Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Increasing teamwork between departments, part of Innovative Customer Service Techniques.
- Have you ever experienced a service failure because something just fell through the cracks? Perhaps you've seen this in your organization. You did what you needed to do, but someone else dropped the ball, or it might've been nobody's fault, it could've just been the system that was broken. Teamwork is the key to preventing many of these situations, especially when multiple people are required to deliver service. If you buy a piece of furniture, there are multiple people who must work together from the time of purchase until the time your furniture is delivered to your home.
If you go to the doctor, there are multiple people who must work together to ensure you and your insurance company are billed correctly for your visit. Even making this training video requires multiple people to work together. So, how do problems happen? It can be easy to get frustrated and assume that someone else on the team just doesn't care about doing a good job. I've learned that's not usually the case. There are typically other causes. Here are a few examples. Sometimes conflict happens when people have different goals.
A salesperson might be focused on making their sales quota while someone in operations is trying to meet their production target and someone else in logistics is just trying to make their goal for on-time delivery. These goals don't have to cancel each other out, but it can seem that way. Transparency is a solution. Service teams should get together and try to understand each other's goals. It's also helpful to have a shared goal, such as customer satisfaction, that unites the team around a common cause.
Teamwork can suffer when people face pressure from multiple directions. In one company, the research and development team felt bombarded with competing requests from different departments. Marketing wanted to prioritize projects they could advertise, customer service wanted to prioritize projects that would solve problems for customers. Finance wanted to prioritize projects that would save the most money. In situations like this, it can feel impossible to make everyone happy. The best approach is to bring these different groups together and agree upon a common direction.
Sometimes different components of a service process have different owners. These owners might not approach service the same way. Let's say you damage your cellphone and need a new one. The contact center you call might be outsourced to a third party. The phone might be shipped out by a warehouse owned by your wireless company, but a separate company actually delivers the phone to your doorstep. One of the worst things that can happen in this situation is blame. What if your phone gets delivered to the wrong address? The shipping company might blame the contact center.
The contact center might blame the shipping company. Your wireless company may or may not have a process for sorting it all out. For customers, this can be a nightmare. Once again, the best way to solve this process is to get everyone on the team on the same page, and fix some of these broken processes. You might notice a theme here. Great teams all share the same goals and work together towards achieving them. Now, getting everyone together might be tough if you work on the frontlines, however, there are two things you can do.
First, go the extra mile to solve the problem for your customers. One of the worst things you can do is see a problem, but not fix it because you feel it's someone else's job. It often takes someone like you to step up and prevent a small problem from getting worse. The second thing you can do is share the feedback with someone who can fix the process. Don't assume that your boss knows about the issue unless you tell them. A lack of teamwork can be frustrating. I encourage you to approach these situations constructively. Don't assume it's anyone's fault or that someone is causing the problem on purpose.
Try to be that person who brings people together so you can collaborate and agree upon a solution.
- Identifying the most important customer need
- Making wait time more bearable
- Improving your power of observation
- Avoiding directed attention fatigue
- Increasing teamwork