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Mind the gap! Bridging the departmental divide is a critical CX play

It is no surprise that the proportion of people working in a hybrid fashion and splitting their time between home and the office has risen in 2022. The Office for National Statistics reports that in spring 2022, 38% of working adults reported having worked from home at some point over the past seven days. The report goes on to state that 84% of workers who had to work from home because of the pandemic plan to continue to do so in the future.

Businesses are having to adapt accordingly. Hybrid working adds a further layer of complexity to a challenge that was already apparent before the pandemic struck – that of ensuring the quick and accurate sharing of information between departments.

Our recent survey amongst decision makers in financial services, utilities and retail, emphasised the difficulties that business face when it comes to the sharing of information – specifically information relating to customer interactions.

How much improvement do you believe is required for professionals in your organisation to have access to accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive records of each customer interaction and share that detail with colleagues in other departments?


A complete overhaul or significant improvement is required


Some improvement is required


No improvement is required



Without the ability to share information, customer communications run the risk of falling short, of never being truly tailored and meaningful. Think also of the impact on the customer experience caused by duplication and unnecessary communications – all because departments are unable to provide swift and accurate updates on each customer’s communication history.

 Siloes stifle CX

Part of the problem is that, too often, organisations work in siloes of operation. Each department may feel it is operating efficiently, but efficiency in isolation gives a false picture. If information is not shared successfully between departments, the overall impression given to the end customer will be negative.

Lack of digitisation and an over-reliance on manual interaction can make processes disjointed and unwieldy. To the end customer, the end result can be communications that are inaccurate, duplicated, or that simply take too long to arrive.

The additional impact of hybrid working

When asked to comment on the additional impact of hybrid working on the customer experience, responses were far from positive. Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with the following statement:

Customer experience is suffering because remote-working staff are not able to share information with colleagues quickly

80% of respondents either agreed, or strongly agreed. Remember, this response comes from business decision-makers themselves, not end customers. Only one in five respondents (20%) feel their organisations are robustly equipped to seamlessly enable office-based and remote staff to connect and share information – and therefore to deliver a proficient customer experience.

A concern for private and public sector

This is a major concern, not just for the sectors covered in the survey but for any organisation regularly communicating with customers. The public sector must also address this key challenge. With local council employees working from home more frequently, the sight of empty desks means some authorities are reassessing their estates and deciding they need less space. But can these councils guarantee that their communications to citizens will remain unaffected? Are existing legacy process really equipped to handle the additional challenges presented by a dispersed workforce?

Digital agility

Clearly, breaking down these siloes of operation and enabling the swift, efficient and secure sharing of information between departments and between locations is key.

Our survey shows that respondents are aware of the challenge – and recognition of the need for improvement is the crucial first step. Often, businesses can be deterred by the perceived scale of change required to transform away from legacy. But what’s the reality?

In fact, change can happen in small steps. It can also happen extremely quickly which is often a surprise to decision-makers. From identifying a process for improvement, to planning and testing a solution to full implementation and go-live can take as little as eight weeks. Crucially, collaborative development can also take place without placing an additional burden on typically over-stretched internal IT teams.

The tools are out there to make a difference and to expedite departmental and inter-colleague collaboration – no matter where colleagues are based. Examples of this could be a content management platform or shared access secure document repository. Another good example is hybrid mail, which enables authorised colleagues to cost-effectively print and despatch high quality, compliant communications at a secure production facility from their desktop. The tools that govern document versioning and editing, allow authorised colleagues to remotely view the latest amends and to make and approve universal changes to documents. Often, ‘digital transformation’ can simply mean implementing a solution to a very specific ongoing or new issue rather than making sweeping changes throughout. One example might be the creation of an online self-serve portal which enables customers to view and download key documentation rather than having to interact with customer-service teams. Internal departments can then view the exact status of each customer journey – enabling more rapid decision-making and improving the ongoing customer experience.

The secure, speedy and accurate sharing of customer information is essential to delivering a rewarding customer experience. Increasingly, legacy processes are unable to meet the demands of today’s customer for instant service and rapid resolution. The challenge of overcoming operational siloes has been further complicated by today’s working pattern which results in teams and colleagues being dispersed and operating remotely from one another.

This is a challenge that urgently needs solving. Failure to do so will impact the customer experience and put compliance at risk. Happily, the tools and expertise exist to empower businesses and the public sector to modernise data-sharing processes at a pace and level of investment that suits. Small changes can very quickly lead to significant operational gains.