Do you keep your staff in a pigeonhole?

Do you keep your staff in a pigeonhole?

Customer 360-degree view is a phrase that most companies will be familiar with. It refers to this idea of having a complete view of the customer, by aggregating data from various sources, systems, and areas – from Marketing to Sales to Service and Support.

Companies generally collate all of this information and data, and provide this Customer 360-degree view to their staff, as a critical step to improving efficiency and Customer Experience. “Easy!” I hear you say… Wrong!

The truth is that you can have all the customer information joined up in one single view, but it will fall by the wayside if your organisation still works in silos. How many times have you heard an agent say “Sorry, this is the X department (…) you need to be speaking to Y (…) there is nothing I can do”. Immediately a spanner is thrown into the well thought out Customer 360-degree view, promptly creating a wall within the Customer Experience.

A recent personal example demonstrates it very well…

My outward leg of the flight was cancelled by the airline last minute, and I had to re-book and request a refund. A few days later, I got the refund and its breakdown, and there I saw a “Cancellation Fee”. My immediate thought was “A Cancellation Fee? The airline cancelled the leg of the journey, not me”. This prompted me to contact the airline, querying about the breakdown, and this resulted in the roughly abridged flow:

  • Customer Relations: “Hi, this is a refund issue, please contact them, thank you.”
  • Refunds Department: “We are sorry about your complaint but this is the refunds team, please contact the customer relations team at [email address]”
  • Customer Relations: “Sorry for the delay in contacting you, but this is a refund issue.”
  • Me: “I’m making a complaint about your policy and an unjust charge.”
  • Customer Relations: “Sorry for the delay in contacting you, but this is a refund issue.”


After a couple of months of toing and froing, I decided to escalate it to the company CEO, who swiftly passed it back to the Customer Relations department, who then deflects the issue and closes the case. I decided not to give up and emailed the CEO a few more times.

Finally, six months later, I receive a call from the airline apologising for all the trouble and recognising that it was all an administration error. Case closed!

Going back to my point, despite this company provides their staff with a Customer 360-degree view, that didn’t prevent them from delivering a bad Customer Experience, because of the organisation itself, and its different departments that seem to work in complete separate silos and do not communicate with each other.

Not being able to fluidly support a customer broke the customer journey and experience, and actually turned me down the road to being an active detractor, after so many years flying with this airline. As Warren Buffett quoted “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”.

What could the airline have done differently? Above all, look beyond technology when putting together the famous Customer 360-degree view. Look at the internal processes, procedures and stakeholders, and confirm that they are aligned with the customer journey and needs.

Bottom line is… keeping your staff in a pigeon hole might be undermining the purpose of the Customer 360-degree view as well as all the effort spent putting it together.

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