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Organizations can often describe why they need a good customer experience (CX) program, yet many are without even a simple, dedicated CX resource or team. While it may be easier to understand the importance of establishing a customer experience program, organizations find it difficult to create a sustained and valued CX program. Although it requires aligned vision and dedicated effort, building a customer experience (CX) program in any organization does not have to be daunting. Over the years, we have helped both small and large organizations in various industries establish CX programs that enables them to connect better with their customers and employees. These connections and engagements regularly result in long lasting customer partnerships and measurable value.
Here are key components to get your CX program off the ground. They should be implemented within the first 12 to 18 months to ensure a strong foundation.
The first component to building your CX organization should be aligning the CX initiatives to the company-wide vision and goals. CX short- and long-term objectives should be aligned, providing customers and employees the chance to connect with the direction and aspirations of the company. It is a good idea to create a set of CX specific vision and goals that are not complex but reflect where you envision your CX now and in the future. The CX vision and goals will provide a foundation and path for the team to follow and the statements should be disseminated throughout the company. For more information on how to set CX vision and goals, reference Starting a CX Program? First, get grounded in your vision and goals.
Leaders must ensure that delivering remarkable CX is a norm and embedded into the company culture. CX must be woven in the company’s DNA which ultimately ensures customer focus is reflected in the communications, products, services, and activities. Often, CX integration is only extended into some business units and operations. When CX is part of a company’s culture, teams that are not customer facing are also aware of how their work contributes or has an impact to delivering exceptional customer experience. Part of integrating CX into the culture is having properly defined CX roles, responsibilities, and partnerships among business units – a structured CX helps with alignment among leaders and signifies top leadership buy-in and support. It is important to note and consider the direct impact of CX organization structure on employee experience (EX), some of the workforce may see a shift in roles, process, tools, and technology as a result of CX integration.
The CX organization should designate time to learning more about their customer personas, mapping customer journeys and understanding those moments that matter. Customer journey mapping brings a strategic approach to understanding your customers and is a vital step into optimizing the customer experience. Furthermore, defining those moments that matter (MTM) in the customer journey will provide you with guidance on what touchpoints and customer actions that can curate a genuine and memorable experience. Creating a connection with your customer and earning their trust at any touchpoint in the journey will be a determining success factor.
Applications and technology are playing a big part in building and development of CX programs. It is important to assess, identify and understand which tools and technology have the biggest impact on your customers and your business. Organizations must make sure they have the right resources for inside and outside support. Investing in the right systems and technical infrastructure could be the difference in sustaining your program. We have helped organizations realize that the tools and technology on-hand are not always implemented or used efficiently. There is a considerable level of effort that is not only missed but often ignored when integrating current and new technologies. As a result, employees tend to bear the brunt of mis-used tools and customers can also experience pain points throughout their interactions with your organization. It is important to ensure the quality and usability of all CX related tools.
A common bottleneck in a CX program development is approaching how to measure performance and success of the program. Once you have performed or embarked on the steps above, a necessary component is examining the impact. Data and analytics can help determine if the customer and employee experiences are trending in the right direction even during the early stages. Lagging indicators are the typical metrics used to measure CX, we challenge and help organization think about leading indicators to be proactive in solving challenges and addressing customer pain points. While traditional CX metrics such as promoters and satisfaction scores are important, operational measures provide an inside-out view focused on those that serve your customers. They are often the foundation for more advanced CX measures.
If you want to be a successful business, you need to be focused on improving your customer’s experiences. With these five components, organizations of all sizes have the steps they need to start the journey to build a successful CX program. Our experience has shown that investing in a CX program can result in achieving key CX-related business goals including increased customer engagement, retention, and a lower cost to serve. Remember, CX is not a one-time event. It can be a differentiator for your organization, and it should become part of your culture and organizational DNA.
Stephanie Caravajal is a manager at RevGen Partners specializing in customer experience. She is passionate around helping organizations create and manage successful CX programs, while aligning CX initiatives to digital transformations.