Why Building Strong Internal Partnerships Is Critical to the Success of Contact Centers and Their Leaders
In an environment as dynamic, high-profile and often stressful as a contact center, it can be challenging for contact center leaders to focus on their own professional success.
As a former contact center leader myself, I understand that firsthand. Throughout my career, I’ve found there are critical actions necessary to achieve this. One of the most important is developing strong internal partnerships.
No Contact Center Operates in Isolation
Success doesn’t happen on an island. You simply can’t go it alone. In fact, your ability to develop strong partnerships with other departments—IT, operations, finance, product and marketing—will be an important factor in your success.
Let’s look at each of these departments individually.
IT and Operations
Your entire contact center infrastructure, including your network, software, bandwidth and telecom services, requires some level of support from the IT and operations teams.
That means building a strong relationship with those teams is essential. I suggest you meet with leaders of these teams to ask questions that will help you understand how their departments function, including how your contact center interacts with them, and how you can support each other.
If you actively collaborate, your ability to deliver a high-quality customer experience will improve. In fact, when you take on any new contact center leader role, make sure one of your first conversations is with IT and operations.
Nearly everything you do in your contact center, from increasing your budget to hiring additional employees, will require finance’s approval. Just as important, finance can help you with budgeting and forecasting. So, it’s not surprising I’ve never seen a successful contact center leader who didn’t have a great relationship with finance.
If you aren’t aware of new or updated product offerings, your team’s ability to assist customers is compromised. You never want your agents to respond with, “I don’t know,” when customers ask questions about products and services.
Two-way communication is also essential. Since the contact center is in constant contact with customers, you are well-positioned to provide value to the product team by communicating customers’ product-related requests and feedback, which can help effectively drive the product roadmap.
When you’re in regular contact with the product team, you’ll always know about new solutions or changes well in advance of release, and you’ll have the time you need to prepare your agents.
Marketing campaigns can lead to increased interactions for your contact center, and customers are likely to have questions about special offers or promotions. Your agents need to be equipped with the right information so they have intelligent conversations with customers.
When a customer is excited about a special promotion, you don’t want to dampen that enthusiasm with a response like: “What email are you talking about? I haven’t seen it.”
How to Build Internal Partnerships
Building relationships with other departments doesn’t have to be complicated. Invite them to coffee. Set up regular meetings. Ask questions such as, “How can we work together today and in the future?”
Once you open the door, you’ll start to understand how you can regularly work together. You may decide to set up bi-weekly meetings to share information and avoid negative surprises. Use these meetings to let other departments know of any changes, issues or upcoming needs in the contact center. Soon, these interactions will be a natural, ongoing process that delivers benefits to all.
Download the e-book
Get more in-depth information about how to build internal partnerships in the Serenova e-book, 5 Critical Actions for Successful Contact Center Leaders. You’ll also learn about four other important actions contact center leaders should take, including key metrics to track, why it’s important to develop your personal leadership philosophy and more.
Jen Jackson is Vice President of Customer Success at Serenova, where she leads the global team dedicated to helping customers achieve quantifiable business outcomes and exceptional customer experiences. Her career includes deep contact center experience and leadership roles at Dell, as well as emerging companies like Kinnser Software (now WellSky) and Neverfail Group. Jen is known for a people-first philosophy of leadership aligned with today’s workforce and technology.