Every organization knows that customer collaboration is essential. Yet many organizations would frankly admit that their customer collaboration is broken, though perhaps they would point to communication issues or feedback troubles. Nevertheless, it all boils down to the same thing: Instead of cohesion and clarity, too many of their engagements are riddled with confusion and chaos. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that organizations struggling with broken customer collaboration don’t need to hope for the best, yet brace for impact. Instead, they can regain control and go from broken to brilliant by following these 5 rules:
- Use a Collaborative Work Management (CWM) Workspaces
Spreadsheets and emails are the enemies of effective collaboration. A CWM workspace is an intuitive, one-stop shop portal that gives customers access to all of their projects, files, conversations and requests. Furthermore, there should be no learning curve, and new people that onboard to customer teams should ramp-up and start collaborating within minutes.
- Make Collaboration Mobile-Friendly
Just like internal teams, customers should easily stay in-the-loop and participate in discussions using apps on their tablet and smartphone. Effective collaboration can’t and won’t happen if they only way that customers can engage is by logging in through their desktop, or if the mobile experience is time consuming and tedious.
- Put Collaboration in Context
Putting collaboration in context involves automatically and organically connecting social context, tasks and projects on a single cloud-based platform. This ensures that work is ushered forward along its journey towards resolution, and neither teams nor customers are “collaborating for the sake of collaborating.” Frankly, when that happens, it’s not collaboration at all, it’s conversing.
- Reports Should be Insightful, Actionable and Role-Based
Customers can’t collaborate if the reports they get are inaccessible or irrelevant. As such, organizations should deliver customized reports that are insightful (e.g. real-time visibility into performance and KPIs), actionable (e.g. pivoting data in multiple ways to get a 360 degree perspective), and role-based (e.g. specifically targeted for different stakeholders within the customer’s ecosystem).
- Communication Should be Secure
It’s more meta than the rules above, but security considerations are important to all customers, and essential to some. As such, collaboration tools should follow industry-standard practices that safeguard the privacy of all documents and data, and the software architecture should be designed to prevent security breaches regardless of the source, including those are triggered from the customers’ side.
In a Nutshell
Broken customer collaboration is surprisingly common. But the situation certainly isn’t beyond repair. Organizations that follow these 5 rules (and activate them with the right CWM project and portfolio management solution) will go from struggling with confusion and chaos, to reaping the rewards of unprecedented cohesion, clarity and customer satisfaction.