The Importance of Collaboration in the Contact Center
Why Sales and Customer Service Go Better Together
Many businesses often make the mistake of assuming that sales and customer service are mutually exclusive departments that should operate separately from one another – but nothing could be further from the truth.
Though the overall goal or focus for each department within the business is different – sales is largely responsible for bringing new customers in, whereas customer service largely focuses on tending to existing clientele – the two do share a lot of similarities and deliver better results when working together.
For instance, both departments communicate with clients on the front end either to influence their decisions as buyers (a more active approach) or listen to and help resolve any issues the customer has (a more passive approach). Though the two tones are different, agents from both departments are engaging with customers and, therefore, each shares the same opportunities to either deliver helpful service or secure new sales leads.
The key, then, is to find a way to help agents from each department easily detect when these opportunities arise and to provide them with all the tools and information they need to succeed. But how can contact center leaders accomplish this?
Why Collaboration is Key
For agents from both sales and customer service to work interchangeably and seize every chance that comes their way, there needs to be a system in place that enables them to collaborate effectively.
According to a recent survey from Fierce, 86% of employees and executives feel that a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication was the main cause of workplace failures. Why? Because if members of a team are unable to communicate clearly and access the information needed to get the job done, success is next to impossible.
Data flows through contact centers thick and fast, and keeping on top of it all can be a huge problem for any contact center of considerable size. Unfortunately, without a solution in place to control this flow of data and to allow agents to easily access information, collaboration can be tricky.
How Can Contact Centers Improve Collaboration?
One effective way that contact centers can improve interdepartmental collaboration between sales and customer service is to invest in top-quality computer telephony integration (CTI) software.
With this type of solution, it is much easier for agents in different departments to access customer information from the moment the interaction begins, giving them clear visibility of the customer’s history with the company.
For example, if an agent in sales is asked to answer a question from a repeat caller, the screen pop feature will pop the appropriate lead record as soon as the call is answered. CTI solutions also provide all the personal information and notes left by previous agents in call logs.
As a result, the agent can quickly respond to the customer’s query without having to source the information elsewhere. By helping the customer in this way, they are much more likely to close a deal after having built a bond of trust.
Likewise, agents working in customer service can use the information they see on screen to identify and act upon possible upsell opportunities. For example, let’s say a customer calls a contact center with a query regarding their cell phone bill. If the agent who answers the call can see that the client using more data than expected, they can use that information to initiate a conversation about sales to switch to a more appropriate phone plan.
Moreover, with CTI features like CRM screen transfer, agents can easily hand over all customer information, along with the call itself, directly to another agent. By doing this, a customer can quickly connect to an agent from another department within seconds, without ever being asked to repeat themselves or wait for the new agent to catch up.
As well as saving time for the customer and improving their experience significantly, this enhanced level of collaboration between sales and customer service significantly improves the performance levels of both departments. Rather than working independently to benefit only themselves, CTI solutions allow departments to communicate more effectively and to work together towards a common goal.
One of the main reasons why contact center leaders may still be reluctant towards installing a CTI solution into their business is that they feel doing so would be time consuming and disruptive. However, modern CTI technology has solved this issue. Web-based CTI solutions can be installed rapidly and rolled out across a network out of the box, with little to no impact on productivity rates.
Once installed, sales and service departments will be able to collaborate at a level far superior to anything that has come before. The business will improve, agents will become more efficient and customers will start noticing the enhancements immediately.