Very few companies have an established, institutionalized CX strategy that is woven into the fabric of their entire organization. In fact, many companies are still at the stage where they have a fledgling CX program, or maybe a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program, struggling to get the ear of those who can make decisions. Some don’t even have that. Why? Analysts such as Forrester and Gartner have been touting the merits of a strong, adopted CX strategy for several years now. You’d think executives would see stats such as “CX leaders’ revenue growth is 5x more than CX laggards”, and move heaven and earth to become a CX leader. Yet, here we are nearing the end of 2019 and it simply isn’t happening at the level it should be.
One of the principal reasons for this is the ambiguity around the concept of Customer Experience. Sure, everyone knows a good or poor customer experience when they see one. But that’s not a very tangible foundation on which to build a strategy. I tie the ambiguity directly to the perception of a lack of actionability. Executives are decision-makers. They’re driven by ROI, and ROI is generated through actions. The squishy, ethereal nature of CX, in its relative infancy, doesn’t lend itself to decisiveness. But those executives need to understand that there are CX programs generating insights that are absolutely actionable and capable of generating huge returns. Once this is understood, it becomes a question of how best for an executive to facilitate a strategy and culture of Customer Experience.
First, find a change agent to lead a CX team. This needs to be someone with a passion for the customer, experience and skills in leading a team, and no fear in breaking a few windows. That last piece is particularly important. A CX team is going to be ferreting out issues in every facet of an organization. No matter how constructive the feedback is presented, some toes will be stepped upon. So, an executive’s role here is to find the right person and provide the air cover that will be necessary for her/him to do the job. Expect a few bumps along the way, but a sure sign of CX strategy adoption is when the business areas become hungry for insights that are specific to them. Our Solutions Engineer here at Topbox wrote an article last week detailing some more strategies on how to get buy-in on a CX program.
Once a leader is identified, it’s time to form a team. Remember the scene in Braveheart when William Wallace holds out his hand to Robert the Bruce, looks him in the eye and sternly says “unite the clans”. This is applicable in the context of a CX program! It’s a safe bet that most companies have people who are reviewing customer interactions in an effort to learn where friction points exist. These intrepid pioneers are out there in every corner of the company, typically sanctioned by a specific business area leader. There’s no playbook for these people and no collaboration between them. They’re simply individual contributors finding their way through piles of data with precious few tools at their disposal. Think about the potential of bringing these individuals together on a CX team where they can share knowledge, develop processes and leverage tools across the group in a more efficient way. An executive can make this happen. Pull these people together physically or virtually, and the synergies created will result in a steady stream of actionable insights that will pave the way for reduced churn, increased revenue and optimized operating costs.
Next, provide the right tools. A CX team needs software to make sense of the potentially millions of customer interactions that occur on a monthly basis. Being able to leverage both solicited (surveys) and unsolicited (phone calls, chats, emails, social posts, SMS, reviews, etc) feedback is crucial in this effort. A solution like Topbox’s conversation analytics platform can enable a CX team and put their insight discovery on rocket fuel.
Lastly, an executive must insist on structured output. Assigning insights for action and tracking progress is an essential part of a CX program. This is where the rubber meets the road. Without it, there is no ROI. Executives must maintain oversight of this part of the process to ensure that all areas of the company are embracing the insights and addressing the issues and opportunities methodically and completely. As that happens, monetary value can be calculated and aggregated to determine the impact the CX program is having on the company.
Voila! If these steps are followed and talented people are empowered to do their jobs, you’ll have a highly functional, institutionalized CX program. Your company will be a CX leader instead of laggard before you know it!