Successful businesses recognise the importance of department communications and alignment as being highly critical to their development and growth.
One if the biggest areas that any business must look at for serious growth, is the collaborative communications between all departments that have a customer touch point, in any shape or form.
Department Silos? – Break Them Down… Quickly.
This requires strong transformational leadership and buy-in from the employees and Senior Board. It has to be seen as joined up in its execution to succeed.
To achieve a consistent understanding and clarity in a companies strategies, all departments require constant development in their transparent communications.
Breaking this down then into achievable activities for individuals and teams.
Regular Inter-Departmental meetings
- Which departments should be communicating?
The answer is simply ALL should within your business.
Every department plays it’s own part within the end-to-end journey of your products or services. It’s critical that all the departments within a business know each others operation and purpose.
After all the overall objective if any business is to return a profit, therefore the end goal is what individually all department’s should be signed up to, but in unison.
- How best can departments convey their activities and support requirements?
- Each head of department attend respective monthly meetings, listen, engage, document and communicate clearly and quickly through his or her own team’s
- Ensure respective department heads chair their meetings, communicating what it is their team are responsible for. They should discuss what input is required from colleagues of other departments, by way of feedback or support, as part of their service offer to either of its B2C, B2B or Omni-channel customers
- What works well, what could be better?
- A key part of any teams success us the acknowledgement of feedback around what other departments feel works well, or doesn’t.
- It is a great opportunity for everyone to look at how each department is linked in the service and processes.
- It needs all department heads to takeaway ‘what could we do better to assist?’, not only our colleagues, but also the customers, through a much better service
External & Internal Sales Team Feedback
- What information is required?
- What is the feedback from the customer’s?
- What is the service and/or product feedback from the sales team’s?
- Are channel heads requirements and objectives clear to the team. It’s one thing for a sales manager or director to request activity, yet it’s entirely open to whether a sales team has just listened, or actively understood with 100% clarity.
If the strategy is powerful, yet the clarity and understanding is poor, then so shall the outcome be poor.
- The eyes and ears of sales teams is with their customers. They are the front line and main conduit for all their respective accounts, receiving regular information on what works and what doesn’t.
- If customers are not bought into the products, promotions or overall service offered, then a business needs to ‘tune in’ quickly to what is wanted over what is being sold.
- ‘Square pegs‘ do not go in round holes without some adjustments and reshaping.
Area’s Open Feedback Should Be Acquired & Discussed
- On time, well packaged, correct products
- Promotional literature
- Is it working, if not, why not?
- Promotional campaigns
- Clarity, Ease, Relevance, ROI measures
- Quality, Ranges, Gaps, Price point
- Warranty, after sales
- Competition (S.W.O.T) Product Range Gap Analysis
- Customer Relationships with
- Accounts and Credit Team
- Senior management & Department Heads
- Level of external contact & support from internal teams
- Literature, POS, Incentives, is this what is required, is it used
Without customer’s there is no business
It is one step to do away with internal silos, another to receive quality feedback from all customer touch points internally and externally, but it is a far greater achievement to actually use this feedback effectively.
One of the biggest mistakes a business and its employees can make is to actively seek and aquire valuable feedback, yet then not use it to strengthen their overall service to their internal and external customers.
If customers take the time to provide ‘goldust’ in terms of what they feel and what they require, then to ignore this and carry on as before is commercial suicide.
Customers will undoubtedly feel that information given has fallen on ‘deaf ears’ and will be reluctant to offer any more in future.
They will take the view that no one listens, as will the customer teams that work with them.
Whilst a business cannot offer everything bespoke for a customer and tailor the service or products to each request, what can be done is immensely important to the retention and future development of customers and the relationships that are forged with them.
- What are the Key areas that are being fed back?
- Where could global adjustments or tweaks be made that would cost little, yet be percieved as huge step changes
- What products could be discontinued to simplify and improve the offer?
- What changes can be made to promotions and incentives to increase uptake and engagement?
- What soft skills are lacking from internal departments with customers? Could these be improved?
- Reply to feedback, shout out what you’ve listened to and what you’ve done about it….
- These were customer’s requests, you’ve listened to them
- What benefits have internal and external teams felt from the changes?
- How can these positive changes be incorporated in your new business development strategy?
In summary if we are to show customers we care and we listen then we should always ensure communications internally and externally are free flowing and all barriers are removed.
- Actively seek feedback and listen
- Digest and Discuss
- Communicate and collaborate
- Update and Replicate
- Repeat monthly, maintain connected departments
- Don’t build Silos
Post by Stormley Consulting
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