Follow customers across silos
Article

Follow customers across silos

Jennifer  Bagehorn
  • Jennifer Bagehorn
  • Service Designer

Only the customer experiences an organisation as a whole. Only the customer suffers the long waiting times, odd procedures, and other irritations resulting from internal misalignment and confusion. This then is the key perspective from which to identify opportunities both for improved service and better departmental alignment.

Customer experiences that no one wants

Although everyone in an organisation works directly or indirectly for their customers, relatively few have any direct interaction with them. Add in misaligned departments and stakeholders who communicate poorly and KPI’s that focus on internal performance, and it is no surprise that customers experience the organisation in ways no one intended.

Who is the customer?

It is the reality of business life that departments often mistake other departments as their customers. Lots of time and effort is spent to improve “customer” interaction and processes while in fact the real customers do not see the benefits of this investment. Even worse, internal KPIs can make the distance to the customer even greater.

A customer is a person, not a persona

Even small organisations have fragmented views of customers based on processes owned and managed by different departments. Customers experience the full lifecycle from unaware to aware, and from decision to purchase. Showing staff how customers experience the lifecycle yields surprising insights in why a new product or internal process fails. Understanding why people act certain way is key to designing service that work for real customers.

Channel vs business performance

Customer experience belongs to all departments but to no single one. Presenting experiences through videos, testimonials, and pilots gives the various silos a rounded view of the organisation they had previously lacked. Better yet, it teaches the organisation about itself. Making customer experience, not processes, central cuts across departments and politics, and makes the organisation easier to deal with from the customers’ perspective.

See the pink customer in the room

Insights are not enough to see the customers. This requires staff to either experience what a customer goes through, or have strong anecdotal evidence direct from customers. For example, showing the customers’ experience when handed over internally from sales to aftersales is more informative than interviewing customers on a specificsales transaction.

Over 80% of executives report silos and almost all believe they hurt customers and the organisation

Experience your customers’ experience

Customer experience belongs to all departments but to no single one. Presenting experiences through videos, testimonials, and pilots gives the various silos a rounded view of the organisation they had previously lacked. Better yet, it teaches the organisation about itself. Making customer experience, not processes, central cuts across departments and politics, and makes the organisation easier to deal with from the customers’ perspective.