Insights · 5 min read

How communication gaps harm your digital experience—and how to bridge them

Gardner Rordam
Posted August 30, 2022
How communication gaps harm your digital experience—and how to bridge them

When tough conversations are necessary

In my last post, I discussed the inherent challenges of having disparate roadmaps and the friction that occurs when organizational priorities collide. Those tense disagreeable meetings are no picnic, and most people would love to avoid them at all costs. Could there be anything worse?

In a word: yes. The very avoidance of those collisions creates a void where there should be communication. For those of you working in a culture of silence and avoidance, a confrontational meeting might sound like a dream come true. Instead of knowing where your peers stand on the issues at hand, you barely know what their projects and goals are—or worse yet, what their names are. 

Many large organizations struggle with this exact problem on a large scale. Specialization leads to silos, and silos lead to friction, which ultimately can result in glaring and harmful communication gaps. Rather than fighting the uphill battle of collaboration, teams figure out ways to “stay in their lane” and do what’s possible within their own narrow scope. If anything comes to a head, it’s left to the executives. Then everyone can go back to their corners and keep chipping away at the limited task ahead.

What’s wrong with a little conflict avoidance?

While no one wants things to devolve into dysfunctional, entrenched disagreements, modern companies cannot survive, much less thrive, without a healthy internal dialogue. 

In the digital experience space, this is especially true. Ten years ago, separate, specialized functions could get the runway they needed to pick off low-hanging fruit quickly and make progress on DX projects. 

Now, every click, every page navigation, every element of a site is completely interdependent on multiple teams. No meaningful DX improvements happen (or happen effectively) without the participation of team members from all around the organization.

When things are going well, collaboration and aligned prioritization are important. When CSAT scores sink, links go dead, and sites slow down, working together becomes essential. While the instinct in difficult moments is to retreat to separate corners of the org, times like this are when cross-functional collaboration is needed most. 

Using data as translator

A key first step in re-establishing communication pathways in thinking through team organization structures. Often there are invisible, but fortified, obstacles that hinder communication between specialized teams. Having covered this elsewhere, I’ll just mention it briefly here, but it’s critical to assess the structures in which teams work, and how to remove obstacles to let data make its full impact. 

If you read the heading of this section and rolled your eyes, I don’t blame you. How many times have we all seen “data” prescribed as the solution to all problems, only to discover that interpretations and conclusions from a single dataset can be as numerous as the number of people analyzing that data? While in some ways that’s the beauty of having rich data, it directly cuts against my argument here.

To be used effectively, data must be presented thoughtfully—where underlying assumptions are aligned, definitions are clear, and all stakeholders have equal access. Of all of FullStory’s abilities, the fundamental principle of data democratization is one of the hardest to achieve, and has been a guiding star since our early days. 

FullStory offers several key features that will help your internal teams communicate with each other and finally speak the same language: 

Established KPIs in Dashboards

Teams can collaborate to build a set of digital health KPIs in shared Dashboards that everyone can reference as the single source of truth. Instead of looking at each team’s specialized tools and bickering over competing conclusions, key metrics of friction, conversion rates, and site effectiveness can now exist in one mutually accessible place.

Shared assets

Everything in FullStory is visible to everyone with a seat in that account. If you want to build out a new Metric, Segment, or Funnel, a great first step is checking to see if someone else has already built it first. Many times, FullStory users are happy to find that someone in a different part of the organization has already started what they hope to achieve. Not only is the starting work done for them, it also produces healthy dialogue to challenge assumptions and understand differences in definitions (“Interesting! I always exclude ‘Shipping Options’ when analyzing the checkout flow—why do you have it in this analysis?”).

Note and Share

When you’re diving in to see the insights in one session replay, it’s easy to find an illustration of the friction that you’ve quantified in a Metric Card in a Dashboard. It’s a great way to back up quantitative analysis by saying, “Don’t just take my word for it—watch how this one customer struggles in this area.” 

This can be especially useful as customer support and care teams are attempting to communicate a bug to engineering. What used to take hours of documentation and attempts to reproduce an issue can be accomplished in mere minutes by creating a note in a session and sharing it with the relevant teams. 

With FullStory as your single source of truth for digital experience, companies can fill the void of silence with meaningful dialogue, avoid unproductive conflict, and make effective trade-off decisions to improve DX, customer satisfaction, and company goals beyond the confines of each team’s corner and scope.

It’s time for better user feedback.

Elevate your Voice of Customer data with the ability to see user experiences as they happen. Request your FullStory demo today. 

Gardner RordamEnterprise Customer Success Director

About the author

Gardner is an Enterprise Customer Success Director at FullStory. He is based in Atlanta, GA.

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