Does your business have a silo detective? This might be the highest-ROI effort of your customer experience council, chief customer officer, chief operating officer — or better yet, every employee. Things that don’t make sense in the way business is done can almost always be traced to silo-ization. And the pain of business silos is well-known to everyone, whether employee or customer.
But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Silos in business, like most things in life, have “two sides to the coin”. The good side: variety, ownership, accountability, specialization, and efficiency — yes, we need these. The bad side: short-sightedness, self-centeredness, inaccessibility, and inefficiency — of course these are painful. Use wisdom in determining whether a silo should be eliminated. In some cases, elimination creates its own set of downsides.
Overall, the key to dealing with silos inside a business is in expanding our perspectives and motivations in the work we do. This is the genesis of collaboration and universality (i.e. compatibility) needed to overcome the negatives while benefiting from the positives.
Your silo detectives should seek ways to expand perspectives, motivations, collaboration and universality whenever a silo is identified.
Did you know there are at least 10 silos impacting customer experience?
1) Organizational Silos
“Another department handles that” is all-too-common for customers to hear. In customers’ minds, “You have to go to X to get that” or “I’ll transfer you to Y” means delays in getting on with their objective. It means hassles: having to re-explain the situation, or worse, having to recite yet again account numbers and security answers.
Obviously businesses must have departments to specialize knowledge and streamline work. What’s missing for the customer experience is information-sharing, empowerment and collaboration among departments to minimize delays and hassles. Additionally, chronic thorns in customers’ sides typically span multiple organizations, emphasizing the dire need for organizational collaboration.
2) Channel Silos
“We only handle in-store transactions; you’ll have to contact the dealer you bought from, or our online group.” In customers’ minds, this means extra costs, delays, premature roll-outs, and lack of brand integrity: am I dealing with one brand or a mish-mash of opportunists?
A variety of sales and service channels help customers get what they need when they need it. What’s missing for the customer experience is integrated data, policies, and procedures, and experience continuity across sales channels, across service channels and between sales and service channels.
3) Systems Silos
“You’ll have to log-in to our other site” or “That mobile app isn’t available for the type of account you have” or “That went to the fax machine at our national site”. In customers’ minds, this means red tape nuisances, mustering patience to understand the lack of logic, chasing things that fell into a black hole, and tiresome delays.
Businesses acquire other businesses and adopt new technologies, and it takes time to consolidate or integrate. What’s missing for the customer experience is proactive communication about what to expect, carrying the ball for the customer rather than pushing the inconvenience on them, and taking initiative to prevent black holes.
4) Data Silos
“That’s in another database” or “thanks for being transferred to me; what is your account number and situation again?” In customers’ minds, this means repetition, wasted time, and uncertainty.
Businesses capture data all along the…