Why Cross-Functional Teams Drive High Service Levels Blog Feature

By: GreatAmerica on December 16th, 2022

Why Cross-Functional Teams Drive High Service Levels

Updated 4/9/2022. Originally published 6/3/2021.

We've learned a few things in our work in the finance industry. Third party experiences, both of our own and those of our customers, have given us exposure to the various ways organizations structure their teams, and the impact it can have on the service level technology providers receive.  

We've come to realize that not everyone truly understands what team attributes and structures make the greatest difference to office technology providers. We're going to share with you why GreatAmerica uses cross-functional teams and why this matters to the success of your business. 

Watch: Team Structure

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What is a Cross-Functional Team? 

One of the questions we often hear is “What does GreatAmerica do to make doing business easy for me?” The answer largely boils down to our team structure. To provide our customers with the most efficient customer experience possible, we have chosen to structure our teams cross functionally. This decision was made in the earlier days of GreatAmerica; as we evolved, our CEO, Tony Golobic, researched which team structures would serve our customers best. He brought in an organizational development specialist to help organize our team structure in a way that would allow us to continue to deliver on the GreatAmerica Experience. The result was the cross-functional team. 

RELATED: Tools and Technologies that Make Office Equipment Leasing Easy

While a different structure may be more efficient internally, we structured ourselves to be most efficient for our customers. That meant maintaining the small company feel they’d come to know and love. 

Our cross-functional teams are comprised of 12-14 individuals in varying roles. When we think about being truly cross-functional, what does that mean? It means that we have representation from every function on each team. This creates a personalized, seamless experience throughout the transaction, from application entry to getting you funded, and all the way through the end of term. The teams are comprised of:  

  • Sales Professionals – The main objective of our sales professionals is to build and nurture relationships with prospects and current customers. They are constantly working to uncover needs and building mutually beneficial, innovative solutions that complement their customers’ business models, helping them be more successful. 
  • Sales Support Specialists – Our sales support specialists work with sales professionals to learn and execute on customer programs. They serve as the backbone for our sales professionals and the main point of contact for our customers on everything from application submittal and document preparation to answering questions and providing quotes. 
  • Credit Analysts – The credit analysts are responsible for reviewing each customer’s credit application to assess credit worthiness. A thorough review is conducted with a creative thinking mindset. Each customer is unique, as is our credit review process. Our credit analyst looks at the whole picture, working diligently to piece together any/all helpful information that may help get to an approval. You can feel confident that each of your customers is getting the same attention & consideration rather than being approved or declined based on credit score alone.  
  • Account Support Advisors (ASA) – Account support advisors provide exceptional customer service to your end user customers throughout the term of their lease(s). Your end user can expect the same two-ring, live answer approach that we take with all customers. End users can call to discuss a wide range of topics: billing, invoicing needs, phone payments, insurance, due dates, contract details and more. Just as we do with our customers, there is no automated system – only a live voice ready to care for your customer in the same way we would our own. 
  • Portfolio Managers – Our portfolio managers take the day-to-day collection of past due invoices off your plate, freeing up time for you to focus on what matters most: your business. With the same customer centric focus, our portfolio managers work with your customers to understand their unique circumstances which may be causing the account to be past due and proactively look for ways to resolve the delinquency for the long-term - all while showing compassion & ingenuity. 
  • Documentation Specialists (DOCS) – Every deal boils down to getting you funded. Our documentation specialists make that happen every day. When deals come in for funding, a documentation specialist reviews the agreement and all supporting documents for accuracy and to ensure they meet all program specifics. They interact with your customers to confirm the equipment is installed, verify the terms of the contract, advise them of their first payment due date, and answer any questions your customer, the lessee, may have. Their goal is to get you funded the same day. 

Team members sit together and are cross trained to provide one call resolution. This benefits you in several ways.  

Cross Functional Teams

How Does a Cross-Functional Approach Benefit your Business? 

