Silo Busting Your Way to Customer Loyalty and Referrals

“We’d have happier customers if the sales team didn’t overpromise.”

“Our customers would be more loyal if our service team was more responsive.”

“Our systems don’t talk to each other. We need IT to fix our customer experience issues.”

Alas, we’ve all seen how organization silos create friction and lead to customer experience breakdowns. When departments or teams don’t communicate or collaborate effectively, customers often have to repeat themselves, switch channels to get assistance, or, worse yet, never have their issues resolved.

A Gartner article titled Break Down Channel Silos for a Better Customer Service Experienceexamined “more than 6,000 customer journeys to help customer service and support (CSS) leaders understand customer behavior, preferences, and expectations around customer experience (CX). That comprehensive research prompted me to supplement Garnter’s findings with my observations. This post highlights that blend.

The impact of channel silos on customer experience

Silos have a myriad of adverse customer consequences, including:

Increased effort:Customers spend unnecessary time and energy trying to find the correct department or person to help them.

Reduced satisfaction:Customers become frustrated and dissatisfied when they feel they “get the run around” or must “run the gauntlet” to get their issues addressed.

More defection: Customers are likelier to leave a company when they feel a lack of collaboration or innovation between employees or departments.

How to break down channel silos

Here are a few actionable tips for shredding your silos:

Create cross-functional teams focused on streamlining the customer experience. This team should comprise representatives from diverse departments – especially those who interact directly with customers. These teams should meet regularly to discuss customer feedback, identify areas for improvement, and develop and implement enterprise-wide and interdepartmental solutions.

Develop a single customer view.Deploy a CRM system that tracks all customer interactions across all channels, such as website, social media, phone, and email. Leverage the CRM to help team members gain a comprehensive perspective regarding each customer’s journey so they can provide more personalized customer experiences.

Empower employees to resolve customer issues without having to escalate them.Give team members the authority and resources to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently. Invest in training that helps team members wholly and immediately resolve common customer issues.

Invest in cross-functional training. By better understanding other departments’ and teams’ roles and responsibilities, your employees should improve communication and increase collaboration in ways that innovate solutions for your customers.

It’s natural for departments and teams to become fragmented – especially as businesses scale. Unfortunately, if left unchecked, those silos are highly detrimental to team members, customers, and the overall success of your business.

Patrick Lencioni put it best when he observed:

Silos – and the turf wars they enable – devastate organizations. They waste resources, kill productivity, and jeopardize the achievement of goals. But beyond all that, they exact a considerable human toll too. They cause frustration, stress, and disillusionment by forcing employees to fight bloody, unwinnable battles with people who should be their teammates.

How are you doing at fostering a work culture where silos give way to mission-focused collaboration that leads to customer loyalty and referrals?

To learn more about maximizing customer experience collaboration, please get in touch with me at

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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