Fixing the Silos in your Organization: Communication
Marketing doesn’t talk to sales.
Sales doesn’t capture all the information we need.
Customer service will do anything to make customers happy.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, the unfortunate reality is that you’ve more than likely heard one of the above statements (or some version of it). While there may be a fragment of truth behind these opinions, oftentimes, it is the result of a fragmented business that hasn’t aligned the company around the big picture strategy or old mentalities within leaders that are hard to shake from common thought patterns. However, regardless of the sentiment or reason behind the declaration, there is one universal truth that stands behind them:
These mentalities are killing your company.
The truth is, the more fragmented a company becomes within teams rather than working as a cohesive unit, the more a company creates poor customer experiences and undermine their business growth and strategy. Sitting separate within departments, siloed away from each other disrupts your entire business limiting the ability to serve your customers and ultimately, damages your brand.
Taking these issues seriously can open your business to future innovation and create a synergy that your customers notice. Creating a roadmap to unite your company departments is the best strategy to create a customer-centric business that has an impact on your top and bottom line.
One of the oddest practices that organizations have is that only certain people within a team can interface with another team. They are the ambassadors between departments and are the only team members that can do so. This creates a team reliance on the back and forth between departments and a translation or iteration to team members that don’t take part in these discussions.
The problem here is not just the practice but the isolation that it creates within teams when someone from content doesn’t talk to someone from the product development team, content isn’t as authoritative on a product. Likewise, if a customer support professional can’t talk to sales about needs customers may have that arise from conversations, additional revenue can be left on the table. The pressure on the ambassadors is also great. As one person, they cannot cover or remember everything and may not ask the questions someone intimate with the situation may have. The fragments here hurt everyone. There is always a time and place to have ambassadors in departments to represent the team during projects and company initiatives but for everyday issues and considerations, direct employee interaction between departments is key to optimizing workflows.
While it seems extreme, think about the fact that if only leadership speak to each other during interdepartmental conversations, there’s a delay and an extra step plus a loss of important information. These ambassadors, like their management style, often relay different messages to their teams. Ideas and key opportunities are lost in this translation.
Fix: Empowered Employees
While it does make sense to have leaders interface between teams, it’s not optimal for all interdepartmental interaction. The conversations between leaders should be focused on higher-level strategy and operations rather than the details regarding specific details or updates in total. Customer support representatives need to interface with account managers and marketing leads. Sales needs to point out the items missing within a customer journey to marketing and use testimonials acquired by customer service to use as social proof. These aspects are critical to winning as a company rather than by a team.
This doesn’t have to be in the form of meetings—use the technology at your disposal including your CRM and project management tools to make sure that everyone is communicating. Having a single source of truth like a CX platform that bolsters all your business teams creates the ability to communicate in real-time and avoid the email back and forth or meeting roulette.
Encourage interdepartmental relationships that are more than work conversations around the proverbial water cooler. Provide employees with the best person to answer their questions instead of finding it for them. This creates synergy between departments and opens the company to new opportunities via information that may have been missed.
Basic Steps are the Best Steps
While the above message may seem simplistic and basic (and it is), it’s often the hardest aspect for businesses to get right internally. Increasing the communication between departments is essential to making a customer experience that matters because it shows. Customers know and can feel when these silos occur within a business because their experience is poor.
Customer experience needs to be absolutely solid team to team. If there is any sort of hole in your company (such as departmental silos), it will reflect and be seen by your customers, no matter how good you think your employees are. Two large killers of an organization’s CX are delays due to lack of information and uncomfortable and rocky transitions to teams during the buying journey. These are created by silos within your organization and poor business practices such as your customer journey.
Increasing communications between departments encourages smoother transitions and highlights important details that need to be addressed within customer accounts. Customers truly want an effortless experience within their journey with you and what you do internally has a direct impact on that experience. Increase your communication between teams and the rewards will come from customer satisfaction and reflect in your revenue.