Chapter 4: How You Work

One Team Aligned Around Your Customer

Time to read: 3 minutes
According to our State of the Connected Customer report, 79% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments.

Most organizations operate with a level of bureaucracy that makes internal collaboration difficult. It's like a really bad 4 x 100-meter relay team where everyone is a great sprinter, but no one can pass the baton.

It’s time for organizations to work as one unified team, aligning all departments around customer data. This ensures everyone gets a single, shared view of your customers. Think of it as a circle of information about the customer, with the customer in the center.
So, if a customer calls your service team about a product issue, there’s no need for the service agent to reach out to the product team or ask the customer for their purchase details. The service agent can easily look up the information that the sales team captured when the customer made their purchase. Service can then quickly and directly respond to the customer’s needs.

Creating one team aligned around the customer requires employees to be better empowered. They naturally need the right tools to collaborate and share information. This is the era of the augmented employee, who continually adopts new digital tools to raise their customer-facing performance. However, the need is greater than tools. Customer-facing employees also need better training to be more empathetic than before, ask better questions, and be better listeners and storytellers.

How You Gain Alignment

According to research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 53% of companies report that overcoming organizational silos is one of the top five challenges to improving customer experience.
Fifty-three percent of companies report that overcoming organizational silos is one of the top-five barriers to improving CX.
Building internal organizational trust is one key to overcoming this challenge and gaining alignment. We often assume that tools like reporting structures, process methodologies, and formal contracts ensure a shared understanding. We prefer to jump straight into our projects and start making progress. However, successful companies will take an intentional and formal approach to gain alignment — both at the outset and then on a continuous basis.

To get aligned, companies need to center employee accountability on customer outcomes. Whether employees are in the office or working remotely, you need to consider carefully how you communicate with them and empower them to make decisions that best serve your customers.

How CarMax Creates a Great Customer Experience

As the largest used car retailer in the United States, CarMax invites customers to buy online, in the store, or a seamless combination of both. Follow CarMax digital merchandising teams as they pivot to present cars online in a way that ignites desire, builds consumer confidence, and drives customers to purchase.

Key Actions to Take

Ensure everyone aligns around a customer-centric vision

  • Work across teams and departments to collaboratively define a clear vision, strategy, and the metrics for success.
  • Ensure that everyone within the organization can communicate the vision, inspire action, and align projects to the outlined strategy.
  • Practice radical transparency: Build trust faster by being courageous enough to have difficult conversations and share the rationale behind your decisions.

Help employees reach their full potential

  • Equally invest in employee experiences to allow for cross-team collaboration from anywhere that improves the customer experience.
  • Incentivize behaviors that support business goals.
  • Encourage groups with different areas of expertise to solve customer problems together.

Empower teams to act in the customer’s best interest

  • Define your brand values and company culture, empowering all employees to suggest improvements and better the company.
  • Give teams the authority to act in the customer’s best interest. Include partners to help you drive connected customer experiences and increase value to customers and employees.
  • Train customer-facing employees to be more empathetic, ask better questions, and be better listeners and storytellers.

More Resources



How To Create a Customer-Centric Experience

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