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Employee Collaboration to Benefit the Customer

Posted by on April 17, 2012

A little while ago I wrote an article on how employee collaboration and customer collaboration initiatives solve different problems.  I kept hearing about how one was more valuable or had a greater impact on the organization than the other but the truth was that they indeed addressed different needs for the organization.  However just because employee and customer collaboration solve different problems doesn’t mean that they don’t work together.  Employee collaboration can actually also greatly benefit the customer in several ways, consider the following:

  • A customer has an issue that needs to be resolved, this issue is crowd-sourced internally to find the best solution instead of just being routed to one person who may or may not have the answer.  Response time improves as does the quality of the response.
  • A customer submits a feature request or product idea, typically these ideas never make it past the person speaking with the customer, now these ideas can be shared and discussed internally and viability and feasibility can be quickly assessed and a response sent back to the customer.
  • Employees that are more engaged with the company and the work they do are going to provide a better experience to their customers.

Moxie Software (and soon Lithium) in fact recently announced their addition of new Spaces that can directly take knowledge and information from experts within the enterprise and share that with customers to help solve their problems.  But, as easy as it is for information to be taken from the enterprise and shared externally, it should be just as easy (and seamless) to take information externally and share it within the enterprise.

In any efficient kitchen restaurant you will find an “expediter,” someone that handles all the tickets that come into the kitchen, coordinates with the staff to make sure meals are prepared correctly and delivered with the highest quality, and that information is flowing from the kitchen to customers and from customers to the kitchen in a seamless and efficient way.  Call center personnel and customer service professionals that are the front-lines for all customer interactions are the new “expediters” for the enterprise and they are going to need to technologies and strategies in place to support this evolving role.

  • Good post, and one I wish we saw more of.  The only minor nitpick I’d make is that I think the notion of ‘expediters’ is spot on but at a more holistic level I think that role would exist within a center of excellence model (or what we call a Center of Gravity ) since that type of collaboration and crowdsourcing can be inter-departmental, with or without CS.  I understand though that your focus here was on interfacing knowledge by and between the customer and its source.

    Thanks for the great read.


    Matt Ridings – @techguerilla:disqus

    • Thanks Matt,

      Typically the team you’re discussing helps lead the change/strategy for the organization but not everyone that is customer facing will be a part of the e2.0 center of excellence, especially not all call center and customer service professionals.

      I’ve seen many organizations go with that approach but I’ve also seen many organizations (successful) not take that approach.

      I have a book coming out on this in a few months which discusses full strategy development for internal collaboration and it covers this as well.  It’s great to see more vendors working to bridge customer service/experience with internal collaboration.

      Thanks again for the comment Matt, always good to hear from you here!

  • Great article…

  • Employees are your internal customers. Everyone should learn this lesson from Zappos culture and employees treatment.

    Or take a look at Apple store experience, where the employees are essential ingredient to the success of the most profitable store in the world.

  • Your second bullet is a great point! Customers want to know they are being heard by the right people at your company. A customer service agent may not have the power to do anything with their suggestion, but someone else on your team probably does.