Operations

The Role of Operations in Building a Tech Stack

the-role-of-operations-in-building-a-tech-stack

No matter whether your SMB is retail, service, manufacturing, or another type of business, your operations department plays a strategic role in building your tech stack. Operations is responsible for ensuring that the production process gets completed from beginning to end. To accomplish that, an operations leader needs to make sure that the operations department is continually in sync with all the other departments. When it comes to technology, software applications are intertwined and they build upon one another. Your operations leader has a pretty good scope of how all departments work individually and together, and for that reason, this person plays a crucial role in building your tech stack. 

The Role of Operations in a Business

Operations management takes the lead in creating goods and services, and it’s a central component of your business, no matter the size or the industry. Your operations leader has to be very strategic about how your systems and processes work if your entire operation is going to run efficiently. 

Your operations leaders spend much of their time planning, organizing, and coordinating resources. They’re responsible for managing people, equipment, and technology, and they need to ensure that everything works together in meeting your company’s goals and objectives. 

Sales operations and support operations fall under the overall responsibility of your operations leader. 

What Is Sales Operations?

A sales operations department is composed of one or more sales teams that are led by a sales operations leader. Sales operations leaders spend their days managing sales teams, monitoring productivity, evaluating business targets, and coaching new team members. Sales teams may have different functions, such as generating leads, qualifying leads, or closing sales. Collectively, sales team members make up a call center. 

Sales teams typically use call center software that includes a cloud-based phone system, a CRM, and other sales software applications. Team members use software applications to enable processes and workflows. Sales operation leaders use software for a variety of other purposes including:

  • Monitoring the analytics dashboard of the phone system
  • Listening to call recordings
  • Using call whispering and other voice features to coach sales team members  

A modern phone system that has a live feed feature allows sales operations leaders to see activity in the call center at a glance. This is just one reason that it’s highly important to choose a cloud-based phone system provider that offers a robust set of voice calling features. The right voice calling features help sales teams to operate at their highest potential and call volume. Cloud-based phone systems also form the basis for an effective business operations tech stack

What Is Support Operations?

A support operations department places outbound calls and receives inbound calls for the purpose of customer service. 

Support teams typically work in a call center environment, which can be on- or off-site. The members typically spend their days answering customer questions and helping them resolve problems with the company’s products or services. Support team members also manage a variety of tasks including:

  • Updating CRM systems
  • Transferring calls to other agents
  • Using multiple communication channels as appropriate 
  • Providing customer follow-up 
  • Providing a good customer experience

Support operations leaders used cloud-based phone system dashboard analytics to monitor the performance of support agents and make adjustments as necessary. Support operations leaders also use call recordings to get insight as to how to improve agent performance and review customer calls when they need clarification on a particular matter. A good support operations leader knows how to create an environment for their support teams that enables team members to do their best work. In a good support call center environment, support agents will have access to the proper training and the tools necessary for them to work efficiently. 

A support operations leader also works with sales operations leaders, product leaders, marketing leaders, and senior company management to ensure that the support operation is aligned with the operation of other departments. 

The Role of an Operations Leader in Creating Impact

Sales and support operations leaders have multiple opportunities to create a positive impact for your company. Sales and support operations leaders lead teams, rather than managing them directly. 

Good operations leaders view their employees as valuable resources. It’s well worth their time and effort to communicate effectively with team members and listen to them. Effective leaders know how to give constructive feedback to their team members and to reward them for the great work they do. Leaders are responsible for ensuring their teams are meeting their individual goals and objectives so that the whole department can show that it’s making progress. 

Call center dashboard analytics provide a valuable tool for operations leaders to evaluate the call center’s productivity, identify ways to increase efficiency, and minimize risks. Call volume can vary greatly over the course of business hours, and a cloud-based phone system gives them data on call volume to help them set up sufficient staffing. 

When it all works together well, operations leaders can ensure that call center agents can answer the right questions at the right time to enable the best possible customer experience. 

What Is a Tech Stack?

A technology stack is a term that arose from the software development community. It’s also called a tech stack, solution stack, data ecosystem, or technology infrastructure. Tech stacks are the primary tools used by sales and support call centers. Essentially, your tech stack is the totality of the software your sales or support teams use. 

Every tool has a distinct purpose, and it uses data singularly and in conjunction with other software applications to help your call center function as efficiently as possible. What is a tech stack exactly? A technology stack is composed of things like programming languages, frameworks, and tools that developers need to ensure that software programs can be linked together without causing problems with any of them.

Developers know the differences in coding languages as well as their attributes and limitations. For example, some coding languages are inefficient or difficult to debug. This is important stuff for developers to know so that they can add software tools as they go to continually achieve a fully customized set of contact center software. 

The Purpose of Your Sales Tech Stack

With the definition of the tech stack out of the way, let’s dig into the purpose of your sales tech stack. Your digital tools help your call center representatives to have greater context about customers and their accounts, which should enable them to improve their productivity. 

