Breaking down internal silos to improve customer service

In an ideal world silos would exist within companies for organizational and structural purposes, but be invisible for customers and ease – not stifle – customer experience.

In the real world, a recent survey from the American Management Association showed that 83% of executives said silos existed in their companies and 97% of them think that they have a negative effect. Ahead of the Digital Content Summit 2017, we’ve spoken to Dominique Seminel, Group Project Manager of Customer and Employees Digital Experience at Orange about his approach in dealing with silos.

“Silos are not necessarily a bad thing. You need to have different teams working on different projects, but customers shouldn’t notice their presence or be worried about how your organization is working internally,” says Seminel. “For instance, if you’ve contacted Orange on Twitter and haven’t received an answer, then you call to find out why you didn’t get any answer. If the guy in the call center doesn’t have any trace of what the Twitter team has done, you have to explain the whole thing again. As a customer, you’ll be dissatisfied.”

Seminel says one of the solutions is to share data within the organization, so it’s accessible by different departments. “If you share data, the same situation in the call center would be handled much easier. If I have access to the Twitter trail, I can see what has already been done to solve the problem and can pick it up from there, without wasting the customer’s time.”

Orange in Morocco has already implemented this 360-degree view of the customer. If the customer starts enquiring about problems via social media and then decides to contact the call center, the call center staff can easily see what progress has been made via social media and pick it up from there. “This has had a positive impact on our customer services: as soon as we establish the name of the customer, we can immediately see the whole history of interaction,” says Seminel.

Another area of customer experience that Orange is trying to improve is breaking down silos between different organizations within the company: for instance, between an online and a high street store. “Say you order online but you don’t want to wait for the delivery of the smartphone you’ve chosen. If we show you online the availability in stores close to you, then it will make it much easier. You can order it online and collect it from the store,” says Seminel, adding that they’ve already implemented that option at Orange stores in France.

Seminel says that overall, it’s important that all departments within one organization have a common objective and vision of the company: “If different departments share the same objective and are on the same page, then it will make internal silos transparent to the customer”.

That, in his opinion, will also help teams to work together: “We are trying to have a one-off approach: putting people from different departments – marketers, developers, designers – in the same room so they can come up with a better solution together.”

To hear Dominique Seminel speak, please join the springboard discussion: “Breaking the internal silos to improve service throughout your organization” at the Digital Content Summit on May 23d in London.

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