When you think about how to align your customer service team with your company’s goals, what comes to mind? Do you visualize customer service, sales, marketing, and product development side-by-side, learning from each other and working together to retain customers?
Then you are on the right track! An old-fashioned perspective might see these departments working in silo, each having different objectives and methods of achieving them.
In the new, customer-centered model of business, all parts of the company work together as a whole to create a great customer experience. This doesn’t happen by accident. It takes strong leadership and good planning to get everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction. But thorough execution pays off. Companies who have successfully aligned department goals have seen up to 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.
Promote integration within your company
When the different departments within your company don’t communicate, each department might have a narrow-minded idea of its function within the company. For instance, if your sales team just worries about meeting its targets by any means necessary, they might promise new customers product features that are only in development – or not even planned. Then customer service will have to deal with all the disappointed customers who call to complain when the truth is discovered.
This promotes ill-feeling within the company, but even worse, your customers suffer. Clear communication is vital when solving the problem of how to align your customer service with the other divisions in your company.
Have a clear idea of who your customers are
A great way to unite all your departments is to promote the idea that they all have the main goal of creating a great customer experience. In order to do that, you have to know exactly who your ideal customers are. Customer profiles can help everyone get a clear idea of your target demographic and see them as real people, not just abstractions.
Align your customer service through cross-team training sessions
When everyone in your company has some understanding all the different processes in the organization, they’ll be able to address problems from a new perspective. For instance, if your sales team sits in on a customer service call and sees for themselves the consequences of creating customer expectations that can never be met, they’ll be able to see how they need to re-align their actions.
For example, a customer service team who really understand the sales journey can help by referring customers who need upgrades to the sales team.
Most of all, shared experiences increase understanding among all your teams. Your customers can only benefit. When thinking of how to align your customer service with your greater goals, maybe you should really be thinking of how to align your greater goals with your customer service.
Your customer service team knows your customers
Your support team is plugged into your customers like no one else. In some ways they have the best knowledge of customer needs and desires, which is a valuable resource to guide the rest of the company. However, there can be a problem with too much information. How can your customer service team identify what is important and needs to be passed on to the product team?
An important part of how to align your customer service is to have a clear mission and product goals that are communicated to everyone in the company.
If your customer service team has access to your product roadmaps, specs, and design mockups, they’ll be able to tell what customer feedback the product team needs to hear, and what is not relevant to the product in question.
Your customer service team is also well-placed to pass on customer suggestions to the development team. Everyone benefits from an improved product, and customers love to see their that their voices have been heard. This creates brand loyalty and improves your reputation.
Keep your brand consistent
Your customers don’t care about your internal organization schematics. They expect a consistent experience whether they’re dealing with sales, marketing, customer service, or any other section of the company. They also expect you to remember them across channels.
If they gave information to a sales rep, your social-media guru should be able to access it if the customer sends a Facebook message.
There are few things customers hate more than having to repeat themselves, and a good CRM and good inter-departmental communication means they won’t have to.
Organize everything in one easily accessible place
This could be an extensive software system or a Trello board – the important thing is that everyone has access and can see how the company as a whole is doing. If different teams only report to their own head of department, the company can easily fragment, with each team only concerned with its own goals.
Having a customer-feedback clearing center lets everyone see this important information. Accessible measurements for such things as: customer satisfaction, team performance for all divisions, productivity, the number and subject of support requests, and team member suggestions; lets everyone keep in mind the real numbers, making it easier to track trends and implement improvements.
Everyone can see the real numbers across the board, so action can be taken based on real data, not emotionally-based motives. For instance, if a few customers are really upset over a new feature, it might seem that it’s doing badly, when the reality is that most customers love it.
Give your outsourced teams in-house-quality training
It’s very common for a company to outsource at least some of its functions, especially customer service responsibilities. This is fine as long as you make the effort to maintain the quality of your customer experience.
Make sure everyone follows the same standards and meets the same KPIs. Show that you value everyone’s hard work, and set up rewards for outstanding performers whether they’re outsourced or work in your main office.
Aligning your company departments with a shared vision allows you all to work together, which increases engagement and improves your bottom line.