Collaboration doesn’t happen by itself - it is fostered across the organization. Here is how technology can help an organization facilitate this process.
Creating the right environment for effective collaboration takes thought and insight. There are often roadblocks. The top three barriers to successful collaboration are:
- A lack of clear vision from leadership
- Siloed organization with a lack of inter-departmental working
- A risk-averse culture
The behavior of senior leadership is one of the most critical factors driving successful collaboration. Leaders need to go beyond articulating their clear vision and what is required. They must also walk to talk. Senior leadership drives successful collaboration, and their behavior sends a massive message to employees.
Once you have decided to go all-in with collaboration, consider the benefits of your service desk as a critical component. Technology will help you meet your goals. The question for IT teams is how to keep up with demand effectively and align with your business needs.
5 Steps to Creating the Right Environment for Collaboration
This first step begins with the service desk, followed by four steps to enterprise-wide collaboration. First, make room for increased collaboration with self-service. Self-service indeed allows for a significant reduction in the burden on the service desk. Employee adoption soars with FAQs, rich knowledge, instructional videos, and the ability to automate basic tasks. In addition, the service desk benefits from having fewer tickets and more time to deal with incoming incidents and requests ordered by priority. Teams can more easily address high-priority issues. Employees can share information and expertise for tickets and draw experts into the discussions. As a result, more work gets completed, and collaboration soars.
There are barriers to collaboration that should be acknowledged, but technology is at the top of the list. In fact, technology is at the bottom of the barrier list.
The role of leadership is critical to successful collaboration. Executives should not just articulate their clear vision, but they should be examples. Behaviors send a strong message, and those leaders in the early stages of shifting toward more collaboration are task-oriented, engage in debates, communicate clear goals, and clarify each team member's responsibilities. In addition, as a business shifts to new ways of working, leaders should provide regular feedback to foster and reinforce the new culture.
Technology enables change. Collaboration is not a separate thing. Automating and adapting business processes and realigning business models are fundamental to collaboration. It needs to facilitate the digital translation of meeting rooms and common areas as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes. It also needs to work with senior managers to ensure that collaboration tools are used consistently. Embed collaboration into your operations and the technology to ensure they support your business processes.
There are common pitfalls to collaboration. Be on the lookout. Once you roll out collaboration platforms, stick with them. Too often, companies start strong, then the momentum wanes. Move away from dependency on emails to instead use your collaboration platforms.
Collaboration Can be More Challenging with Remote Workers
Unlike before the pandemic, teams are spread out geographically, making collaboration more challenging. Collaborative support goes beyond what we call the “new normal.” Some 16% of remote workers expect to stay remote.
Focus on collaborative-centric service for the IT service desk and all teams and departments. Customer-centricity puts customers at the core of your initiatives. That includes implementing automation and all service delivery. It is not that the customer is always right, but this prioritizes customer needs.
An intelligent service management software system keeps that customer-centric mindset. If you have collaborative tools to connect your team, you can better anticipate your customers’ needs even when they are spread apart.
Know Your Customers
Where does your team start to build a customer-centric operation? First, take a hard look at each type of customer to understand their needs for each moment or touchpoint. Next, learn to identify various customer personas and map their journeys.
Of course, collaborative support is key to customer-centricity. You must provide customers with a consistent experience with a coordinated effort. IT management software, coupled with effective self-service portals for agents and customers, helps ensure that the correct information is delivered correctly. As a result, those working on a ticket can do so without creating too many extra steps for agents or customers.
IT service management software can be customer-centric when you create collaborative support by providing multiple support channels through which customers can access your service desk and support agents. Agents can then directly communicate and track progress to resolve a ticket.
You can also provide multi-experience apps tailored to your customer's needs on whatever device they prefer, be it a tablet, smartwatch, or cell phone. When you provide customers with an IT support experience that meets their needs where they are, you are practicing customer-centric thinking.
Using cloud-based software can improve communication and help create a collaborative support system focused on the customer.
Measure Customer-Centric Success
Measure a few metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine if your collaborative environment is thriving. The KPIs can be specific to either self-service or the service desk as a whole. Doing this allows you to find ways to optimize and boost service desk efficiencies.
Determine Your Customer Lifetime Value
Customer lifetime value indicates the total revenue a business can expect from a specific customer. This is important to the IT desk because agents can calculate which customers will bring in the most revenue to prioritize ticket handling.
Make Customer-Centric Culture Your Focus
Keep customers at the center of your business and keep all parties in the loop by creating a customer-centric service desk. To do this, the entire team must be cohesive and connected. Keeping the customer at the center of your business universe results in more focused outcomes that power digital transformation.
Ruben Franzen is president of TOPdesk.