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Want to improve customer satisfaction? Start with internal communication

When you want to really understand your customers, you need to see the whole picture

Every good team learns from its interactions with customers.

Sales teams know about customers’ pain points and what closes the deal. Customer service knows what kinds of problems your customers encounter and why they leave.

Marketing teams know what kind of benefits resonate and how to present them. But without good internal communication, insights like these won’t lead to improved customer satisfaction.

To take advantage of the unique perspective different teams have on different customer touchpoints, it helps to pull feedback from different teams together. When you have good communication, a more complete portrait of your customers will emerge, helping you do more to keep them happy.

So how can you keep information flowing among departments? And how do you prevent feedback from becoming siloed? Here are a few suggestions.

When the marketing team receives the results of its latest survey, don’t let them file it away where no one else will ever see it—share the information widely and keep it accessible to all.

Consider setting up a repository or library for all your market research, customer service calls, surveys, customer studies, etc. Wikis, shared cloud folders, and intrawebs are great ways to share. Appoint someone on each team to update key learnings—and dedicate a few minutes in company-wide meetings to share highlights, interesting customer testimonials, or anything else that will help employees understand customers better.

If you use customer engagement management (CEM) software, it can also be a great way to get everyone on the same page from day one.

Encourage internal communication by setting up regular meetings where managers from customer-facing departments can share learnings with folks who aren’t on the front lines. These meetings can be totally informal, as long as they actually happen! They can also be a great way for product teams to identify important needs.

Create a suggestion box—either virtual or physical—where any employee can provide feedback anonymously, without feeling pressured or concerned with speaking out of turn. Ideas for improving customer satisfaction can come from anywhere.

Promote ride-alongs that enable behind-the-scenes employees to shadow customer-facing teams, giving them a chance to interact directly with customers. Having an opportunity to hear real customers describe their problems and motivations in their own words can help keep customer satisfaction front and center.

Now that you have a few suggestions to improve internal communication, think of ways to tailor these ideas to your organization. Start by doing something as informal as hosting a pizza lunch to entice employees to get together, talk about customers, and share their ideas for how they think internal communication can be improved. (Bonus: These meetings can keep employees engaged—and engaged employees can enhance the customer experience.)

Whether you’re creating a data archive or just chatting over a slice, disseminating your customer insights internally is a no-brainer. It’s an inexpensive way to maximize the impact of your research, reduce inefficiencies, and keep those customer satisfaction scores on the rise.