Blog

21/05/2019

Here is the problem: Silos prevent excellent customer experiences

5 minute read

Silo mentality stops crucial information from being shared throughout an organization. Breaking down barriers within teams not only makes them more productive and creative (and hence the company more successful), but it also creates a fertile ground for excellent customer experiences. With a little help from technology, barrier-free companies and great customer experiences can be achieved.

Which silos can you identify?

‘Silo effect’ is a business term that refers to a situation where information is not adequately shared throughout an organization, but rather remains sequestered within teams or by other transparent barriers. Silos are usually caused by divergent goals of different organizational units. They are considered obstacles for cooperation, decreased performance and — an easily neglected aspect when talking about silos — great customer experiences.

The best decisions are based on (customer) knowledge. However, decision making in daily business is often based on assumptions, not only because of time pressure but also lack of information. Often the desired information to reinforce a conclusion or to speed up a procedure already exists in the organization. We just aren’t aware of it.

Silos confuse the customer

Imagine a company with a sales team, a marketing team, and a customer service team. To simplify the goals of these units: the marketing professionals aim to convey an influential message to potential customers; the sales personnel focus on getting to know interested customers and their needs; and the customer service team helps customers with their unique problems.

All of these teams would benefit from sharing their information with one another. The marketing team could improve targeting if they knew the current customers as well as the sales team. The sales team could use marketing data to reach out to potential customers at the right moment. The customer service team could help customers quicker if they knew exactly what they have bought and what kind of information has piqued their interest.

Unfortunately, instead of sharing the same customer knowledge and adding to it with team-specific information, most companies’ teams live in their respective silos with a limited view of the customer. For the customer, these silos easily appear as communication breakdowns, contradictory information, lack of service or other forms of negative customer experiences.

A no-brainer solution?

Information silos exist for various reasons, but one fundamental problem is that teams usually don’t have a collective platform to share their customer knowledge. Marketing, sales and customer service data are usually fed into different systems, each of which — in the worst case —can require the customer to access separate portals to find information about the product or the company, make an order or get customer support. Talk about a satisfactory customer experience!

This is where the helping hand of technology enters the scene and offers solutions to dissolve silos and generate great customer experiences.

Connecting sales, marketing, and support operations on one platform is critical on the path to great customer experience. The one place to understand the full picture of the state of the customer — all the marketing messages, offers, and support they have received, just to name a few — allows different teams to gain 100 percent of the company’s accumulated knowledge of the customer. With this shared information, better decisions can be made within and between the teams. Platform automations can leverage the data from all the teams and thus more relevant and precise actions can be taken in scale. Better yet, this all results in great and coherent customer experiences.

Not just a step, but a journey

Silos are a true problem, and a one-for-all platform might seem like an easy, self-evident solution for sharing knowledge.

However, introducing a platform to connect sales, marketing, and service to an organization is much more than just implementing a new technology. How do we need to organize and co-operate between the teams to achieve the best possible customer experience?

A successful transition to a shared platform requires planning, onboarding and monitoring the change. It is crucial to understand that the change is not just a single step that will magically change the business. It is a journey that will change the company and its customer experience for good.

Antti Katajamäki

Practice Lead - Community Cloud

Fluido

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