Before I begin, the title of article is not in reference to Simon & Garfunkel’s song even though that is a good song (humming it now). The article is about…CONFLICT.
When discussing conflict some words that usually come to mind are disagreement, clash, battle, argument, fight. When I was working in the financial services sector it was made up of so many departments and cross functional teams, it was inevitable that conflict could occur. Conflict could occur from many different sources as every department was looking at the financial health and wealth of the organisation.
The potential areas of conflict that could occur and the impact it could have on customer service are listed below:
The Marketing Department vs. The Creative Agency
• Timescales and creativity
• Pressure to reach deadlines
• Rushed marketing piece
• Message unclear in marketing piece
• Misleading message
• Customer confused and dissatisfied
The Business Managers vs. The New Account Sanctioners
• Discrepancies found on an account for example illegible ID.
• Disagreement on discrepancies
• Refusal to resolve discrepancies
• Delay in account being opened
• Poor customer service
• Customer anxious and dissatisfied
• Customer potentially lost
Management vs. Account Keyers
• 24-48 hour SLA
• Accounts not being keyed quick enough within the timescales
• Pressure to key accounts quicker
• Accounts opened incorrectly and potentially under the wrong sort code
• Customer dissatisfaction
The Business Managers vs The Phone Team
• Information interpreted wrong by either or both parties
• Customers’ business account dealt with in the wrong way
• Customer distress
• Customer dissatisfaction
As illustrated, potential conflict can occur at work. However, good communication can resolve this. An internal communication plan can be put in place. As some departments may be located within different areas, having a weekly or monthly audio meeting would be ideal to discuss issues and help resolve conflict. However,the audio meeting should not just be with managers from each department but also with the colleagues. Essentially, the audio meeting should be with the actual people who do the actual processes. By doing this it allows everyone to voice their opinion and work on building a stronger relationship which can help improve customer service.
Through the audio meeting also occurring, attachments can be arranged on an annual basis where staff can visit other departments for a day to gauge a better understanding of what that department does. By there being an understanding within departments internally this would reflect externally with an improvement in customer satisfaction levels and illustrate that everyone is working for the same desired goal.
As you can see, conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be seen as key in unlocking the door to delivering better customer service.