Even if your customers are happy today, wouldn’t you like to make them happier?
Highly satisfied customers are critical to the long-term success of almost every business. They’re important not only because they tend to make more (and larger) purchases, but also because they can become ambassadors for your company, sharing their positive experiences through online reviews and in conversations with their friends, family and colleagues. The more satisfied customers you have, the more likely it is that your sales leads and prospects are hearing good things about you.
Building a high level of customer satisfaction requires commitments in several areas, including product and service quality, employee training and customer support infrastructure, just to name a few. Companies can improve their results in all of these areas, and ultimately improve their overall customer satisfaction, by facilitating collaboration throughout the organization.
When you provide additional opportunities for collaboration—both between employees and with external customers and partners—you can improve customer satisfaction in several ways:
- Faster service: when employees work together, they are able to combine their skill sets and resolve difficult issues more quickly and effectively.
- A more personal touch: workplace collaboration (especially through shared documentation) gives employees access to more information about customers, which helps them build a more personal relationship with each customer.
- Social engagement: employees who connect with each other through social media typically feel more engaged and empowered, which leads to higher morale and better job performance.
- Execute on customer feedback: being able to collect customer feedback while you are providing a product or service is critical to customer satisfaction and closes the gap between what is sold and what gets delivered.
With these benefits in mind, here’s a look at some of the best strategies to increase internal and external collaboration in your business.
Evaluate Your Company Culture
Employees and partners can only collaborate effectively when a company encourages cross-department and cross-functional communication. If your company has an old-fashioned approach to communication and project management, in which senior leaders simply dictate the approach to be followed by their subordinates, you may be missing out on brilliant ideas that employees don’t feel they are able to share. Try to create a culture in which employees feel free to exchange ideas and participate in decisions about how they will do their work. This also applies when working with external customers. Where you have a more transparent relationship you also have a robust dialogue and no surprises when it comes to setting expectations and delivering on service commitments.
Encourage Face-to-Face Interaction
Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation for building a sense of team unity, but gathering a team together in a conference room isn’t as easy as it once was. Today, many companies are moving toward a more decentralized workforce, employing a combination of onsite workers, remote workers, contractors and overseas employees. In these situations, getting team members together in person can be expensive and impractical. Videoconferencing tools can provide an effective alternative. Yet even for these solutions, it can be difficult to coordinate time zones, assign and keep track of tasks and deliverables and get everyone on the same page.
Take Advantage of Technology
Even when team members are able to gather (in person or virtually) for regular meetings, they will likely spend most of their time working individually or in small groups. This does not mean that collaboration has to stop when a meeting ends. In fact, modern project management and collaboration tools allow employees and partners to collaborate continuously throughout the day, on their own terms. Online collaboration software like Clarizen provides intuitive, highly customizable tools that let team members collaborate with “in-context” conversations that incorporate documents, emails, meeting notes and instant messages. They also provide one place where partners and customers can collaborate with your organization, provide input and help you keep your projects and service deliveries on track. Companies that adopt an online collaboration platform often see dramatic results in efficiency, productivity and employee morale.
Looking for more information about Increasing internal and external collaboration in your business? Learn more about Clarizen’s external collaborator solution, by watching “The Future of Customer Collaboration” on demand today.