Time Savings  

Have you ever reached out to your finance provider and requested a change of equipment or pricing? What was your experience? How quickly were they able to reply? Was your request forwarded elsewhere for consideration or handled on the spot?

If you’ve ever been unable to respond to your customer in a timely manner because you were waiting for an answer from your finance provider, you know how frustrating it can be - especially when it causes you to miss an opportunity. Not all financing providers are structured in a way that empowers a quick turnaround. 

We’re all doing our best to bring in revenue, and getting the signature is an imperative part of the process. Any delay leaves time for the customer to change their mind, creating an opportunity for a competitor to swoop in and claim their business. Every second that passes brings more opportunity for the deal to fall apart, and it becomes even more frustrating when it’s not even by your own doing! 

When you call GreatAmerica, you’re always going to get a live answer within two rings. You will always be able to reach someone on your dedicated team, which means you won’t spend valuable time going through an automated response system. We all could use more hours in a day and struggling to get a human on the line is never time well spent.  

We strive for a one-hour turnaround time for all communication. This includes reviewing a credit app and getting you a decision. In fact, many times you’ll receive a response in less than 1 hour. If you want to check a status of an application, we can directly ask one of our credit analysts while you’re on the phone for an update. After all, he does sit right across from me. You’ll realize time savings via our one-call resolution approach. Our cross-training ensures if one particular person is unavailable, someone else can answer your question quickly. This means you’ll breathe easier knowing you’ll have what you need in a timely fashion.  

RELATED: What Can You Expect In The Credit Application & Funding Process? 

Personal Relationships  

Our small teams allow us to forge personal relationships, too. You’re talking with the same people day after day, month after month, year after year.  Not only do we gain an understanding of your business, but also of you as a person.  For many of our customers, they say calling GreatAmerica is like calling up a trusted friend or family member. They feel like they matter on a personal level, as opposed to being viewed (and treated) as a transaction. Personal relationships create a foundation for mutually rewarding partnerships to blossom and succeed.

WATCH: The GreatAmerica Experience

Experience With Your Account  

In addition to getting to know you personally, a cross-functional team gets to know your specific business needs. This means you won’t need to explain background information about your program to a new person that answers the phone, and you won’t have to sit on hold while someone anxiously searches to find the answers or resources you need. Instead, you can count on us to know how you want things done. And you can count on us to deliver efficiently, accurately, and without the need for repeated follow up. This allows you to focus on your business, spending time on activities that maximize growth. 

Finding New and Better Ways to Serve You  

A cross-functional team means we have experts in every function. This fosters collaboration and ensures we can identify opportunities to make our customers’ experiences even better. If sales support identifies a process that could be improved, they bring it to the sales rep. Maybe it’s a great topic for our next team discussion or an internal program note we can add that improves the speed and flow of transactions.  

Another example is when our documentation team looks for ways to improve the funding experience. If they identify a certain customer is a good candidate for delivery and acceptance, our team structure allows them to proactively share those ideas with the team. Across the board we are encouraged to share best practices given our unique structure. 

Your business cannot afford to be stagnant or reactive, and the partners you choose to align your organization with should have that mentality as well. We understand our ability to respond timely and accurately has a direct impact on your ability to respond to your customer, the end user. You should have confidence that your team is always looking for ways to improve your customer experience and our cross-functional approach has shown time and again that it is the best way to serve our customers on every front.   

Get in Touch

GreatAmerica excels at simplifying business—whether through streamlined billing solutions, efficient sales tools, readily available team members, time-saving integrations, or simply by delivering on our promises. Curious about how we can enhance your customers’ experience while offering financing? Reach out to us by clicking the button below and let's start exploring the possibilities.

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GreatAmerica is the largest independent, family-owned national commercial equipment finance company in the U.S. and is dedicated to helping manufacturers, vendors, and dealers be more successful and keep their customers for a lifetime. GreatAmerica was established in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1992 and now has offices in Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, and Illinois. In addition to financing, GreatAmerica offers innovative non-financial services to help our customers grow.