How Silos Kill Customer Service

By: Lisa Sigler

February 3, 2017

Clarabridge Engage
Digital Customer Service
Social Media
Customer Engagement
Social Customer Service
Social Media Engagement
Social Media Management

Your customers expect you to treat them well. The overall customer experience—including your social customer service interactions—is rapidly becoming more important than price and product. But too often, internal silos kill customer service.

Here’s a story to illustrate my point:

My sister recently discovered that someone had purchased a new phone and opened a new service contract on her cell phone account. She tried to report the fraudulent charge. Of course, she didn’t want to pay for things that she hadn’t purchased. She also wanted them to know that her account had somehow been compromised.

Unfortunately, she sat on hold with the company for over an hour and never reached anyone to report her problem.

She went to a retail store. The personnel there couldn’t help her. In fact, she sat and watched as the employee at the store sat on hold for more than 45 minutes trying to get through to customer service.

My sister finally spoke to someone at the call center. She thought they had resolved the issue, but instead the provider sent her another notice about the unauthorized charges.

So, she took to Facebook Messenger. The first agent to reply told her that a fraud case had been opened. He added that, unfortunately the fraud department was so backed up, it would probably be more than 30 days for her case to be investigated.

Days later, when no one had provided an update or case number, she reached out via Messenger again. The second agent to reply informed her that no one had ever opened a fraud case.

Next, she tried Twitter. Someone eventually replied– they even provided a fraud case number.

And while she waited for the fraud department to work the case, the service provider cut off all her service without warning.

This horrible customer experience is a prime example of how silos kill your social customer service.

Don’t let internal silos kill customer service

What can you do to prevent your org chart from frustrating your customers to the point of churn?

All your agents need the same information.
My sister was most frustrated by the inconsistent information she was getting, especially from different social customer service agents. She got different answers in subsequent Facebook Messenger conversations, which means that social agents weren’t sharing information. There was clearly not one inbox containing all the details of her conversations.

Every department needs to work together.
What baffles me most about this story is the store employee who didn’t have a way to reach out to customer service. Yes, these are very different parts of the business, but customers don’t care. They consider your brand as one entity, and expect you to act like it. Break down your silos so that every department is acting on consistent information to provide a consistent experience.

You need sufficient resources to serve your customers.
Hour-long hold times and 30-day wait times for fraud investigations to begin are simply unacceptable. In this case, even the social response times were longer than the recommended “one hour or less”. You’re setting up your social customer service team for failure if they can’t help people because of your internal problems.

My sister ended up leaving her provider and going with a competitor. Silos kill customer service and destroy customer loyalty; don’t let this  happen to you.


Get a demo to see how Clarabridge Engage helps break silos by keeping all your social customer service agents on the same page.

Lisa Sigler is Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value of technology to life. Today, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. in English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis.