Winning customer experience is how you make yourself disruption proof, but staff training isn’t good enough as large entities use tech to scale. Your best intentions go out the window when your siloed tech kills customer service. If you change your thinking, you can avoid tech silos to begin with.
How Siloed Tech Kills Customer Experience
I’ve executed customer experience strategies for AT&T, large CLEC’s, Verizon and Berkshire Hathaway and their portfolio of about 60 large companies from Acme Brick, to Dairy Queen, Duracell, Fruit of the Loom, Kraft Heinz, GEICO, etc. The big guys know products don’t matter. Experience does. Lamb laid this out in a distilled and focused fashion.
When it comes back to the idea of the product not mattering consider the hilarious rise of Uber. You probably asked yourself, Do I pay? Do I tip? In my experience, after my 2nd ride, I realized this was the best customer experience I’ve ever had. I hit a button, a car arrives and takes me away, then I simply get out of the car, and walk away.
A company that owns no cars and uses no people to define your experience, is beating Taxi companies that own millions of cars and use trained people to deliver customer experience. The difference is this: Uber understood efficient tech unlocks customer experience at scale. But most companies aren’t focused on the experiences and what it means to avoid tech silos. Why?
Cost Scares Us Away From Lean Tech Stacks
One reason we struggle to avoid tech silos is cost. In many cases, tearing down siloed infrastructure is costly and it stands to reason, this would result in an increase in price to customers. And we all know raising prices is a business killer. Or is it?
Consider Amazon’s entry into the market place was born through a cheaper book buying process, but today their customers (myself included) buy the first item that is Amazon Prime. It’s not cheaper but it’s easy. Heck, Amazon Video rentals are 4 times higher than RedBox, it’s internet super-highway robbery. But your slippers are already on, that bottle of Cabernet is already open and that is a better experience than heading to the nearest gas station.
These trends from the residential world, are now in the commercial world. Customer monetization management, or whatever you want to call it, means multiple touchpoints along the way are required to check-in, build loyalty, and continually improve the way you interact and engage your customer. You must manage that relationship long before the sale and long after, and your people can’t do it, and are weakened by your siloed tech spaghetti.
Consider most CRM solution integrations fail because employees don’t have reasons to use the system—it isn’t apparent it will make their job easier. A properly integrated CRM solution doesn’t just capture information, it gives better information back that makes employees jobs easier. Siloed tech infrastructure hurts employees and customers and destroys the experience for both.
So, here’s the big question. How do you implement the right tech, the right way and avoid tech silos without destroying your own ability to scale customer experience? How do technologies like AI, IoT Sensors, CRMs, Gen 2 SD-WAN, Wireless 5G work for you in creating a better customer (and employee) experience? It depends on which category you’re in.
Most of the companies we see today are in what the 3 Tree Tech team calls the upgrade category. They are siloed, and simply want to upgrade a process, service, or sales flow, etc. They are focused on hardware, software and think simply plugging it in will solve their problems. It doesn’t. In fact, it just further complicates their infrastructure.
Our customers however, are in the evolve category. Evolving is the path less traveled and is how you avoid tech silos. Companies in the evolve category, understand their business or vertical is not the most important thing in the world, the customer is. Evolving is a customer-centric mindset where various tech solutions are put in place to support the vision of the company.
Technology is the easy part. Heck, we could sell you millions of dollars worth of jaw-dropping tech and to pull off some incredible things. But we know evolve mindset and commitment to change is where successful companies do what unsuccessful companies won’t do.
How To Avoid Tech Silos
Here are the two big ways your organization can use the evolve mindset to remove tech siloes and create a near-flawless customer experience according to Lamb.
Obsesses over customer/employee-centric business processes. Instead of building business models around the product, start mapping your business process around the customer.
Build your teams around customer experience. (This one tends to be the hardest for some reason. I presented this model to Berkshire Hathaway with one the question “Do you all want to be here in the room together? Or did someone tell you that you had to be here in the room together?” I often see folks from the same company introducing themselves to one another due to divisionary separation.
For efficiency, most organizations work in silos, but the magic happens when employees and staff change the way they think about working with each other in the room and focus their efforts around the customer. Tech integrations are useful to enable these teams.
What is the leanest technology stack on the planet? I’ll give you a hint, we all have one. The iPhone is perhaps the leanest technology stack that exists today—it utilizes mobile versions of your favorite apps, all downloadable in a moment’s notice. It has AI in it, allows you to examine the value for your data, and even uses your biometric data and thumbprint to securely purchase items, even in a physical retail setting.
Many companies think technology is a strategic advantage. I don’t and you shouldn’t either. The strategic advantage with respect to the iPhone is customer and employee experience. This is what truly takes down silos, and builds bridges. Period.
Technology and what it can do should never be top of mind. Your stack should work so well and be just as forgettable as the iPhone in your pocket.
Kris Taylor is VP of Cyber Security at 3 Tree Tech in Portland. He is a platform-agnostic tech researcher that transitions siloed organizations into automated DevOps centric businesses. To get his help, message him right here.
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