Providing and managing IT Infrastructure support to customers is a challenge for most companies today, but for organizations with distributed stores or a franchise model, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Aside from serving the customers that shop at their stores, the company must also support the individual stores themselves. From issues regarding inventory to service outages (and everything else in between), it can be overwhelming to think of all the different moving pieces it takes to keep a business open, let alone running smoothly.
Today we’re asking you to think about whether or not you’re setting up your stores to be successful. If you don’t take the time to properly serve your stores, how can you expect them to properly serve your customers? If you want your company running like a well-oiled machine, it’s necessary to treat your stores like you would a customer – providing them with quick, convenient service, reliable and streamlined communication, and an efficient solution process for any issues that arise.
ServiceNow’s Customer Service Management (CSM) application is a one-stop solution for providing simultaneous support to the business to business (B2B) and business to consumers (B2C) model. By combining these two pieces, ServiceNow’s CSM goes a step further, not only providing support for consumers but also providing support for the stores or franchises themselves by enhancing their IT structure and digital infrastructure. The idea behind this approach is that stores and/or franchises are truly the customers of the Company IT or Infrastructure, and therefore we should apply the ServiceNow CSM B2B model to support them for their IT or Infrastructure needs.
Here are some of the ways the CSM B2B model works to enhance customer service support:
- Building stores or franchise Hierarchy
- Setting up stores or franchises as customer accounts for the overarching organization.
- Identifying several options for defining company hierarchy. This flexibility empowers clients to establish a hierarchy that is based on their company structure, to best fit their needs.
In this model, this store hierarchy is built using a regional or geographical model. For example, think about a grocery store chain company that has various stores structured in a regional hierarchy, with each region having multiple sub-regions or stores under it. Typically used by companies with owned stores, this model can also align support times under geographical locations as well.
With the ownership model, the hierarchy is built using the ownership of the franchise or store. For example, a company owning multiple franchises of ACME can be set up as top customer account with all their individual stores represented under the top customer account. This model provides the company with more flexibility to have specific terms and conditions (contracts or entitlements) for providing support to these external entities (owner or holding companies).
Benefits of building the Hierarchy
Building this hierarchy can seem intimidating, but the payoff is significant.
The largest benefit? Increased visibility.
The beauty of defining a hierarchy is that it gives the stores or franchise control over the visibility of service issues and request. In other words, a district manager or owner company gets increased and simultaneous visibility into all their stores’ health. Another perk is that the hierarchy gives client companies the ability to define the terms, contracts, and service level specific to store or franchise ownership.
This approach is extremely adaptable and flexible, giving your company the space to find what works best for its structure. For example, a grocery chain we worked with had a mixed model; they found that leveraging a mixed approach gave them visibility into asset allocation, support metrics reporting for both company-owned and externally owned stores leading to service optimizations.
Store User Management
As for management, ServiceNow’s CSM enables stores and franchisees to manage their own users without involving the company’s IT Infrastructure team, alleviating the burden of store contact management from the Company’s IT Infrastructure team. With our grocery chain customer, all the externally owned stores managed and administered their own users using self-registration capabilities. The best part of store user management? This model is highly scalable and can be extended to any new stores or franchises added to the company’s portfolio following implementation.
Managing assets is another tedious task for organizations, but store user management enables organizations to assign the IT or Infrastructure assets to individual stores, giving the support teams capability to identify and support stores without the stress of going hunting for information stored in a million different places. With less time spent tracking down information, the support team can instead work proactively to provide support to the appropriate stores by monitoring alerts and supply information from other service management activities such as problem or change management.
This data also provides stores with increased visibility into their infrastructure, enabling them to better use asset knowledge.
Providing Operational Services on Site
IT and Infrastructure teams spend a lot of time providing onsite services for maintaining and repairing store assets. Luckily, ServiceNow’s Field Services Management application streamlines this process and can be leveraged for onboarding a new store or new service with streamlined tasks and asset management.
Suppliers and Vendors
The suppliers and vendors who balance relationships with multiple stores must also work with IT Infrastructure team for services. With CSM partner’s capability, these entities can maintain their relationships across multiple stores and keep their interactions with the IT Infrastructure team organized.
Collaboration among Stores with Communities
Collaboration amongst communities is an essential component of a self-service strategy. Along with knowledge, communities allow store employees to get quick answers to their issues by crowdsourcing and troubleshooting with their peers in other stores. By encouraging team members to work together across the franchise, this approach enables employees to solve their own technical issues, thereby deflecting additional work from the support teams.
IT Infrastructure Service Management
With ServiceNow’s ITSM applications (Incident, Problem, Change, etc), organizations can separate their internal service Management processes, thus enabling clients to delineate their internal support and store or franchise support. This redirects any issues related to shared infrastructure or hosted services over to internal teams, who then manage the issues with the capability of communicating to individual stores as needed. For example, if a server responsible for hosting all of a company’s stores in its east zone is experiencing slowdowns, the IT support team manages the incident and can send out a notice to all of the affected stores to alert them of the slowdowns. This streamlined and centralized communication provides a clear, proactive service experience to each of the individual stores.
The organization can also support their consumers using the CSM B2C models, with omnichannel support, streamlining their support teams and strategy along both B2B and B2C.
In addition to the capabilities outlined above, ServiceNow’s platform provides a host of other features like responsive and modern self-service portals, Knowledge management, surveys, and reporting, to help transform your customer service into a modern and efficient experience. Contact us to learn more about how Acorio has teamed with multiple grocery and convenience stores to provide a connected, effortless, and proactive service experience to their stores, as well as their consumers, with ServiceNow’s CSM.
To learn more about ServiceNow’s CSM capabilities, check out our webinar How Digital Transformation and ServiceNow are Revolutionizing the Customer Experience.