How Business Executives Can Drive Results by Breaking Down Silos

A CXO talks to other organizational leaders about breaking down silos

Breaking down silos in the workplace and creating a truly connected organization are key to delivering business and customer outcomes.

It’s not an easy time to be running a business. Given the current economic uncertainty paired with constantly shifting consumer preferences, expectations, and behavior, the pressure is on the CEO and all C-level executives to do more than ever with fewer resources. Enterprises across industries are in the spotlight and laser-focused on increasing revenue, reducing spend, and attracting and retaining top talent. 

It’s a tall order, especially given the number of organizational silos holding businesses back. 

Working in Silos Isn’t Working, Yet That’s How Many Companies Still Operate

The contact center has one set of priorities, digital and marketing another, while in-person teams are focused on other goals. As a result, various departments are investing in and relying on siloed technology solutions, which only exacerbates the underlying problem created by siloed organizations. 

Let’s face it, it’s all but impossible to deliver maximum business results when organizations are disconnected. Many organizations with low maturity levels have a siloed culture and way of working, and their efforts suffer as a result. 

Siloed teams and technologies mean poor experiences for customers and employees. The reality is that experiences that are not defined, designed, implemented, and managed result in poor experiences that only end up costing the organization. Research reveals that 76% of customers expect consistent experiences across departments, thus it’s important that experiences are not managed individually across the organization, but rather holistically to best serve customers. 

That’s why breaking down silos is key to not only improving experiences, but delivering quantifiable business results. 

That’s one reason we’ve seen the rise of one new key C-level officer, the chief experience officer (CXO). The CXO has a critical role to play, as they are responsible not only for the success of the CX organization, but for leading change management, breaking down silos, driving organizational alignment, ensuring CX program success, and ensuring business challenges are addressed. 

The Role of the CXO in Breaking Down Silos

The challenges of organizational structures and departmental silos are complex; therefore, the person responsible for bringing an entire enterprise together needs to have an understanding of all of the moving parts. This person must display an in-depth understanding of the non-CX aspects of the business. To drive transformational change and deliver mission-critical results beyond the traditional CX benchmarks, C-level executives need to take a more holistic approach to this function.

The key to breaking down silos in an organization is dependent on the blend of skills and competencies of the person entrusted with this responsibility. They have to see this as a business-driven initiative, because connected experiences happen across business functions, channels, and touchpoints. This executive sponsor has the responsibility of mobilizing all other organization functions to support the enterprise-wide change. Their influence has the ability to identify, define, and influence all other business areas, such as digital and marketing, location and operations, customer service, sales and customer success, product and engineering, human resources, and executive teams with the goal of creating connected experiences across the business.

Any executive sponsor entrusted with this responsibility must bring together the right people, technology, and processes and utilize influence to deliver connected experiences that support the organizational goals. This requires an ability to think not only from a customer perspective, but also from the employees’ perspectives and the business perspective — hence the need for a business-centric leader who is also skilled at the non-CX aspects of the process. The executive sponsor needs to have visibility into what the customer experiences and what the organization sees in order to create the connectedness that will yield quantifiable business results.

Of course, the executive responsible for championing the improvement of organizational connectedness to drive business results does not necessarily have to come from within a CX operation or have a CX background. This role could be filled by anyone in the C-suite — such as your Chief Finance Officer or Chief Operations Officer — who offers a blend of organizational change management and is a good political player who can manage an all-encompassing role. 

What Breaking Down Silos & Connecting Experiences Means for Organizations

Creating connectedness and unified experiences at an enterprise level allows for collective wins rather than individual wins that are achieved at the expense of other business areas. Creating connected experiences allows organizations to deliver business results. When there is one person who owns the entire experience, CX and EX become centralized, the leadership team understands what to prioritize, frontline teams have access to CX insights that help them to do their jobs better, and there is alignment and accountability across the business. 

How to Get Started Breaking Down Silos and Connecting Experiences at Your Organization

The best way to start the process is by understanding the state of CX within the organization. This includes a culture maturity assessment, which is critical in understanding the gaps within the organization and helps in defining the road ahead. Start by asking:

  • Which teams are involved in CX? Who are the leaders on those teams?
  • Who are the partners and stakeholders, internally and externally, that need to be engaged?
  • What customer communications exist, and who is sending them?
  • What technologies are being used?
  • What types of experience data exists? Where does this data live?
  • What is the nature of data accessibility and usability across all of these functions?
  • How much data will be lost or gained by bringing these data sources together?

Next, start to think about customer problems as business problems and align these to your overall strategy, by asking these critical questions:

  • What does the business want to achieve? 
  • What’s the corporate-wide strategy? 
  • What are the core company objectives? 
  • What is the organization trying to accomplish?
  • What is each C-level leader trying to achieve?

Once these steps have been finished, you can start to connect the desired outcomes to business goals and create messaging to communicate your new objectives and goals to get the entire C-level team onboard.

For next steps on assembling a cross-functional group to uncover the biggest opportunities for improvement and build a strategy aligned to your organization’s most important business outcomes, be sure to check out The Executive’s Guide to Breaking Down Silos & Delivering Business Results.