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The Best Approaches To Get Support And Development Teams To Work Together

Collaboration between support and development teams can be challenging at best, and a roadblock at worst, with severe consequences for customer support success metrics. There is, however, a better approach.

Customer service representatives are the eyes and ears of your company. They understand your customers’ needs, expectations, and opinions regarding your goods. Meanwhile, if your company is in the technology or software industry, developers are the backbone of the operation. As a result, a collaboration between these groups is unavoidable.

However, few firms have well-defined workflows for this type of collaboration. It usually relies on an ad hoc system of emails, confidential documents, and face-to-face encounters. That might work for certain teams, but it won’t cut it when a support agent is waiting for a response from engineers in order to assist a critical customer.

Support And Development Teams

Here are three strategies to turn that haphazard system into a well-oiled machine.

1. Make asynchronous processes a top priority.

What is the current state of team collaboration? Usually, it’s because there are too many meetings. The list goes on and on: status updates, cross-functional project check-ins, team-building sessions, and so on. Daily calendars fill up quickly, leaving less time to complete tasks. Meetings can be particularly damaging to a customer service staff, whose metrics are frequently based on punctuality and efficiency.

What’s the alternative? Processes that are not synchronous.

In contrast to a synchronous process, an asynchronous process does not require both parties to be present at the same moment. Synchronous procedures include phone calls, meetings (virtual and otherwise), and presentations.

So what’s the big deal about asynchronous processes? The Harvard Business Review polled 182 senior executives in 2017. Meetings were deemed useless and inefficient by 71% of respondents. Consider how many people in the organisation feel this way.

Meetings and other synchronous activities will become a hindrance rather than an aid as more firms permanently migrate to hybrid and remote-first models.

This has a significant impact on support staff and developers. A support team is in charge of an ever-increasing number of customer support queries and phone calls. Any time they spend in a meeting is the time when tickets accumulate. This is especially aggravating when they are expected to perform at a certain level.

Developers, on the other hand, require uninterrupted blocks of time for intense work. Developers need time and space to solve complicated problems, whether they’re fixing bugs, creating new features, or dealing with escalated tickets. When meetings and phone calls interrupt this, the problems become considerably more difficult to fix.

In a poll of 40 software engineers conducted in 2021, it was discovered that increasing the number of meetings per day from two to three decreased a developer’s chances of achieving progress toward their goals from 74% to 14%.

Although not all synchronous processes may be avoided, how many can be resolved with an email? Or through a few comments on a ticket that has been escalated? Give your support and development teams the tools they need to collaborate and work asynchronously, so collaboration doesn’t interfere with their daily tasks.

2. In each team, choose a champion.

Every team has its own set of objectives and methods for achieving them. You must account for this while collaborating with another team. If you’re used to working closely with others or have good insight into what they’re doing, that’s OK. However, when your collaboration is too limited—for example, escalated support tickets—it becomes an issue. Miscommunication, delays, and other factors cause slam-dunk tasks to fail.

Data Champions are used by the Campus of Cambridge to guarantee that good data management and research practices are encouraged in teams across the university. This can help avoid blunders and errors, but it also means that each team has a dedicated data subject matter expert.

Because support and development duties are so dissimilar, it can be difficult for each team to comprehend how the other operates. So how about naming a champion in each team? They can be a valuable resource for their team as a Data Champion. Instead of specialising in data, they may be experts in the aims and processes of the opposing team.

Why are you doing this? So, who does the customer support team go to now if they have a development question? If they’re lucky, they might be able to find some sort of documentation that was created after someone else had the same query. If they can’t find a developer who has time to answer their question, they’ll have to ask their management.

However, if your support staff has a dedicated developer workflow expert, they become a great resource for the team. They can provide answers to queries, assist in the improvement of processes on both sides, and more. And, with a support champion on their side, your engineers can discover new ways to bridge the gap between teams.

3. Make their tools work together

Every team has its own set of tools. The larger the company, the less probable it is that your stack will be similar to anyone else’s. 

Why? Not all tools are created equal. RisePath Support is one of the most powerful support tools available. 

These many tools are rarely designed to work well together right out of the box. This can lead to silos forming around each team’s work, making it more difficult to see what everyone is up to.

Let’s say a customer service representative has to escalate a ticket to a developer because they have a technical question or have received reports of a persistent bug. How is that information disseminated inside your company? It’s usually done around the tool difference (for example, via email) which requires someone to learn to utilise both tools.

Neither of these alternatives is optimal. The former can clog up your communication channels, while the latter requires a lot of manual labour from someone who should be doing something else.

A platform like RisePath can help with this.

Regardless of which integration solution you employ, it can provide a link between technologies, allowing support and development teams to collaborate more effectively.

Collaborate with other teams

Your customer service team champions their demands, while your developers keep everything functioning smoothly. When these two teams need to work together, you can expect it’ll be an endeavour that spreads throughout the company.

These teams want uninterrupted time to do their best work, therefore having fewer meetings, which can be accomplished using asynchronous procedures, is ideal. By appointing a champion to each team, you can ensure that everyone is aware of how the other operates. Finally, combining their technologies removes technological hurdles to collaboration, resulting in improved outcomes for all.

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