This is the SECOND blog in our series that explains why Collaboration is the Core of Service Management Excellence. In our first blog post, we explained The Value of Omnichannel Self-Service in the Digital Age and how it aligns all your company’s existing modes of communication into a single customer-focused experience. In this second article, we explain The Impact of Collaboration on Business Performance. Not only does collaboration positively affect your employees’ work, but it also affects your company’s financial performance, customer satisfaction, product quality, and its propensity for innovation. Collaboration can generate positive Returns on Investment (ROI) and increase profits by helping your Sales team turn prospects into customers. And collaboration helps retain those customers for years to come by improving their satisfaction with your products and services.
There is tremendous potential for IT Service Management (ITSM) to add service components as collaboration becomes more critical within your organization. Whether your IT engineers are speaking with customers about product and service issues, or your sales team is reaching out to prospects, those conversations need to be managed and understood. New and greater opportunities are centered around the belief that as you bring ITSM closer to omnichannel communications, collaboration will improve—often significantly.
The idea of integrating ITSM with omnichannel communications might spark a culture shock within some organizations, so this kind of change needs to be nurtured. One of the first steps you can take before you begin your digital transformation journey is to have a conversation with your IT team. Discuss how your ITSM system is deployed within your environment, what policies and procedures are in place, and what components are in transition (i.e., moves, adds, and changes). The answers to these questions (and others) will likely reveal that your company’s existing ITSM structure can be effectively leveraged to integrate, and improve, collaboration throughout your organization.
You have probably heard it said many times that collaboration is the key to success. But what does it mean to collaborate in the modern workplace? After all, the business landscape has changed quite a bit since COVID-19 blindsided the world, so it stands to reason that employees should also be collaborating differently. True collaboration is focused more on people than software, but the right tools can put your company on the right track. Software and workflows that make it difficult to collaborate and share information end up building silos and discouraging communication. Conversely, software—like ChangeGear Service Manager—boosts collaboration by simplifying teamwork, fostering communication, and breaking down silos in a world in which working from home is quickly becoming the norm. In fact, there are many more benefits to boosting collaboration than most people realize.
Collaboration Increases Innovation
Suppose you have a great idea for how to improve your company’s intranet in a way that would make everyone’s workday go a little smoother. Regardless of your role in the company or how talented you may be, you are going to need other people to help you bring your idea to fruition. You will need a way to share your ideas, discuss and solve the idea, and plan and track tasks to bring it to life. As time goes by, you will likely need to quickly expand the number of people involved in your project. You will need some sort of collaborative platform to provide all these services—and more.
Collaboration with coworkers, customers, business partners, and vendors via an ITSM system enabled with omnichannel communications helps speed innovation. Keeping everyone up to date on project progress, new opportunities, and potential challenges helps spur dialogue, so you can expedite the design and implementation of solutions.
Collaboration Makes Remote Teams More Efficient
Like it or not, we are in the era of remote work. But anyone who has ever worked this way knows how challenging it can be to manage remote teams—and collaboration is often the toughest obstacle of them all. When you struggle to get everyone on the same page with your ideas, many things are likely to veer off the track. Increased project costs, longer task completion times, and decreased productivity are just a few of the issues that managers and directors face nowadays.
However, there is a solution. An ITSM system enabled with omnichannel communications is especially useful for teams with remote workers because everyone can routinely update (and stay updated on) progress from anywhere in the world at time. Open collaboration also reduces the likelihood that remote employees feel siloed, and it encourages them to actively participate.
Collaboration Improves Communication Across Departments
When departmental functions are dispersed, clear and concise communication is more important than ever. Suppose, for example, someone in your Marketing department reports that a web server is down. While the Marketing department reported the problem, the Network team and IT Ops need to work together to investigate and fix it. When multiple departments are involved, communicating the overall context of an issue can be challenging. Though the primary owner of the request is the Network team, they interact closely with IT Ops to check whether the systems are up and running. ChangeGear Service Manager, along with omnichannel communications, solves the problem of connecting the Network team with IT Ops and Marketing so that all three teams can seamlessly communicate with each other—without losing the context of the issue.
Workplace Collaboration Increases Opportunities for Teaching and Learning
Other benefits of workplace collaboration include increased teaching and learning opportunities, reduced individual pressure, and more flexibility. Companies with a high percentage of Millennial employees have even greater adoption and satisfaction rates for ITSM systems that foster collaboration. There are many business and personal outcomes, including faster production cycles and a happier workforce, which all support the fact that collaboration is a key contributor to overall success.
