Should you start a shared services user group?
Finance shared services
Shared services professionals are increasingly realizing that customer service is of paramount importance. The best customer service will emerge when you understand your customers and your customers understand you.
So how do you make this happen? One way many service providers achieve this is through customer user groups.
Customer user groups are physical meetings between the service provider (the shared service center) and the customers (the business units that use the shared service center). These meetings can let your customers share knowledge, experiences and expertise with each other and with you.
To set up the user group, first decide on your location and dates. If your shared service center is conveniently located, hold it on site so your customers can meet you and see what you are all about.
Consider having a few speakers on the agenda. One should discuss performance at both the macro and micro level to give them a better understanding of how your shared services operate and the variation in performance between sites.
At the macro level, address the cost of running the shared service center, and overall cost per invoice. At the micro level, you can point out the differences between sites. Some sites may have 97% Purchase Order compliance, while other sites might have 3% and are responsible for a good deal of your costs. Addressing performance and KPIs you have can give your customers a benchmark as to how well they are performing.
You could also have some of your top-performing customers present on how they achieved their leading KPIs.
User groups can be a great opportunity to get to know your customers better, and can give you a good sense of how they perceive your shared services, and an excellent opportunity to get their feedback on your services.