Is it time to rethink your approach to collaboration?

How have Twitter, Facebook, self-service communities and social media outlets changed the way your customer-facing teams collaborate?

To date, many businesses have already begun embracing social networks to help them attract and retain more customers, and to sell more products and services. To do that, businesses must overlay social capabilities onto their marketing, sales and service practices.

But social media and mobility also offer new opportunities for improving how customer-facing teams collaborate. In addition, social networks now make it easier for businesses to collaborate with their customers, for example when it comes to listening for the best ways to improve their products or services.

4 Social Team Collaboration Best Practices

What’s the best way to ensure that your marketing, sales and service teams can improve their ability to collaborate with each other — as well as with customers — using social media? Based on Innoveer’s extensive CRM experience, we’ve identified these four best practices as the best place to begin:

  • Knowledge capture: Collect product insights from employees using social technology, to better support outreach (marketing), accounts (sales), and cases (service)
  • Account team support: Target improved communications between all customer-facing teams to better attract prospects and retain customers
  • Case escalation: Service or design issues not being resolved quickly enough? Automatically escalate them using social technology
  • Optimize workloads: Apply social technology to balance employees’ workloads, facilitating peak performance

Here’s more about each best practice, and how to put them into play:

Share Knowledge

Some businesses — especially high-technology companies — have become expert at creating self-service communities, in which their customers largely troubleshoot other customers’ technical issues. Likewise, many of these firms also have knowledge management systems (intranets, wikis, knowledgebases, and beyond) that capture internal knowledge.

Accordingly, why not take the next step? Employ knowledge collaboration tools to enable employees — and where relevant, customers — to contribute knowledge on products, accounts, cases, and opportunities using social technology, and then tie this information back into internal documentation and processes to make them even better. Indeed, such information can be invaluable for sales, marketing and service efforts, not to mention product engineering teams.

Enable Account Teams To More Easily Collaborate

When weighing collaboration capabilities, don’t just look intra-team, but also at the bigger picture, meaning how marketing, sales and service groups — not to mention HR, finance, quality and manufacturing — can collaborate with each other, in pursuit of attracting the most new customers and improving the customer experience. To achieve this, many of Innoveer’s customers have been rethinking not only how they interact with customers, but also how tools such as Chatter, Yammer, and Jive can improve their collaboration capabilities.

Escalate Problem Cases

From a service standpoint, how can social technology deliver a better customer experience? For starters, consider using social media tools to automatically escalate cases that aren’t being resolved in a specified timeframe or meeting specified quality — aka customer satisfaction — levels.

In fact, many frontline service agents, as well as service managers, have already reported to us that social media tools have enabled them to boost their productivity. In part, that’s due to the asynchronous communication capabilities of a Facebook-like tool such as Chatter. Being able to post a query to resolve a tricky issue, for example, can help agents more quickly wrap cases while still on the phone with customers, without themselves having to wait in a phone queue to speak with their manager.

Optimize Workloads

When it comes to embracing social CRM, file workload optimization under “advanced skills.” Even so, expect more businesses to employ social technology to better balance employees’ workloads. For example, could your service group begin looking at the number of cases that agents are handling in the contact center, or even the quality of customer interactions, and use Chatter to distribute them in a different way when roadblocks occur?

Detail Business Outcomes First, Technology Second

Rather than just “pursuing team collaboration” or focusing first on technology, when it comes to using social media, it’s important to first define explicit business goals for each team collaboration best practice. By focusing on these outcomes, and then putting the right techniques and technology in place to achieve them, you’ll ensure that your approach to team collaboration results in tangible — and measurable — increases across your marketing, sales and service programs, including the customer experience.

Learn More

Why become a social business? With more than 800 million people using Facebook, and 175 million on Twitter, you’re either courting them, or you’re missing out.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user SuperFantastic.