Delivering a seamless end-to-end customer service experience is crucial to staying competitive. But how can ServiceNow’s CSM solution help you do that? We explore what makes CSM so special and how it can transform your customer service delivery.
To stand out in today’s market, how you deliver services matters just as much – if not more – than the service itself.
You may have come across the phrase ‘experience-as-a-service’ as more and more organisations seek to leverage intelligent cloud solutions to deliver a faster, more efficient, and seamless service experience to their customers.
When a customer has an issue, query, or something that’s not working correctly, not only do you need to know about it, but you’re now expected to resolve it quickly, transparently and via their preferred channel of communication.
ServiceNow’s Customer Service Management (CSM) product is designed to help you meet – and even exceed – these ever-changing, ever-increasing expectations. So below, you’ll find everything you need to know about CSM, including what it is, what it does, why you should use it and the benefits it’ll bring you.
ServiceNow CSM explained
In a nutshell, Customer Service Management orchestrates tasks between customers, customer service agents and other teams to quickly resolve issues and requests.
It ensures that when a customer raises a request, that request is quickly assigned to a relevant team or individual with all the tools and information needed to resolve it as efficiently as possible.
And, because resolving customer issues often requires involvement beyond the customer service team, CSM makes it easy for the involved parties to communicate and operate from shared case information for better collaboration.
CSM helps you bring your customer service and support operations together on the same platform. By having everything managed in one place, you can gain real-time visibility into the health and operational status of your customer-facing products and services.
In doing so, you can evolve your customer service capabilities with powerful AI and analytics to pre-empt issues and resolve tickets faster, keeping customer satisfaction high.
Why use ServiceNow CSM?
To maintain your competitive edge and succeed in today’s fast-paced, digital-driven landscape, customer retention and loyalty are key.
The quality of a company’s services, especially when things go wrong, will make or break your chances for success. With so many options to choose from, if you can’t meet your customers’ expectations – they’ll leave.
So, customers need to be kept happy and their needs met, but how can you achieve that?
The answer lies in adopting a holistic and omnichannel approach. What on earth does that mean? Well, by connecting your departments and establishing automated workflows, you can offer your customers a variety of ways to interact with you and maintain a consistent experience, even if that interaction spreads across chat, phone, text or email.
With your people, processes and workflows all joined up, you can look to measure, enhance and improve your customer service, even reaching the point where you can identify and resolve issues before they impact customers.
And, if you can’t resolve it before then, you do have the ability to proactively notify customers about the impact, so they feel reassured and trust that you have everything in hand.
With CSM, you can resolve issues faster, identify them sooner, and offer your customers a seamless and informed experience from start to finish, which gives you a massive edge in ensuring your customers stay where they belong – with you.
A classic use case for CSM is helping your customers access support services that you provide to them under an agreement or service contract. CSM provides a system of record specifically tailored for managing customer enquiries.
It gives you a complete view of the customer, the support services they’re subscribed to, any assets under support, the contracts and SLAs that apply to them and how those assets are configured.
A typical scenario might include the following steps:
- The customer logs into the ServiceNow CSM portal to start the support journey, which can be branded and styled to match your company experience.
- They can access a front-facing knowledge base full of helpful and searchable information that may help to address their query – potentially diverting the need to even ask for assistance.
- Within the portal, they can perform self-service actions and access a list of assets and contacts associated with their account without needing to call up for information.
- They can start a chat with either a live agent or a virtual agent for an interactive answer to their problem. You can also engage with the customer where they are with supported integration for Chat through SMS, WhatsApp and Teams, to name but a few.
- Once the customer asks for help, CSM provides you with a 360 view of the customer and their enquiry, which assets and services are involved, and creates a customer service case record to manage the customer-centric aspects of the enquiry.
- CSM can use details held in the configuration management database (CMDB) to automatically route the case to the team and agent most likely to be able to solve the issue.
- On the customer side, they can keep track of the case status and updates from the portal and add extra comments and attachments.
- On the agent side, the CSM Workspace empowers you to prioritise and pick up incoming cases in order of urgency. Existing knowledge articles are automatically surfaced to provide potential solutions, and a troubleshooting playbook allows you to work through a potential solution with the customer before escalating.
- Once a solution is provided, the customer can easily accept the solution from the portal. If configured to do so, CSM can track the support entitlements in cases or hours automatically. It then adds the contract and SLA metrics to a dashboard so managers and executives can understand the overall health and customer experience.
- After the case is closed, a survey is sent to the customer to understand their perception of the service received, enabling you to make targeted improvements.
Benefits of ServiceNow CSM
Keeping customers happy is priority #1 and implementing ServiceNow CSM offers several key benefits to get you there:
Faster service, lower costs
Any operational inefficiencies will drive up costs at a time when budgets are getting squeezed – a cost that will likely get passed on to your customers eventually.
By using the AI, analytics and machine learning capabilities included as part of CSM, you can automate your admin and offer self-service options to help customers find an answer faster without taking time away from your team.
This reduces the time spent on unnecessary tickets and tasks, freeing up your agents to add value where they’re most needed thus improving your productivity and reducing overall costs.
If you can then pass that saving onto customers, well, being able to offer a better service for less than your competitors is a recipe for success.
A more powerful and personalised customer experience
Your customers want you to be knowledgeable, helpful and friendly across whichever channels they choose.
With CSM you can keep track of their communication preferences and ensure that your team are always up to date with a particular customer’s case as the details travel with it. This prevents the customer from re-explaining the issue each time and fosters a more personalised interaction.
It’s also important to remember that many people now prefer to find a solution on their own rather than jump straight into a call or chat with one of your agents.
