What are some best practices for developing a digital customer experience across silos especially when different product owners have different roadmaps?
In a perfect world, all organizations would operate like a well-oiled machine. All employees across the board would be in sync with projects and strategic initiatives that are taking place, there would not be any communication barriers across departments, employees would be supportive, collaborative and everyone would work together towards achieving the unified strategic objectives of the organization. Unfortunately, the reality is that the majority of organizations operate far from this utopian view. Silos exist in the real world, and employees very often operate with an “us versus them” mentality. How then, do we introduce more innovative concepts, such as digital customer experience, in the workplace? How do we do this if an organization operates in silos and product owners operate off separate roadmaps?
To address this, we need to understand the reality that silos won’t be broken down overnight. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your dreams of developing leading and industry defining digital CX can’t be realized. If you want to get anywhere, start by considering the following:
Explaining the Digital CX Vision
You have a vision, and you know exactly what the organization needs to achieve. While you can clearly picture this in your own mind, can you define your vision, explain your vision and have others understand what you are trying to achieve? You will always need the support of others within your organization, so it is important that everyone understands the bigger picture and what the long-term end game is. Can you clearly convey what you are striving to achieve, or are you met with blank stares from your colleagues?
Promote the Benefits
Can you picture the benefits that having a digital CX initiative will bring? What will others gain from assisting with this initiative? It’s very difficult to expect others to match the passion and drive that you have, especially if they can’t visualize the benefits for themselves. Sell the rewards that can be reaped by whatever means possible. Whether that be through presentations, conversations, business cases or live demonstrations; you need to make sure everyone realizes the potential benefits they can expect to receive. Does the initiative benefit others and are you selling the opportunities it provides?
You may have the knowledge, background and experience to make something successful, but you won’t get very far if you are doing it on your own. Successful initiatives are ones that have the support of senior leadership. They are there to keep you accountable, provide guidance, contribute resources, and help navigate through roadblocks that come up. Who from the executive team is supporting you on this?
Breaking Down Barriers
The silos that exist in your organization won’t go away tomorrow, but that shouldn’t stop you from establishing your own channels of communication. Whether you realize it or not, you are asking for long-term assistance with your initiative, so don’t start with large demands. Keep it flexible and keep it simple. An informal meeting to obtain another’s perspective is a good way to start. Acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers, and that their insight and guidance is needed to propel this forward. A good way to think through the initial approach is to put yourself in that individual’s seat and reflect on how you would react.
Each department you encounter may be working off different roadmaps, but ultimately, everyone should be working to achieve the same strategic goals. If this is not the case, some adjustment to your organizations strategic objectives may be required. The introduction of concepts such as digital CX may not initially appear to align with the objectives of another department’s roadmap. This is especially the case if others don’t understand what you are working to achieve. Help others understand that their assistance on your CX initiative is imperative by breaking down the benefits and objectives into smaller components, and outlining how that specific component fits in with the bigger picture.
These five best practices are just the beginning to developing a complete digital customer experience. Start today by taking the initial steps of breaking down communication barriers by talking about the benefits and vision of a digital CX strategy. This will get people in the organization to begin thinking about digital CX. Then, by gaining the support of an executive, you will obtain the guidance needed to ensure the longevity of the digital CX program you are trying to create. Finally, by working together across different departments to create a unified strategy for implementation, you will be well on your way to delighting your customers in the digital realm.