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Thinking beyond AI to improve the Customer Experience

March 18, 2020 Jim Iyoob

When people think of departmental barriers, they tend to think of bigger organizations. The larger a company is, the more specialized it becomes, thereby deepening departmental differences. However, Forbes notes that organizations of all sizes struggle with departmental silos. This can make it almost impossible to deliver a reliable end-to-end customer experience. Many companies turn to artificial intelligence as a crutch to resolve the issue, but this is one problem that requires a stronger focus on interpersonal skills.

Identifying the Source of Turf Wars

Companies require harmonious interactions to maintain high productivity levels and provide a consistently good customer experience. However, turf wars are one of the biggest organizational struggles. This may stem from differences of opinion at the top management level, which trickles down to middle management and then regular employees. Note also that turf wars may stem from competition for scarce resources.

Examining the Effects of the Silo Mentality

The constant turf wars further drive a wedge between workers, making it more difficult for them to collaborate. Some of the problems this can create include the following:

  • Limited sharing of information between departments
  • Reduced efficiency in the business
  • Lower employee morale and trust
  • Lower productivity levels
  • Lower customer satisfaction

All of these problems need to be addressed for a company to run smoothly. However, low customer satisfaction may quickly become the highest priority. While artificial intelligence can certainly help to bridge the gap between departments, focusing on building strong relationships and changing the organizational culture may be more effective.

Using Human Intellect To Destroy Silo Barriers

One of the greatest aspects of human intelligence is the capacity for change. People do not act on instincts alone. They can learn, change and grow. This is the human trait that businesses need to capitalize on to break down silo barriers. Departments can then take more effective steps toward solving this problem, instead of using artificial intelligence as a crutch. Here’s how.

  • Encourage More Transparency

Transparency in an organization demystifies what goes on in different departments. Without this, employees can work for a company for years without ever really understanding how different departments fit together to bring one common vision to fruition. When employees are more aware of what each department, manager or team is responsible for, they can better reach out for assistance when they or a client’s customers need it.

  • Make Interdepartmental Integration Seamless

Sometimes a customer may call a contact center with a problem that requires an interdepartmental solution. For example, an employee may have upgraded a subscription, but a glitch in the system led to two charges: the original price and the upgraded price. The finance department will need to provide a refund. The tech team will need to address the glitch. The customer service rep may then act as a liaison. Companies may use artificial intelligence to automate updates to the customer as well as the feedback process.

  • Create More Interdepartmental Goals

Companies too often create goals backed by incentives that pitch employees, teams, and departments against each other. Instead, managers should work together to create goals that require collaboration across the board. For example, a company may decide to improve efficiency by 10% in 180 days. To achieve this, they may task the engineers with improving the functions of applications that rely on artificial intelligence, such as data analytics and chatbots. Engineers would need to work with customer service reps to find out more about the customer experience and their concerns.

  • Provide Opportunities for Socializing

When it comes to solving serious problems like low customer satisfaction and reduced employee productivity, social gatherings are the last thing on a manager’s mind. However, social events can help to reduce some of the tension between departments by compelling people to get to know each other better in a more relaxed setting. Companies can increase the likelihood of this on a daily basis by providing more interdepartmental common areas.

The Bottom Line When It Comes to Silos

Companies across multiple industries rely on artificial intelligence to help them tie all the different aspects of a business together. AI also helps them to transform the customer experience for the better. However, AI alone cannot save a business from itself. Managers must encourage interdepartmental collaboration to break down internal barriers. Until this happens, a company’s divisiveness will continue to reflect in increased call transfers and overall confusion when handling customer requests.

At Etech, we believe combing a mix of human intelligence & Artificial Intelligence is the key to tackle the damaging effects of silos. By focusing more on cooperating across departments, we are better able to serve our clients and their customers. Contact us today for more information.

This blog was earlier published on LinkedIn.