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 your business, this can’t be more true. You need an entire team of people involved and collaborating to deliver success.

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

Great companies, like any sports team, can’t be carried on the shoulders of a single individual. Even if you have a great CEO, every department needs to show effort for your company to succeed. This especially rings true during times of change. Teamwork is essential to companies’ digital transformation strategies.

In 2018, more than 50% of digital transformation efforts stalled out completely. And customer experience fell flat. Spending on digital transformation technology will reach $2 trillion by 2020. But in spite of that, it’s projected that upwards of $112 million is lost to projects that fail.

Why?

Often, companies take on 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 Companies with outdated business models and technology rush to stay in competition, only to lose money and fall further behind in the end.

Well, we don’t want that to happen any longer.

So, let’s look at how collaboration leads to transformation success.

Successful digital transformation strategies start with internal changes

Digital transformation isn’t only about adding some cool gadgets to check the 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 who were successful in their digital transformation:

1. Successful organizations tend to 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 or gadget for your customers if your internal tools are outdated. Without new tech internally, it’s hard to give your customers better experiences. 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.

2. Successful digital transformations are wide in scope.

Eight in ten respondents to the survey said their efforts for change involved their whole business. Or, at least multiple business departments. Digital transformation shouldn’t be siloed within 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, and marketing, and other operations teams.

Imagine you invest in a new cloud-based 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 your agents’? Can you really build trust and customer loyalty without alignment from all your teams? As you evaluate your own tools, keep in mind how your plans link with other departments’.

Still have legacy technology and need to get on the same page as other departments? Consider moving to the cloud. Check out this recent post about the benefits of cloud technology.

The People Make It Work — Collaborate for Success

Transformations are hard. And digital ones are even harder. A high-quality transformation starts from the top.

As with any large-scale 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 the business being 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 much.

McKinsey found transformation success is more than three times 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 the 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. Together, you’ll be the voice that feeds information to the strategy. Cross-departmental collaboration will make or break your strategy. Together, your digital transformation squad can merge what your individual teams need and formulate decisions best for everyone in the company. You’ll be the voice for your agents.

Encourage leaders to do surveys and gather feedback from their teams. This data will uncover what your employees truly need digitally to get better. Why all this collaboration though? Because you need one another.

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 is involved in delivering a seamless experience. This has a huge impact on your technology. When you take this journey and evaluate each digital touchpoint your customer has, every department can identify where your technology needs to improve.

It’s easy to sometimes get stuck in our department siloes. We can think that other teams within our own companies are our competition! 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 shouldn’t happen without help from your customers. Digital tools impact your customers, even if your digitalization starts with only internal tools. Your efficiency and the tech you use in daily operations influences your customers’ experience with you. And ultimately, isn’t your customer experience what it’s all about?

If the goal of digital transformation is to improve customer satisfaction and experience, then you need in-depth 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, they asked each customer 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 needs, establish priorities, and grade the department’s performance.

They used customer and partner input to know what specific 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 that the implementation of a single tool can carry the weight of transforming customer satisfaction. But, how do you know if your customers want that tool? HBR’s example shows that the best way to maximize customer satisfaction is to find out how to fix specific issues in the customer experience.

Make use of your customers and their needs to find where your team can digitally transform.

We believe that a successful digital transformation shouldn’t be carried out exclusively with an outside partner or consultant.

In fact, we’ve written more on how to make your digital transformation more collaborative.

Check out our recent blog on making your strategy an inside job!