Collaboration: The Secret to Creating a Winning CX

Nov 26, 2019 9:00:00 AM

When you envision the vibe at the average contact center, do you picture a warehouse full of cubicles where apathetic people wearing headphones sit with clipboards in hand, ready to recite you a script? Or do you imagine smiling faces poised and waiting to deliver an exceptional customer experience (CX) complete with cheerful, personalized greetings and happy-to-help attitudes?

I’d say most of us think option one is the reality. And that is the very reason why there’s an entire industry (ahem, this includes companies like Edify) working to ensure today’s agents have the training, tools, motivation, and support they need in order to help, advise and problem-solve—with minimal pain for customers.

Happy Agents Work Together

We recently came across an interesting Harvard Business Report article, “Customer Service Reps Work Best When They Work Together, But Only 12% of Companies Let Them”. The title alone caught our eye. If reps perform best when being collaborative, then why are only 12% allowed to do so? That wasn’t the only fascinating piece of data. The article went on to categorize the three most common work environments among service organizations culled from the responses of more than 7,500 service reps from 38 different companies:

  1. Adherence climates. In this environment, reps are very focused on adhering to company policies and procedures when making decisions. (Aka, they love a script. Ugh.) 52% of respondents in the HBR study said this was their work environment.

  2. Individual-judgment climates. Reps rely on their own personal experience and judgment to make decisions. 35% said this was their climate.

  3. Network-judgment climates. Last but not least, in the network-judgment climate (we’d call this a collaborative environment), reps rely on advice and guidance from colleagues to inform their own decisions. A mere 12% said this was their environment.

According to this, the script-dominating climate is the largest. It makes sense to those of us who have felt frustration, and even anger, after a fruitless conversation with a company’s contact center. It’s time for agents to ditch the scripts. And if Edify has anything to do about it, the contact center industry is about to experience a major shift, one in which collaboration is the norm rather than the exception. It seems about time, right?

Collaborative Agents Care More

The HBR article went on to reveal that those working in collaborative environments demonstrated a 54% higher discretionary effort. Wow. These folks are working considerably harder than those reciting scripts or working in isolation. Need more proof as to why collaboration is key to creating an above-average customer experience? This group also had a 17% higher intent-to-stay. And we all know turnover is never a good thing.

This study motivated us to ask our Twitter followers for their opinions on the current contact center work climates. Our poll resulted in 30% of respondents saying they collaborate—up from HBR’s 12%.  

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While it’s encouraging to see that things seem to be going in the right direction, there is clearly still plenty of room for growth, which begs the question: What’s the environment at your business? If collaboration isn’t a part of your culture, then the time to make a change is now.

Elevating Your CX in 2020

As we near the end of 2019, organizations should reevaluate their customer experience strategy. What worked and what can be refined for 2020? After all, we live in a global economy where competition is increasing by the minute. Your product and/or service could be knocked off at any time, but your CX can rise above the competition.

There are many things you can do to elevate your CX in 2020 and ensure your contact center is delivering the best service possible. Stack things in your favor by ensuring your teams are working together quickly and easily. Collaboration should be the norm, yet so many businesses are getting it wrong. Make sure you’re not one of them.

Liz Cahill

Written by Liz Cahill

Recognized as one of PR Week's “Ten Rising Stars” in 2005, Liz Cahill has been working in the public relations industry for more than two decades with a focus on technology and lifestyle. During this time, Cahill has partnered with clients big and small, working on strategy development, message creation, media outreach, social media programming, event planning, ghostwriting, and pretty much anything else her clients throw at her. Originally a “Jersey girl,” Cahill has lived in Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles. She currently resides outside of LA with her husband, daughter and twin sons.