Customer-centric behaviours for the future – Cross-functional collaboration

by Marty Nicholas

In order to remain competitive in today’s market, organisations need to have a holistic view of their customer, so they can rapidly evolve their suite of products and services when needed. However, this kind of agility demands a collaborative effort from all parts of the organisation, and a move away from the traditional siloed mentality.

Given customers now expect to be offered a single, all-encompassing proposition while interacting with the one organisation, frontline customer-facing roles need to adopt new ways of working to stay ahead. Learning to collaboratively share insights across the organisation is a must for these teams if they are to fulfil the breadth of a customer’s needs. The result is worth the effort – teams who collaborate successfully across functions achieve better product penetration and greater customer satisfaction.
Why is cross-functional collaboration so important?

Thanks to the pace of innovation, organisations are now required to keep up with their competitors by using data to plan and act on changes in the customer experience eco-system and provide customers with tailored offerings. Therefore, it makes sense that frontline teams that can move way from a siloed mentality and leverage their internal networks can better optimise customer interactions. For example, seeking input from other departments may help to identify gaps in the customer experience, and produce innovative solutions that may not have otherwise been brought to light.

Here are the sub-behaviours we have noticed successful frontline teams exhibit when demonstrating cross-functional collaboration.

What does good look like for the frontline?

1. Building internal networks to develop effective plans
Technological innovations have extended customer journeys across multiple channels and functions, which makes it important for the organisation to develop cross-functional planning processes to ensure customers are cohesively supported at each stage. The frontline of the future will need to proactively build connections within the organisation to gain market knowledge and spark insight and innovation, for it to then be shared with customers. The ability to successfully cross-functionally plan with internal partners will allow the frontline to provide unique and tailored solutions to the customer and facilitate smooth customer-facing processes workflows and hand-offs – all of which will make for a seamless customer experience.

2. Executing and handing over effectively with other functions
In a previous blog, we highlighted the importance of developing a cross-functional ‘collaboration model’ to detail roles and responsibilities across each stage of a buyer-centric funnel. Effective frontline teams are skilled at working effectively with other functions by leveraging and managing resources to ensure deal progression and closure. This involves setting clear expectations when handing off with the customer and other functions, and taking ownership of the end-to-end process – from identifying the customer need, to the delivery of the product or service.
What’s next?

The move from a siloed, product-led selling approach to a ‘whole of client needs’ focus will require drawing upon the skillsets and expertise of many across the organisation. This will mean an investment in upskilling the frontline to collaborate cross-functionally, so they can offer the level of customer experience the digitally empowered customer expects.

Our next – and final – blog in this series will explore the importance of Values-Based Decision Making; developing the knowledge and skills to understand ethical approaches to decision making.
This was the sixth post in our blog series, The 7 Key Customer-Centric Behaviours. Our previous blogs explored topics including Data & Digital Literacy – translating data into relevant insights and executing on these insights in a meaningful way, Dynamic Prioritisation – the shift from sequential working to prioritising tasks to where most value lies and Customer Experience Optimisation – adding strategic value at pivotal points in a customer’s journey to build deeper relationships and add long-term value.
We’ve unearthed these seven key customer-centric behaviours for frontline teams in our work helping organisations transform their people to better support digital go-to-market models. We have found that these behaviours are critical for frontline teams to equip themselves with when operating in the context of a digitally empowered, customer-led environment.

For a deeper look at integrating and digitising marketing, sales and service, download our whitepaper now.