As such, self-service options have become expected. CSM allows you to catalogue your services so customers can quickly navigate to the product or service they need help with. This could be a simple password reset or a request to make changes to their product or service, for example.
The items in your catalogue are linked to digital workflows which automate the process and reduce the need for human touchpoints, accelerating resolution time and cutting out any unnecessary steps.
Above all, customers want issues or requests resolved as quickly as possible with minimal effort required on their part. CSM is instrumental in achieving this and, according to a 2021 report by the Aberdeen Group, organisations using it have seen their year-on-year customer satisfaction scores increase by 29%.
Connect teams and systems for greater efficiency
Resolving a customer’s issue often involves more than just the customer service agent. It may require input or support from other internal, and even external, teams or individuals.
CSM provides that connection. Without it, customer tickets can get stuck in limbo or fall through the gaps between siloed teams or technology.
If that connection is in place, however, not only can your people collaborate effectively and act on shared information, but you can also enhance the process with intelligent AI and workflows.
CSM can directly route tasks to the relevant department, even bypassing the contact centre to speed up resolution if necessary.
Let’s take a quick look at the typical journey a customer request might go through:
- A customer raises a request that enters the system via one of the following channels: Walk-ups, Chats, Email, Phone, Social Media.
- This request then becomes a ‘work item’ that is automatically added to a relevant queue based on the channel it came through and any related attributes.
- The work item in a queue is then assigned to an agent based on created rules as well as the agent’s capacity, availability and skills.
- Overflow queues ensure the work item keeps moving from agent to agent until it’s accepted – helping to avoid tickets getting stuck in a backlog.
The great advantage of CSM is that the entire process above can be automated. It helps you effectively manage capacity and keep tickets moving without any human touchpoints required.
This reduces your mean time to resolution by automatically taking the most efficient steps to get the ticket resolved. And when the ticket does arrive with the assigned agent, CSM will provide suggested fixes and workflows that can be enabled with a single click – providing a streamlined experience for both agent and customer, making CSM a win for everyone involved.
Powerful analytics for continuous improvement
To deliver the ultimate customer service experience, you’ll want to get to a place where your approach is no longer reactive but proactive.
The very best customer service organisations are able to inform their customers about an issue vs. discovering it when a ticket is raised. But to be able to do so, you need accurate, real-time insights that you can act on.
CSM gives you that visibility into how your customer-facing services are performing, allowing you to identify bottlenecks, capacity issues, or repeated tickets. All of which offer you the opportunity to improve service delivery, reduce resolution time, and increase customer satisfaction.
Over time, you’ll be able to use CSM to scale your operations and handle more issues, cases and support tasks without the need for additional resources – whilst continuously innovating new ways to improve the quality of your customer service.
Key features of ServiceNow CSM
Whilst CSM comes with a whole raft of features and functionality, we’ve pulled out some of the key ones to be aware of:
- Omnichannel communications: Meet your customers where they are, whether it’s on social media, email or messaging platforms.
- The CSM Portal: A single, personalised location for customers to update information, submit and review cases, access your knowledge base and choose from a catalogue of self-service and support options.
- Case management and playbooks: These enable your agents to track and handle customer queries. They help apply a consistent workflow and guide the resolution process with recommended decisions and actions.
- Advanced work assignment: Automatically route work items to the agents with the required skills and available capacity.
- Asset and install base: Establish a transparent and consistent database of supported customer assets and services. This helps to identify any impacted customers in the event of any disruption.
- Data models: CSM offers both B2B and B2C data models, allowing you to categorise and manage groups and users by households, accounts, partners or vendors.
- Contract and entitlement management: Easily identify which assets are covered by agreements and manage both contracts and the support entitlements available to specific customers.
- Integration to Field Service and IT Service Management: Pass client issues between other ServiceNow products for faster resolution without loss of information and maintain visibility of progress.
CSM vs. CRM
It’s not hard to see why there’s confusion between these two terms. Both customer service management (CSM) and customer relationship management (CRM) have a role to play, but they serve slightly different purposes.
CRM is primarily designed to support your sales and marketing activity and offers a more reactive approach to engaging with customers. CRM helps you to engage with customers across multiple channels and, whilst it can track cases and manage customer information, it isn’t a complete end-to-end solution – which is where CSM comes in.
CSM provides a single platform to manage the entire customer service journey. Everything can be tracked, traced and referred to, with information and communication taking place in the same workspace.
It’s a solution focused on solving customer issues in the most effective way possible, whereas CRM is more of a customer communication and lead management tool.
ServiceNow CSM licensing
Like many of ServiceNow’s products, CSM comes in three packages to choose from, Standard, Professional and Enterprise.
Whilst Standard will help you organise, manage and improve the way you handle customer queries, Pro and Enterprise are where the advanced AI and analytics benefits kick in.
Start your journey to superior customer service
CSM is designed to integrate and complement the rest of the ServiceNow platform and isn’t typically a starting point or one-off investment, usually adding to, or building on top of, ServiceNow’s ITSM and ITOM functionality.
So, we’d recommend looking beyond just the CSM element when thinking about adopting the platform. The more integrated your overall IT management is, the better your results will be from CSM.
- CSM is ServiceNow’s end-to-end customer service management solution.
- It provides one place to manage the entire process as well as any interaction or communication required to resolve a ticket – even when external support is required.
- By operating on one platform, CSM offers powerful AI and machine learning abilities that can automate and enhance ticket assignment and resolution workflows.
- CSM provides real-time insights and analytics to help you proactively prevent and communicate issues to customers before a ticket is raised.
- By offering a speedy, personalised and omnichannel experience, you’ll increase customer satisfaction and retain their loyalty – a key advantage in today’s competitive market.