Why & how breaking down silos is key to CX success

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

I often get asked 'Why is there a high failure rate of CX initiatives?'

The answer is simply, it’s because CX is being treated functionally.

CX is often silo'ed in either customer service or marketing depts, it is not a business priority but treated as a marketing or customer service tactic.

To be successful CX needs to be a business strategy and a priority in all departments.

So what does that actually look like:

CX role for each department

Customer experience is the job of all these departments and more.

It’s everything that a company does that touches the customer or causes the customer to think about anything related to the company.

Setting yourself up for success

Most organisations know they need to compete on experience, they know they need to build longer-term, more sustainable relationships with customers. The problem isn’t that they’re unsure of what needs to happen, it’s that they don’t know where to start.

Let's be really honest, Customer Experience is not easy to get your head around. Customer experience (CX) means many different things to different people, with myriad definitions, uses, approaches and perspectives. So, how can we make sense of customer experience when *everything* seems to be a part of it?

The simplest answer is by looking at customer experience through the lens of the value it creates, and the activities required to do so.

Start with a CX vision

A customer experience vision is an aspirational statement on how your organisation has chosen to service its customers. It is a standard that employees should be able to strive for, and a banner that your company can look to when making decisions that will affect its customers. Developing a customer experience vision and principles to guide the business’s day-to-day work is the foundation of the CX strategy.

CX fails without a customer centric culture

Establishing a customer-centric culture starts at the very top. Without executive-level buy-in there is a low probability of creating maximum impact for any customer-centric initiative. You’ll also want to garner the support of lower-level leaders to truly move the needle on improving the customer experience. Leaders set the tone for their organisation, so if a leader decides that the customer is important, their direct reports will follow suit.

It all starts with helping employees understand CX

When employees don’t feel adequately informed and empowered to respond to customer needs, they are not confident. Without confidence, your employees withdraw and the customer experience suffers. When employees clearly understand what the customer needs and how to help, they’re more willing (if not eager) to step up to the challenge and go beyond what’s expected.

That’s why it’s so important to embed your customer experience philosophy across your organisation.

Strategy is not enough

Designing your experience is one thing; implementing it is another. Achieving the engagement of every employee and every department entails significant investment in education and training, effective teamwork, performance management, communications and technology.

Delivering your CX can only be achieved by aligning the whole organisation behind the CX Vision. Successful business alignment means that all departments must have a collective role in the planning and implementation, to ensure that the right skills and knowledge as well as infrastructure and processes are in place.

Omni-channel experiences are impossible without breaking down silos

(Omni-channel is a big buzzword in CX, to strip it back, what we are referring to is a cross-channel content strategy.) The reality is, customers expect an omni-channel experience. The challenge is that the ability to meet these expectations is really hard. It requires an integrated approach across the whole business to design and delivery across a myriad of customer-facing systems, processes and functions. To succeed the answer lies in all the departments coming together to collaborate on developing customer journeys and transition points.

Measuring success: A company wide value framework

A Value Framework provides a systematic, measurable set of guides for business behaviours, where tactical activities can be linked to key business goals. Typically, we are able to flow Business Goals into Objectives, then Strategies, then into Measures, attributing low level tactical activities to higher Key Business Indicators. Multiple strategies and tactics may be attributed to one or more objectives and goals. The Value Framework, when used as an active tool, can provide both an indication of performance and also support strategic decision taking.

In summary

Whether B2B or B2C, when it comes to CX, every function, every employee, every representative on every channel and platform, has a role to play in delivering a good experience.

Hence, the (slightly modified) saying - ‘It takes a whole village to deliver good CX’

While you can have one team to manage and report on your CX effort, the real delivery comes from each and every moving part in the organisation, that need to work together to create and deliver great customer experiences. In other words, you need to build a customer centric culture to deliver on your CX strategy, and its got to start at the top.

Given the state of customer experience, there needs to be a fundamental shift in how organisations think about customer interactions. Companies looking to win the CX game need to be willing to play the long game: adapt, invest, and commit to an approach that will build lasting customer relationships instead of eroding them for short-term gains.

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