digital transformation strategies need to be fueled by collaboration

Collaboration: The Key to Successful Digital Transformation Strategies that Benefit Everyone in the Contact Center and Beyond

Teamwork makes the dream work, right? 

When it comes to running a successful business, these words can’t ring more true. You need an entire team of people who collaborate and work for your customers to truly earn success. 

Imagine if you had a football team with just one star player. Do you think they’d have a championship season? Sure, the quarterback can push the offense. But if your defense is a mess, you’ll have a hard time winning games. And, what if the quarterback gets hurt? There goes the rest of your season, down the tubes.

Great companies, like any sport’s team, can’t rest on the shoulders of a single person. Even if you have a visionary CEO, every department needs to work together for your company to succeed. Especially during times of change. Turns out, teamwork is essential to implementing digital transformation strategies.

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Spending on digital transformation technology is expected to reach $6.8 trillion by 2023. But in spite of all that money and effort to modernize technology and processes, for every $1 billion invested, about $112 million is lost to digital projects that fail.

Why?

Often, companies take on wide-spread digital transformation without knowing what it really entails. Departments run in different directions, leaving employees and customers neglected. Companies with outdated business models and technology rush to keep up with the competition, only to lose money and fall further behind in the end.

Well, you can avoid these transformation pitfalls by thinking up snackable digital strategies with your teams in mind. Let’s look at how collaboration leads to transformation success.

Successful digital transformation strategies start with internal changes

Digital transformation isn’t just about adding cool gadgets to check off some boxes. It should transform the way you work— from the inside, out. Digital transformation is about using technology to reinvent your whole business, for your benefit and your customers’. 

McKinsey and Co. found two primary strategies in companies with successful digital transformations:

1. Successful organizations look inward when making digital transformation strategies.

Of the companies McKinsey surveyed, 68% wanted to invest in transformation to overhaul their operations.

Digitalization needs to start with internal change. Transformation can’t start with a cool app for your customers if your internal tools are outdated and your teams struggle to stay productive. Without a better suite of tools for your team, it’s hard to deliver for your customers. Especially as customer expectations for support and service rise.

Look to your contact center tech and how it helps (or hinders) your customer experience. Do your agents have the resources they need to help customers? Can they pull in data from your CRM and ticketing system to inform interactions? Can you coach and train your agents without pulling them away from their queue?

See where you need to revamp your agent experience through technology, first. Then, those better internal experiences will translate to better customer experiences.

Successful companies start their digital transformations with what their customers don’t see.

[Read Next] It’s never too late to build out your digital customer experience 

2. Successful digital transformations are wide in scope.

Eight in 10 people in the McKinsey & Co survey said they involved their entire company in their change management efforts. Digital transformation shouldn’t be siloed off among individual teams. The adoption of new technology plays an important role in how you communicate cross-departmentally, too.

You can’t give your customers the best service if your technology and processes block you from sharing information with sales, marketing, and other operations teams.

Imagine you invest in a new cloud contact center platform for your customer service team. This transforms your particular team, but what about other departments?

What happens if your CRM is still outdated and can’t connect with your new contact center platform? And what happens if your marketing emails look and feel different than the messages your agents send? All of this adds up to a disjointed, inconsistent experience for your customers. Can you really build trust and customer loyalty without aligning all your teams? (Hint: you can’t).

As you evaluate your own department’s tools, keep in mind how your plans link with other departments and your leadership team, too.

The People Make It Work — Collaborate for Success

Transformations are hard. And digital ones are even harder. That’s why successful digital transformation strategies have to start at the top.

As with any big organizational change, exec teams need to empower company-wide changes and put a team in place to make them happen. Digital experience without a holistic view can lead to portions of your business getting shortchanged. And nobody wants that.

Companies with winning transformations focus on talent more than anything else.

Digital tools are great, but without great people behind them, they really don’t matter. 

[Read Next] Learn the 3 pillars to managing a healthy customer service team

The same McKinsey & Co survey found transformation success is more than 3x as likely when people invest in digital talent, like a dedicated digital transformation team. It takes teams who are willing to coexist, work together, and use digital tools for a common goal.

You, as a manager, play a huge role in getting your agents on board with changes. And, in rallying other managers around the cause, too. It takes your input to advocate for your team. It takes you collaborating with other managers to speak to the needs of your agents and colleagues. And, it takes you adapting willingly so you can effectively train your team members on any new technology and processes your VPs and execs implement.

Building a Digital Transformation Squad

Work with other company leaders to establish a digital transformation team, so you can rally your departments around a common cause. Together, you’ll be the voice that feeds the strategy. Cross-departmental collaboration is the key. 

Together, your digital transformation squad can merge your individual team needs and make decisions that benefit the entire company. You’ll be the voice for your agents.

Encourage leaders to send out surveys and gather feedback from their teams. This data will uncover what your employees truly need to get better. 

When leaders from each department are aligned, you get a full picture of your CX. You can establish a holistic customer journey when your contact center, your sales team, and even your IT team are involved in delivering a seamless experience. 

[Read Next] What your IT team wishes you knew about omnichannel platforms

When you work together to evaluate your tech and processes through the lens of your entire customer journey – not just touchpoints with your call center – you create a seamless experience for customers from start to finish. 

It’s easy to get stuck in our departmental silos. But when you tap into collaboration as you establish digital transformation strategies, every team and individual benefits. Especially your customers!

Include your Customers in the Journey

Digital transformation can’t happen successfully without help from your customers. Digital tools impact your customers, even if you start with only internal tools. Your efficiency and the tech you use impacts how you communicate with customers and the overall experience your team delivers. I mean ultimately, isn’t your customer experience what it’s all about?

If the goal of digital transformation is to improve customer satisfaction, then you need input from customers to influence the strategy your exec team builds.

During their transformation process, the team at Santa Clara County’s Department of Planning and Development held more than 90 customer interviews. In these interviews, according to Harvard Business Review, each customer had to describe the department’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, the team held focus groups with stakeholders, agents, developers, agriculturalists, and the like to add to the conversation. In these focus groups, participants were asked to identify their needs, establish priorities, and grade the department’s performance.

They used customer input to learn what specific customer needs to meet during their transformation. And, it helped them understand priorities and gaps in processes that new digital tools could fix.

Often, people expect the implementation of a single tool can carry the weight of transforming customer satisfaction. But, how do you know what your customers actually want if you never ask? HBR’s example shows the best way to maximize customer satisfaction is to fix really issues causing pain in the customer experience.

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We originally published this post on September 11, 2019, and we updated it on March 18, 2021.