A lot is said in business-related literature about the importance of 'team building', but often the more tangible aspects are overlooked in favour of pseudopsychology and unoriginal ideas about icebreaker sessions, teamwork tasks and trust-building days.
The thing that is often missed is the fact that, in order to build rapport and trust within a team, you need to have a team in the first place - and how you put that group of people together can have a large and lasting impact on how well they perform in the future.
A good CRM system should help you to achieve internal tasks like team building, and not just external aims like streamlined customer communication and project deadline management; the 'R' stands for 'Relationship', and that means not only the customer, but also any member of your staff that they come into contact with, has a part to play in maintaining your working relationship with one another.
Internally, creating teams who trust each other supports customer relationship management by allowing team members to deal with queries on each other's behalf, without any drop in client satisfaction levels; and this is the kind of trust that stems simply from teams functioning effectively, rather than being built artificially at a boot camp or assault course.
Tracking team performance in a way that is immediately visible to the team members themselves is a good way of maintaining morale; it encourages the team to support one another, and helps to identify any weak links, who might benefit from extra support or on-the-job training.
You may also have the option of keeping a log of information like who handles the most calls, or who keeps customers on the phone for the longest in any one call, both of which are important metrics in marketing, complaints handling and other such disciplines.
By being able to see these details at a glance, you can again identify anybody whose working pattern is unusual - for example, who handles only a very small number of very long calls - and determine whether that is a cause for concern and, if so, what should be done about it.
In practice, you may actually find that one of those unusual working structures leads to a significantly better response from customers; and this is where you can take action to alter the call patterns of your remaining team members, to try and drive satisfaction higher across the board.
Overall then, building a successful business is about making informed decisions about the employees you recruit, and the structure you ask them to work within.
Treat your company like an ant colony, and build it on firm foundations, and you can then begin working on rapport, trust and morale to keep your profits looking healthy, and your workforce feeling happy.
About the author
Gavin Smith is a specialist in applying information derived from observation to the way work is carried out, so any changes are made in a learned and optimistic manner. He uses tools like the iComplete CRM platform to help him gather the necessary insight in order to do this.