LONDON — The sixth annual Customer Focus Summit, set in the heart of London’s busy Kensington high street, gathered professionals from various industries to discuss customer experience, brand management, social media and service. 

But one topic introduced by springboard discussion panelist Dave Appleby, moderator and technical support specialist at Call Centre Helper, stood out from the rest.

7 Practical Steps to Tearing Down Silos

Internal silos may not directly impact customer experiences — but they do significantly hamper a brand’s effort to produce unified customer journeys.

Appleby articulated this in his build up to the seven practical steps he laid out for combating internal silos. Here they are:

1. Recognize the Problem

First and foremost, Appleby stressed the importance of recognizing silos within your organization. They may be painfully obvious, or misleadingly obscure, but they’re almost certainly there if you look hard enough.

2. Log the Issues

The next step is to record the resulting issues. This practice is useful for reporting to higher ups, and for the sake of taking the right measures to break down the silos.

3. Beware of Duplication

Duplicated work is one of the most common consequences of a siloed workplace. Appleby gave the real-life example of a company he came across that had two totally isolated teams working on the very same website, “the only difference being that one website was in English, and the other in French,” he told the audience.

4. Deploy Leadership Across Divisions

Appleby also touched on the importance of having a leader or leadership team in place to manage multiple divisions, with the aim of promoting collaboration between teams and departments.

5. Share Tools and Best Practices

To ensure that collaboration is valued and thus continued, Appleby suggested that siloed teams should combat the barriers by sharing tools and best practices.

6. Define a Communication and Data Sharing Strategy

To keep various teams engaged with the data and conversations going on across the wider company, a communication strategy should be implemented. Digital workplace collaboration tools could help fill such a gap.

Another member of the panel, Dominique Seminel, customer and employee digital experience group project manager from Orange, shared his advice as well. He underlined the importance of data sharing, as opposed to the data hoarding that goes on in siloed environments.

Learning Opportunities

With data being shared, “all customer-facing staff members can help customers because they have a 360 view of them from across channels [as opposed to a siloed view].”

7. Develop 'Spider Web' Communication Culture

According to Appleby, a “Spider Web” communication culture is a workplace where an intern has the confidence and authority to talk to the CEO about anything and everything.  

Essentially, it’s a concept that promotes cross-departmental dialogue by ensuring that lower-level employees can voice their ideas and concerns without having to rely on formal communications made through their superiors.  

Segment Your Messaging, Not Your Staff

The presentation delivered by Loyalty Magazine Editor Annich McIntosh immediately before the panel discussion was in total contrast — and that’s because she was talking about how to get customers to love you.

She shared some thoughts and example of how brands are segmenting their target audiences to provide them with value in exchange for loyalty.

“Loyalty is emotional, it isn’t logical,” McIntosh said, referring to the affection and understanding that brands must portray in their marketing campaigns.

McIntosh referred to the tactics of Turkcell, the Turkish telecommunications company, as one example. She explained the way in which Turkcell segments its target audience before delivering targeted value accordingly.

“[Turkcell] tailor their messaging to Millennials, the elderly and even farmers, providing them with weather updates and relevant prices,” she said.

So while internal siloes are undesirable, McIntosh argued that segmenting (or siloing) customers is the key to personalized marketing messages that will (hopefully) win you a customer’s loyalty.

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