Any decision one functional department makes has the potential to impact the end experience your customer has with you. Sure, each department is responsible for a specific part of the business, but if the parts of the organization don’t align properly, the customer will notice the inconsistencies.
Take a puzzle, like the one above. Instead of having a picture that makes sense after putting the pieces together, you see holes everywhere and a patchwork of color. Each of the people who owned a puzzle piece decided the color and size of their piece without consulting each other. So what happened? Nothing fits quite right. Sure, most of the pieces can be forced together. But in the end, there’s no cohesive picture. No story. No real experience to be a part of.
Your customers can see where the holes are. They may not notice right away, but eventually the message will be loud and clear. Some early indicators for your customers that the departments in your organization don’t talk to each other:
|Sample Customer Lifecycle|
- Customers can ask three different people the same question and will get a different answer every time, no matter at what point in the Customer Lifecycle.
- Customers are asked to repeat information they’ve told someone else in the company.
- Customers receive the same information from various parts of the organization.
- The voice used to communicate to your customer is different depending on the type of message received.
- Your company web site’s information is not consistent with what they’re hearing from the account team.
- With each product release, your customer feels like you aren’t listening to them when they point bugs out.
- The company only reaches out when it’s time to renew the contract.
Have You Heard Of The Wooz?
The biggest impact to the customer is in time. When departments don’t align themselves correctly, they are essentially putting up roadblocks. Walls. They create a giant maze of walls that customer-facing employees need to run around each time in order to address the issue at hand. Here are some common walls:
- Legal needs an extra form that they thought would speed audits up. Easier for them, tougher for the customer. Instead, Legal, Sales, and IT could work together to streamline the sign-up process so as little needs to be collected as possible instead of adding an additional form to the stack.
- Support needs a new ticket number because something else came up in the same support call. Better tracking for them, another call for the customer. In this case, Support can work with Sales and IT to put together processes on their end to join tickets for better tracking, or have a separate “escalation” allowed for these kinds of special cases.
- Sales needs their manager to approve a $100 credit. Controls are great for the company, but costs the customer time. Instead of every approval having to go up through a manager bottleneck, Sales, Management, and Finance allowing for more autonomy at the individual contributor level to speed up things for the customer.
So while your employee works his/her way through the maze, your customer stands there at the other end of the maze, waiting patiently for an outcome.
How much time do you think is wasted every day waiting for things to happen?
Customer Experience Cannot Happen As A Siloed Effort
If you implement a Customer Experience program in any single one department without oversight in other groups, you will inherently end up with a broken puzzle with a few band-aids on it. That may fix things for some customers for a while, but the opportunity for a dramatic experience improvement is worth the effort!
|Customer Experience needs to span
across all departments in the company in order
to create a cohesive experience for
Successful implementations of a Customer Experience program include advocates from throughout the company (See Core Criteria #2). More often than not, a formalized relationship is established across the company that signifies certain people as dedicating resources towards a Customer Experience Council or Task Force. This team’s responsibility is ensuring that projects and decisions of a certain magnitude taking place within their discreet department is screened for its impact to other parts of the organization and of course, their customer.
It’s fair to say that implementing this kind of structure is a rather large shift in organizational alignment for many companies. If this is the case, a formalized process around project and decisioning alignment is not necessary to implement upfront. Just starting with a network of advocates who can be the eyes and ears for your customers may be enough to start seeing results.
Next, we’ll talk about Customer Experience Truth #3 – Customer Experience is not Customer Service.