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The importance of engaged and empowered cross-functional teams

Consumers’ disparate experiences with organisations are becoming far too common. Organisations need to change their approach to customer experience from being channel specific, and focus on consistency of service via integrated customer journeys. A case in point is when a consumer needs urgent written information from a bank to apply for a home loan from another institution. The consumer queues at the bank, only to be told that the representative is not authorised to type up a letter on a bank’s letterhead, and that it can also not be emailed or posted ‘because it’s all automated’.

The consumer then turns to the contact centre, where they receive a completely different experience and a can-do attitude. The consumer is told by the agent that they would happily email a closure letter, but that it’s also already available online through the internet banking portal.

How silos started

Organisations (regardless of size) are segmented into specific functions and departments. This is done for many good reasons, including specialisation and efficiency. However, these departments or functions operate in silos where their goals are not aligned. Silos can be a significant problem throughout the organisation, but are particularly toxic to CX initiatives. 

Almost all organisations now recognise that CX is a key measure of success. They are also starting to understand that CX transformation cannot happen in pockets of the organisation, but requires a ‘whole of company’ approach. For traditional hierarchical organisations, senior management must first define the CX strategy, and then shepherd the company through the accompanying cultural transformation. This may be difficult for many organisations caught in an era of disruption and a frenetic pace of change that struggles to move fast enough.

Best approach for CX initiatives

CX initiatives can be led from below, and can be tackled one customer journey at a time. The key is to form an engaged and empowered cross-functional team, with representation and support from multiple departments and functions of the organisation. It’s critical that this team is inoculated against, and protected from, the cultural norms of silo-based thinking.

Basic steps to consider:

1: Assign a champion to CX – they may need to convince many people to buy into the venture

2: Understand the metrics of success that senior management and executives require from changes in CX. Baseline the metrics so that they can measure the impact of CX initiatives.