How can executives create a new spin on integration?


Most organisations have come to realise that responsibility for customer experience now extends way beyond the confines of its original home – the marketing department.

Unsurprisingly, this has had an impact on how disparate internal departments work together to strive towards supporting better customer experience, particularly taking into account newly emerging digital channels. To find out more, Canon commissioned a study from Forrester Consulting into the impact of emerging marketing and communications channels on business strategy. A key finding showed that although 51% of business leaders cited customer satisfaction as a top metric when building a business case for investing in emerging communication channels, most companies say that internal business limitations hold them back from actually executing strategies to improve customer experience. More specifically, 61% of those surveyed identified poor coordination between internal siloes as a challenge to being successful in serving customers on multiple devices. There is clearly a need for internal silos to work together to create a shared digital strategy that aligns the organisation to the needs of its customers. No single department has dominion over customer experience nor can drive customer satisfaction upwards on its own. Respondents also noted that while the marketing department is chiefly responsible for the implementation of new tools, it’s actually IT that chooses the solutions.

Three key steps in breaking down barriers between silos:

1. Develop cross functional steering committees

Over half of the companies surveyed use steering committees to break down internal barriers. These committees often have a mandate to hear the views of stakeholders within the company and use this input to develop and enforce consistent standards. When run efficiently these groups also serve to record and share best practices across the organisation.

2. Share goals

Half the respondents identified goal sharing as key to breaking down silos. By starting the goal setting with the end customer in mind and achieving inter-department consensus, rather than each department setting its own goals, the endeavour has a better chance of improving customer experience.

3. Adopt co-creation

A third silo-busting approach, used by half of the companies in our study, is co-creation of experiences with B2B customers. Co-creation is an inclusive, participatory approach to design that brings together people from across the customer experience ecosystem — including internal stakeholders, partners, and customers — to help synthesise research data, ideate possible solutions, create prototypes, and provide feedback. For co-creation to be effective, it should be integrated into an iterative design process that also includes steps for testing and measurement. By facilitating a collaborative approach, companies improve their chances of developing products and services that truly meet customers’ needs and can be delivered by the organisation.