Question: How can I get support from other departments on customer service issues?

Answers from frontline reps —


Treat it as a learning experience. Our credit union provides us with many opportunities to speak with individuals who aren’t in our specific department through formal or informal interactions. Our management encourages us to collaborate with other departments for the benefit of adding efficiencies and reducing member effort. As an added bonus, our workforce has the opportunity to voice their opinions in an open and encouraging forum year round to explore ideas for partnership.

Additionally, if you approach people from a place of learning they are more receptive to teach you. People like to convey what they know to others so if you approach someone as a guru, they will more than likely feel pride in assisting you. On the alternative side, if you are receptive to learning, you will struggle less with tunnel vision when innovating and coming up with new ideas.

— Megann Wither, Navy Federal Credit Union


Forster open communication. At my place of employment, we do many things to foster communication between the different departments, including regular gathering to share food. We also have an internal instant messenger that we can use to contact anyone that we need or want to. It can be as simple as someone upstairs, or as far away as China. I’ve also been known to schedule a meeting with different team members if I need support in an area that they have more experience with.

However if I wish to always ensure that I have that support when needed, then I must make sure I do the same and return the favor when someone comes to me needing help. We all have our strong areas and our weaker areas, but as long as well all work together as a team, the customer will always be taken care of. We should never treat our job knowledge as a secret that we must keep from our co-workers when they need us.

— Jo Sprowl, SKF USA Inc.


Build connections. When it’s possible, try to communicate in other ways besides instant messaging and Email. It’s easy to forget that the department you are working with is filled with people just like you trying to do their job. Try to put a face to a name and build that connection. They have other responsibilities to maintain as well, so be very clear with your request and provide all the pertinent information they may need in order to help you more efficiently.

If you find that you or your team is requesting similar information on a regular basis then perhaps a meeting with the other team would be beneficial to establish a new way to minimize the requests.

— Rachel Dillon, Assurant Specialty Property


Be persuasive, not pushy. A peer of mine once shared with me that there are some general rules to follow when communicating with other departments on a member’s behalf. These rules have proven to be highly effective for me. First I decide that I’m going to be an advocate for the member. I listen to member’s complete request, and gather all the pertinent facts of the request. Next, I research the request to try and identify any creative solutions, while also determining what department would be best suited to assist with the request. Finally, I try to be persuasive without being pushy. By making clear and concise statements, providing supporting evidence, and summarizing my request, I can accomplish this without coming across as if I’m telling the department how they should handle the request.

If the interaction is approached in the spirit of collaboration, it is typically resolved with ease and the relationship between the departments is strengthened.

— Jerrard Gates, Navy Federal Credit Union


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