4 techniques for customer collaboration in 2015

  • Social images now have a place in customer service interactions.

  • Give customers new ways to reach out, connect, and collaborate.

  • Tell your customers how their data affects your next roll-out decision.

Collaborating with your customers is a great way to build loyalty. Involving customers more closely in your business processes helps draw them closer to your brand in a very natural way. Better customer collaboration doesn’t require a lot of new technology. In fact, many of the following strategies leverage existing in-house and cloud infrastructure options that are already available to most organizations.

How can you make the most of technology and processes to fuel collaboration and build customer loyalty? Here are some tips to get you started.

Four techniques for superior customer collaboration

1. Social images are the next customer service channel: Applying the maxim “show, don’t tell” to your customer service processes opens up new avenues for customer collaboration. When nearly everyone carries a perfectly serviceable photo and video camera in the form of a smartphone, it makes sense to allow images to lead the service interaction. Instagram may have sprung up around individuals bragging about their lives, but it is equally well suited to starting meaningful customer service discussions.

2. Open more back-office processes for self-service: Self-service ordering is a given. However, don’t force interactions through account representatives or service personnel just to keep a warm body in front of the customer. If you’re doing 21st century business correctly, your customers already know a half-dozen ways to reach you when they need to. Expose processes like detailed fulfillment tracking and finance management through self-service portals, and let your customers decide what they prefer.

3. Share your insights: Your customers know that the telemetry, statistics, and market research they implicitly consent to every time they use your product or visit your website can impact your decisions. A radical idea that doesn’t cost a thing is to tell your customers how the data you collected and analyzed affects your next roll-out decision. This shows customers that their real-world use cases are crucial to design rather than being an afterthought.

4. Curate and swarm: Rethink customer service by adopting a model that makes the best of internal collaboration tools and processes. This concept, often called “swarming,” emphasizes a single point of contact to help the customer reach a resolution, bringing additional collaborators to help when needed. Swarming presents a unified front to the customer, rather than the perception that problems are being shrugged off.

Another way to rethink service is by transforming support agents into crowdsourcing curators. On social feeds, including forums and brand pages, enthusiasts and peers can often deliver much faster answers to customer questions.

Rather than squelching the wisdom of the crowd, support specialists can act as curators, promoting the best answers and highlighting trustworthy experts. This builds closer links with volunteer assistants, and ensures that customers reach ideal resolutions as quickly as possible.

Learn more about AT&T Connect, a powerful business collaboration tool.


Jason Compton is an internationally published writer and reporter with extensive experience in enterprise technologies, including marketing, sales, service, and collaboration. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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