In these truly unprecedented times, collaboration is more important than ever before. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, workplaces across the globe have moved online and entire workforces are now getting acclimatised to long-term remote working.
This move out of offices and into online spaces has brought collaboration to the top of companies’ agendas, as teams must reconsider how to work together without in-person meetings. The situation has forced many businesses to review their legacy collaboration tools and look to modern digital platforms that can connect all teams in a single, secure online community.
An issue many businesses will have to face up to is that their legacy systems are not particularly user-friendly. They may have been just serviceable enough before, but this new normal has made clear that a variety of poorly integrated tools will have stymied user adoption rate.
These tools are also generally costly, complex to maintain and have outdated security systems. So therefore, to operate more effectively businesses will need to do away with these old systems and implement more modern technology. Modern platforms are able to grant all stakeholders, both internal and external to the business, access to real-time information and reports that are the most relevant to their roles.
A further benefit of these community workspaces is that they can offer personalisation, so that each team can tailor the platform to meet their specific requirements.
These key features enable flexible, effective and precise collaboration between the key players in each team which in turn will benefit all stakeholders in service delivery.
Research by Forrester found that 53% of service organisations experienced increased customer retention and 40% experienced increased sales. An effective community workspace should offer unique benefits for each stakeholder, as this is what will lead to impactful results.
Customers can benefit hugely from community platforms that provide:
- Cloud-based delivery: this is a key factor in doing away with legacy systems as cloud-based systems require significantly fewer resources and are lower cost to maintain
- Real-time data: customers will have access to information in real-time which will result in improved communication and faster decision making
- Engagement: collaboration will increase engagement levels, improve the working environment and, ultimately, deliver improved business outcomes
- Common systems: a single, self-service platform where all necessary information is in one place enables faster and more efficient administrative processes while also increasing user adoption and reduces errors
From the perspective of service leaders and company executives, the key benefit of a community solution is to improve customer experience, leading to better business outcomes and enhanced corporate metrics.
Therefore, what these stakeholders need most from a community solution are simply customer experience and actionable insights functionalities. At a partner and contractor level the increased insight offered by this way of working can foster a stronger relationship through streamlined processes. These include the input of time, expenses, and billing made quicker and more efficient, making it more likely that they will sign up for future opportunities.
For a services business delivering customer engagement projects the benefits can be very significant. Project managers are at the heart of any successful project, controlling and managing the governance model. Therefore, project managers can be best supported by a community solution that offers:
- Visibility: real-time information is key, a community will provide all project-related information (costs, budgets, resources, plans) that is up to date and easily accessible. This will result in the right decisions at the right time as well as providing an overview of customer, partner, and contractor commitments
- Quality of delivery: detailed and accurate tracking of projects will reduce the risk of errors, ensure project margins are maintained and ultimately allow for timely and high-quality delivery thus improving customer satisfaction
- Team engagement: creating an open culture of collaboration will lead to better team engagement and improved satisfaction which in turn will increase productivity
The benefits for all stakeholders are evident and, with the current global challenges, now is an ideal time to implement a community collaboration tool. While these platforms will deliver immediate benefits, their value will extend way beyond the current pandemic and continue to provide increased productivity in the future.
By Andy Campbell, Global Solution Evangelist at Financial Force