Beyond that, the right sales tech stack gives managers the tools they need to oversee their call centers and to motivate their team members. 

These are some of the functions of a sales tech stack:

  • Sets up automated sales workflows
  • Enables voice calling features like click-to-dial and power dialing
  • Allows you to set up toll-free or international phone numbers to give your company a local presence
  • Logs calls and customer information automatically
  • Offers predictive analytics to help make more accurate revenue predictions
  • Helps to improve efficiency and productivity at various stages of the sales process, including generating leads, nurturing leads, and closing deals
  • Aids in building customer lists and segments
  • Offers coaching tools like call whispering, call monitoring, and call barging

The Purpose of Your Support Tech Stack

A support tech stack works much like that of a sales tech stack. The obvious difference is that the software meets the needs of customer support agents as they function in today’s world. 

In years past, customer service representatives provided assistance to customers that was fairly basic and minimal. Things have changed drastically in the customer support arena since then. For companies to be competitive, customer support agents have to address customers proactively to not only meet but exceed their expectations. Today, there is a greater focus on customer engagement, customer experience, and the importance of customer loyalty. 

These are some of the functions of a support tech stack:

  • Reduces call handling time
  • Captures customer account details automatically
  • Creates tickets for smoother processing
  • Helps gauge customer satisfaction
  • Improves CSAT and net promoter scores
  • Helps resolve customer issues quickly, often on the first call
  • Provides a more personalized customer experience
  • Provides a consistent customer experience
  • Enables phone system software and CRM to work with other software applications
  • Allows for omni-channel communication
  • Enables greater internal communication and collaboration

The Role of Operations & Your Technology

Technology has been evolving in every facet of business within every industry. The role of operations departments now includes getting involved with decisions about technology that’s related to product design, management, and improved systems and processes to ensure technology meets the company’s needs. Technology is particularly important for operations leaders in the area of unified communications solutions.

Operations leaders can play a valuable role during the buying process when your company is considering which technology solutions are the most appropriate for your business. As your operations leaders work closely with every other department, they have valuable input on researching suitable SaaS providers and taking the lead on managing trial processes. 

Working in collaboration with sales and support leaders, operations leaders are well-positioned to add valuable input on evaluating the key features of software programs and their suitability for the business. Some of the things all leaders are interested in when choosing technology solutions are:

  • Scalability
  • Flexibility
  • Redundancy
  • Ease of setup
  • Ease of use
  • Granular reporting and analytics capability
  • Ease of integration with other software tools

Overall, making the right choices for technology benefits the entire company, as they can effectively reduce costs, standardize processes, and greatly improve the overall efficiency within the company. When the right technology comes together, it improves the sales and customer support operations and creates greater value for customers. 

The Most Common Pain Points for Operations Leaders

Operations managers inherently accept a wide variety of responsibilities as part of the job. Because the position is so multifaceted, problems can stem from a variety of sources, and the pain points are many.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the most common pain points for operations leaders:

  • Lack of consistency of communication methods with other leaders 
  • Lack of consistency in applying standards across the company
  • Managing financial and performance data consistently
  • Lack of visibility with productivity
  • Phone system breakdown and outages
  • High employee turnover and the continual need for onboarding
  • Continually meeting company goals and objectives
  • Ensuring transparency of data
  • Reliance on an overworked IT department
  • Managing the time spent on data entry and after-call processes 
  • Supporting call center representatives in their roles and establishing balanced incentive programs 
  • Maintaining a positive call center environment
  • Improving efficiency in workflows to support a high level of call volume

With a VoIP phone system like Aircall, operations leaders can eliminate many of the common pain points that plague them. Aircall provides a sound foundation for your technology stack because it works so seamlessly with other essential business applications like your CRM and much more. 

With Aircall grounding your tech stack, you’ll get the benefit of consistent internal and external communication. Your phone system’s dashboard ensures that you get data that’s transparent and helps operations leaders to make data-driven decisions about goals and rewards. Call center analytics give your leaders visibility and insight into your sales and support teams’ performance. A cloud-based phone system and the right software integrations streamline your workflows and improve efficiency overall. It’s a cost-effective technology solution that will help create a positive work environment for your call center. If done right, this translates into a good customer experience on a consistent basis.

Special thanks to our friends at Aircall for their insights on this topic.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA, starting in the early days of online commerce when he achieved Power Seller status through his eBay store. This propelled him to become a co-founder of VisionPros.com, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. With a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is a Senior Merchant Success Manager at Shopify Plus, where he helps identify, navigate, and accelerate growth in the complex world of commerce.

To maintain his competitive edge, Steve also hosts the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast and Shopify Founder Stories, a top-rated twice-weekly podcast where he interviews Shopify Partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands improve efficiencies, grow revenue, profit, and lifetime customer loyalty.

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