer’s voice lead the dialogue.
Tip 3: Bring Your Experts
When I worked at Seamless and had to go through prioritization, I would bring in the experts to help me sell the project internally. Any vendor worth their keep will either video conference in or show up in person. They’re the expert, they’ve worked with other companies, and they can help paint the picture of how important this is to customers. Before bringing the vendor in, however, explain exactly who will be in the meeting and determine who the final decision makers are. This will help the vendor do their homework and will result in better results.
Tip 4: Use the Big Budget Departments as Evidence
Marketing has the money, so if you can talk about their big budget going to waste because of poor customer service experiences, it makes a really big impact. For example, “We’re spending $100 on acquiring each new customer, but 10% of our new orders result in customer service issues. If we’re going to push 10% of our marketing budget to acquire new customer service issues, we need to prioritize this project.”
Tip 5: Timebox
Prioritization is based on the idea that all projects will eventually get worked on, however, with limited resources, not all projects can be accomplished at once. Be sure to use upcoming events that affect customer service to your advantage. For example, “Now is our slowest time and implementing a new solution will affect the fewest customers. With Black Friday 90 days away, this needs to be set up now.”
The times are changing and customer service projects are being prioritized more frequently than in the past. However, nothing is more frustrating than building a great business case and being told your request isn’t as important as another department’s. Don’t lose faith, just keep going. When in doubt, ask your vendor to run a pilot that doesn’t require the IT team. This may mean limited access to customer data, but you can still learn a lot and can use these learnings to push your business case next time. Just remember not to give up!