As technology evolves, so do customer and employee expectations. Yet many companies aren’t taking steps to meet them.
It’s a deadly mistake. In less than two years, customer experience will surpass even product price as the biggest differentiator for businesses. Four in 10 companies will fail over the next decade simply because they can’t keep up with changing customer expectations.
So why aren’t organizations doing more?
Researchers have found “silo mentality” remains the biggest obstacle to improving the customer experience. While internal silos have their uses, they also tend to divide the organization into disjointed parts incapable of providing a seamless experience that not only customers expect, but that employees do as well. In the workplace, internal silos create roadblocks to working effectively. And, when employees have a poor experience at work, they are more likely to feel frustrated and unsatisfied, making it harder for them to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
More than 80 percent of executives admit their companies still have internal silos. But many aren’t sure what to do about it. As Adobe Campaign’s senior product marketing manager Bruce Swann says, “You can’t simply tear an organization apart and still expect it to function.”
What business leaders can do, however, is focus on improving the overall employee experience by eliminating silos that impact a worker’s daily journey. While many different types of silos can exist within a single organization, we recommend focusing on the two types that have the biggest impact on employee experience: organizational and data silos.
Organizational silos arise from the way companies structure themselves. The longstanding habit of sorting business functions into separate departments makes sense from an operational standpoint, but over time the walls between departments can calcify, preventing teams from collaborating and hindering smart decision-making. In fact, nearly 90 percent of employees blame team failures on lack of collaboration.
When different departments aren’t strategically aligned, they often end up with competing priorities that result in demoralizing power struggles. Employees waste time duplicating work, performing repetitive tasks, or recreating the wheel instead of leveraging skills to make a meaningful contribution to the bottom line. For example, employees spend nearly 2 hours a day searching for and gathering the information they need—that is up to 25 percent of an employee’s working hours!
Fortunately, breaking down organizational silos doesn’t require a full-on restructure. Instead, companies can use technology to build pathways for communication and collaboration across departments and pay grades, allowing employees to work in concert, rather than competing for priority.
Data silos are the natural result of organizational silos. Operational teams need different tools to function, and each department often has its own enterprise systems. Since these systems typically don’t talk to each other, data from one department remains difficult to access by other teams. In fact, 62 percent of workers have to rely on others to get the information they need, which can create frustrating bottlenecks.
Without full access to cross-departmental information at their fingertips, employees are unable to get a 360-degree customer view. This renders them unable to identify and eliminate pain points, effectively address customer problems, and respond to customers’ changing needs. The feelings of disempowerment that result can swiftly turn to disengagement as employees get frustrated and stop giving their all.
With the right tools, business leaders can break down information silos by consolidating important tasks, information, and data from departmental systems into a single place—all without the need to rip and replace software. By pulling important tasks and data from disparate systems and delivering personalized updates to those who need them, companies can empower employees with the information they need to work smarter, faster, and achieve better business outcomes.
Organizational and data silos constitute major roadblocks for employees, who increasingly suffer from low engagement and morale. Empowered employees, on the other hand, report higher job satisfaction and feel motivated to work harder. They’re also better equipped to provide better customer experiences, which is why companies with engaged employees garner 233 percent greater customer loyalty and outperform their competitors by 147 percent.
Business leaders are beginning to realize how deeply intertwined the employee and customer experiences are. And while eliminating internal silos is by no means a cure-all strategic solution, employees that have tools that support their daily work are happier and more motivated, making it easier for them to focus on meeting the needs of customers.