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What is a communications silo?

  • 3 min read

Customer communications silos are commonplace within nearly every business. For large businesses, there is no getting away from the fact that the natural evolution of the various business structures and processes has led to different parts of the business communicating with customers and prospective customers. However, those communications are rarely co-ordinated.

So let’s be clear on what we mean by a customer communications silo. It is when any individual part of the business is communicating with a customer without a centralised strategy for that communication. Typical examples include marketing, contact centres, digital and billing. All such functions communicate with customers, typically with no reference to each other. It is also worth noting that such silos can exist within departments as well. For example, organisations often split marketing into different functions–such as brand marketing, PR, social, outbound marketing and more often than not such customer comms are only co-ordinated when a specific campaign requires it to be done rather than in a sustained, strategic manner.

The solution is a centralised strategy. This involves the co-ordination of both the content being used with customers and the contact strategy that ensures that the content is relevant and appropriate to the customers that receive it. Few such centralised strategies exist.

Now put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You are one company operating under a single brand. Your customer really does not care about how your internal structures. What they do care about is that any communication they receive from you is right for them. To be right, it must firstly be relevant both for their needs and in relation to the products and services they receive from you already. Second, it must be contextually accurate. If I, as your customer, have just had an unpleasant experience, I will not look kindly upon you as a company if you send me some promotional material for your latest product or service. Sadly, most companies fall foul of this most of the time.

As companies seek to become customer-centric, such communications silos suddenly become a genuine issue. You cannot claim to be customer-centric when such silos exist because your customer communications will be inconsistent. Instead, you need to think about the customer experience and how to meet their needs better through the communications you send them.

Stop trying to sell to segments and start trying to meet your individual customer’s needs. It is the dehumanised target driven culture within businesses that has led to such detrimental customer communications silos existing. See how to go about aligning you silo’s.