When working together with an equal opportunity to share, employees learn from each other as they pool their talents and strengths, thereby expanding their skill sets and broadening their own knowledge. And since collaboration often requires input from several different teams, it also bolsters interdepartmental relationships. Working with people from other departments enables employees to “see” the connections between different corporate initiatives. Collaboration breaks down siloes and helps employees see the bigger picture and understand how their work relates to your company’s overall goals. Collaboration also provides a sense of purpose and value by giving employees a meaningful reason to work together.
Employee Engagement Increases Job Satisfaction and Retention
Employee requests not only spread across different support teams, but also across multiple self-service portals, email inboxes, text messages, phone calls, and other forms of communication. If not managed properly, this dispersion can lead to confusion regarding who to contact and frustration about broken communication channels between teams. Phone lines get busy, emails get ignored, and information gets lost in the shuffle. But IT Directors can solve these problems by encouraging everyone to use a single ITSM platform optimized to handle everyone’s requests.
Employee engagement is especially important for Millennials, who comprise the majority of today’s workforce. Companies need to ensure they are focused on making their employees feel valued for their unique skills as well as their input. Happy employees positively impact company culture, and lead to increased retention rates. Using a system like ChangeGear Service Manager and optimizing it with omnichannel communications increases ease-of-use, encourages collaboration, and improves communications throughout your entire organization. A streamlined ITSM system reassures employees that their leaders are equipped to address and support employee needs, regardless of which department a request originates from.
Collaboration Improves the Customer Experience and Satisfaction
In today’s competitive world, keeping customers happy is part of everyone’s job in the organization. Whether you work as a delivery driver for a supermarket, an Internet service installer, or a support agent at a service desk, these jobs all play a major role in delivering a great customer experience. Today, customers have many options to choose from, so businesses need to work hard to keep them happy. Collaboration is one way of ensuring that customers do not feel inclined to look at products or services from your competitors. When customer service agents work together on requests, answers are delivered more efficiently. The agent with the expertise to address the issue can either handle the ticket themselves, or help another agent figure out the answer faster than they could ever find it alone.
In addition to answering requests more efficiently, collaboration also enhances the quality of the information that customers receive. Collaboration allows agents with subject-matter expertise to solve the issues that they understand best. Because the subject-matter expertise of each agent can be leveraged to its greatest potential, the collective knowledge increases and makes your customer service team stronger overall.
Suppose, for example, a complex request comes into your service desk and a Tier 1 agent is the first person to see it. With a collaborative ITSM system in place, that agent can reach out to your entire service team for assistance. This not only provides a learning opportunity for the Tier 1 agent, but it also results in a faster answer for the customer and avoids having to transfer them from one agent to another until someone can finally solve their issue. When employees have fast and unlimited access to information via their coworkers in a collaborative environment, they can provide faster solutions, which leads to happier customers and longer lasting business relationships.
Organized Teamwork Increases Productivity
The rise of the global economy and distributed workforce means that organizations need to ensure that teams can work together seamlessly from anywhere at any time. Facilitating collaboration is key to improving employee productivity. Workplace collaboration is organized teamwork, which sets processes in place to ensure that employees work together to make better and faster decisions. Teams may utilize a wide variety of practices depending on their company and the project that they are working on, but collaboration is still the core of service management excellence. The goal of workplace collaboration is to increase success by fostering open communication among all team members across all departments and management levels.
Collaboration Reduces Costs, Increases Sales, and Improves ROI
A collaborative environment helps lower costs, shorten timelines, and increase Return on Investment (ROI) by connecting interdepartmental teams in complex business and cultural environments. Collaboration promotes common goals, foster shared values, and build stronger relationships. On the other hand, a breakdown in communication and lack of collaboration can lead to misunderstandings, delays, errors, and inefficiencies that negatively impact costs and ROI.
Collaboration helps your company better understand the needs of its customers, which has the power to increase the demand for your products/services and boost sales. ChangeGear Service Manager with omnichannel communications provides your entire organization with the tools it needs to collaborate with your customers. Ultimately, it up to you to implement and use those tools to your maximum advantage.
How Do You Create a Collaborative Work Environment?
In our third and final article, we explain The Power of Collaboration through Automation. Most IT personnel believe that ITSM automation is limited to relieving their teams of repetitive tasks. What many people do not realize, though, is that it also saves time and reduces the cost of the work being done. Additionally, automation empowers meaningful interactions and collaboration between service staff, customers, and other employees. Automated workflows integrated in an ITSM platform route requests to the proper party and then update team members who are collaborating on the task or project—so everyone stays informed and engaged. If requests need to be escalated, automation makes it simple to share the progress at any stage, without having to attend lengthy meetings or create and distribute status reports.