3
Apr

Interdepartmental Communication and Its Impact on Customers

By Evan Klein

Interdepartmental Communication

Take a moment to think about the various roles within in your organization. What are the primary responsibilities of each individual department? More importantly, is everyone rowing in the same direction (customer-facing role or not) when it comes to working together to do what’s best for your customers?

Businesses large and small often struggle with how to keep the intricate system of people and departments running smoothly enough to maintain a seamless experience for the customer.

Even successful growth can cause hitches in a company’s culture and the way employees work together and communicate across the organization. More people come on, departments gets bigger and suddenly, the company is facing one of the biggest barriers to employee morale and productivity—silos.

Productive Employees = Better Customer Experiences = Higher Revenue

It’s easy to understand how improving interdepartmental communication can make your organization run better and create a better outcome for customers. But the impact isn’t just anecdotal:

  • Research shows that organizations with low employee engagement will not only see a dip in productivity (18% lower) and job growth (37% lower), but over time they’ll also see a 16% decrease in profitability and 65% lower share price over time.
  • On the flip side, numerous studies have proven the correlation between workplace satisfaction and employee productivity. A Harvard Business Review analysis of multiple studies on the subject generally found that sales rose by 37% when employees are happy or satisfied.

And can you guess the #1 tip for keeping employees satisfied and happy? It should come as no surprise that listening to your employees is the most common recommendation offered by culture experts.

Importance of Internal Communication

Poor communication, inefficient processes, departmental squabbling, unnecessary red tape—these issues can build up until they spill over into the customer experience and your bottom line. Employee morale and productivity will fall, weighing on job satisfaction and retention.

The good news is, much of this can be exposed and acted upon by administering an Interdepartmental Survey. Giving your employees a voice will help your leadership team identify the key challenges within your organization and the actions required to dismantle the roadblocks until communication flows between teams, groups and departments.

How to Improve Department Communication and Collaboration

Think about it. Human Resources, Finance, IT – these departments are almost entirely serving internal customers (i.e. employees). And your customer-facing team often rely on these groups to deliver exceptional service experiences.

Take, for example, a recent experience with our HR software and service vendor.

A team member was relocating out of state and his employee records needed to be updated. To ensure he was set up properly, the Customer Success Manager had to coordinate activities among several internal departments, including the tax department, payroll, benefits, etc.

Fortunately, everything worked smoothly and the relocation of our employee went without a hitch. But what if it hadn’t? We (the customer) would have been frustrated and our vendor’s Customer Success Manager likely would have had to deal with the consequences, even though it wouldn’t have been entirely their fault.

So, how do you identify these internal breakdowns before they do any damage? You can’t just go around informally asking people to explain what they perceive are the problems. Employees rarely feel comfortable answering such a question internally for several reasons, including:

  • Human nature. Most people avoid conflict and aren’t necessarily comfortable criticizing their peers, especially directly
  • They don’t want to be seen as a squeaky wheel
  • Sometimes the person asking the question is part of the problem

That’s why it’s best to tap a third-party resource (like Satrix Solutions) to design and administer your Employee Interdepartmental Survey for you.

Interdepartmental Survey Consultants

For our clients, the primary advantage of partnering with an outside expert is the ability to offer employees a safe place to share their candid feedback. As a result, employees feel more comfortable providing their honest insight, which is vital to gaining a true understanding of the situation(s) at hand.

Another key benefit to partnering with a third-party is the in-depth analysis of the results and detailed, informed recommendations for eliminating the issues standing in the way of cross-departmental collaboration.

With improved cohesion between departments, you’ll see the impact across the company, with better working relationships and higher job satisfaction among your employees. Just as important, there will be fewer internal obstacles that have the potential to weigh on customer satisfaction.