A Step-By-Step Guide to Building a CX Program

Program Structure

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Building a CX Program Foundation Program Beginnings & Structure

The first step to building a CX program is establishing the person or team(s) who will be responsible for leading the program. Whether it's one person working to better understand customers in their spare time or an entire team that is solely dedicated to CX, a business can reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in insights just from establishing CX responsibility. The key is to start analyzing customer data as soon as possible - the data is out there and customers are waiting to be heard.

You may be saying to yourself, “We already have teams examining our customer data, no need to establish a new team to look at it.” While this may be true, the teams are likely taking a siloed approach to analyzing customer data by only investigating the portion of the data they own. For example, the social team looks at social data, the digital team analyzes web feedback and analytics, the marketing team reviews surveys and performs studies, etc. Seldom do these teams come together and combine their data to get a holistic view of the customer. Furthermore, when it comes to prioritizing CX improvements, they do so based on an incomplete view of the customer.

Consolidating all customer data gives a unified view of your customers while lessening the workload and increasing the rate at which insights are generated. Customers view your company as a single entity, they should be viewed in a similar manner. The experience customers have with marketing, digital, and customer service, all lead to different interactions. Breaking these interactions into different, separate components is the reason companies struggle with understanding the true customer experience and miss the big picture on how to improve it.

The CX team, once established, will be responsible for creating a unified view of the customer which will provide the company with an un-bias understanding of how customers feel about their experiences as well as their expectations of the industry. These insights will provide awareness, knowledge, and curiosity that will empower business functions to improve the end-to-end customer experience.

Regardless of whether it starts with an individual or a team, there are three ways to structure a CX program in order to drive success:

  • (Good) Each business function owns their area of the customer experience – This is how most companies handle CX today which doesn’t encourage collaboration to achieve a cohesive view of the customer. This is a siloed approach that doesn’t encompass the whole customer experience. Because each team is dedicated to their function/field, they may be reluctant to accurately report the true customer experience if it paints them in a negative light. This defeats the point of a CX program.
  • (Better) Collection of personnel from various teams that meet and set priorities on a regular cadence – Although this setup brings multiple teams together and partially breaks down silos, it's time-consuming and not efficient. Larger customer experience improvements can easily be identified with this structure, but a lot of medium and small business opportunities will constantly be missed. There is also the issue of teams prioritizing items within their function rather than what the customer actually wants.
  • (Best) Single CX team or personnel who own the entire process – This is the ideal way to organize a CX program and the best way to ensure a successful program. Having a team solely dedicated to CX removes any conflict of interest that would exist if they were working for a specific business function. This team will give an un-bias and comprehensive view of the customer's experience across all interaction types. A CX team will also be tasked with learning as much as possible about all the business functions that impact CX. From a business perspective, this approach may be the most expensive but it will guarantee that quicker, more accurate insights are delivered to the business. Ultimately, this will enhance the customer experience faster, resulting in a larger ROI.

According to Forrester, only 14% of CX professionals say the benefit of investing in CX is well established in their firm, mostly due to lack of results and the inability to gain support. Customer Think put out a statistic last year that “93% of customer experience initiatives are failing.” 

This negative press can largely be attributed to the fact that CX programs are still so new - rulebooks that detail the correct way to create and scale a CX program from the ground up really don't exist. But that doesn’t make a CX program any less important. We are in a relationship economy, where customers purchase “experiences” more so than products. If you don’t create a CX program, you will start losing customers to a competitor that has… if you’re not already.

Considering the critical role of CX, it’s imperative for every function to understand the customer experience to perform their job better, making the CX team a highly coveted group.

Are you ready to take the leap and become a CX Rockstar?

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Building a CX Program Foundation Program Beginnings & Structure

The first step in building a CX program is establishing the person or team(s) who will be responsible for leading the program. A CX program can start small with one person working in their spare time to better understand customers, or with an entire team having a function dedicated to it. (I have seen companies start CX programs using only a summer intern and still net hundreds of thousands of dollars in insights.) Either way, the key is to start analyzing as soon as possible because the data is out there, and customers are waiting to be heard.

You may be saying to yourself, “well, we already have teams looking at all of our customer data, no need to establish a new team to look at it.” This is true, most companies already have teams looking at this data. The social team looks at social data, the digital team analyzes web feedback and analytics, the marketing team reviews surveys and performs studies, etc. The problem is these teams take a siloed approach and are only looking at the data they own. Seldomly do these teams come together and combine their data to get a holistic view of the customer. When it comes to prioritization they end up prioritizing based on an incomplete view of the customer. Consolidating all this data gives a unified view of your customers while lessening the workload and increasing the rate insights are generated. Customers view your company as a single entity, they should be viewed in a similar manor. The experience customers have with marketing, digital, and customer service, all lead to different types of interactions, breaking them up into multiple pieces is the reason companies struggle with understanding the true customer experience and miss the big picture on how to improve it.

The CX team, once established, will be responsible for creating a unified view of the customer that will provide the company with an un-bias understanding of how customers feel about their experiences as well as their expectations of the industry. These insights will provide awareness, knowledge, and curiosity that will empower business functions to improve the end to end customer experience.

As stated earlier, a CX program can start with an individual or a team, regardless there are three ways to structure it in order to drive success:

  • (Good) Each business function owns their area of the customer experience – This is how most companies handle CX today which doesn’t encourage collaboration to get a cohesive view of the customer. This is a siloed approach that doesn’t encompass the true customer experience. Because each team is dedicated to their function/field they may be reluctant to accurately report the true customer experience if it paints them in a bad light. This defeats the point of a CX program.
  • (Better) Collection of personnel from various teams that meet and set priorities on a regular cadence – Although this setup brings multiple teams together and partially breaks down the silos, it is time consuming and not efficient. Larger customer experience improvements can easily be identified with this structure, but a lot of medium and small business opportunities will constantly be missed. There is also the issue of teams prioritizing items within their function rather than what the customer actually wants.
  • (Best) Single CX team or personnel who own the entire process – This is the ideal way to organize a CX program and the best way to ensure a successful program. Having a team solely dedicated to CX removes any conflict of interest that would exist if they were working for a specific business function. This team will give an un-bias and comprehensive view of the customers experience across all interaction types. A CX team will also be tasked with learning as much as possible about all the business functions that impact CX (more on this later). This structure may be the costliest from a business perspective, but it will guarantee quicker, more accurate insights are delivered to the business, enhancing the customer experience faster, resulting in a larger ROI.

There has been a lot of bad press regarding CX programs; According to Forrester, only 14% of CX professionals say the benefit of investing in CX is well established in their firm, mostly due to lack of results and inability to gain support. Customer Think put out a statistic last year that “93% of customer experience initiatives are failing.” Despite all the negative press regarding CX programs it imperative that companies try to execute on it. Knowing that we are in a relationship economy where customers purchase “experiences” more so than products, if you don’t make the attempt to build a CX program at your company you are already sealing your fate.

One bit of warning, the person(s) or team that takes this work on will become Rockstars. Every function within a company needs to know the customer experience to better execute their job, making the CX team a highly coveted group. Take the leap and try to be the CX Rockstar, you won’t regret it.