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CX Practitioners: Don’t Go It Alone. Partner with HR to Multiply Your Impact 

Krista Sheridan | Jan 26, 2017 370 views 4 Comments

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Customer Experience Practitioner. Not a role for the faint of heart! When I think back to my early years in Customer Experience (back when it was still called “Customer Satisfaction” or “Loyalty”) I remember a lot of very long days.

Looking back at this point in my career, I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize that I did not have to do it all myself. I also wish I had recognized my friends in HR as the critical CX partners they could be a lot sooner!

In my first few years in CX, many years before I joined TELUS, I often heard things like these from the teams I was looking to collaborate with:

“I like the work you’re doing, sounds great! But I have other priorities.”

“That is not how my team is incented or compensated so we really can’t help you.”

“I’m not in customer service so I’m not sure why I would be involved in this customer stuff you’re talking about.”

It took me some time to put the puzzle pieces together and see the bigger picture – that many of the common issues people were bringing up were related to Human Resources. Performance management and objective setting, compensation, hiring and on-boarding, leadership development, recognition etc… All of these “HR things” needed to be part of the plan if we were going to collaborate successfully.

At TELUS we talk about our “Customers First Culture” and we work continuously to reinforce and embed our CX vision and culture into the working lives of ALL of our Team Members (what we call “employees”). We couldn’t do this without dedicated support from our People & Culture Team (our “HR”) — they have been critical partners in our success. Our Customers First focus is our number one corporate priority, and it is woven into performance development, recognition and learning, recruitment, community investment, cause marketing, communications, and the development of business unit plans.

Back in 2014, an opportunity to help Team Members better understand what “Voice of Customer” (VOC) results meant (and what “VOC” is!), how they could take action, and how they could set Customers First objectives took me from CX to People & Culture. It was a plum role long on my CX career wish-list and I jumped at it!

I discovered that people outside of the more traditional CX parts of the business had great questions and lots of them. For example, some Team Members wondered how they could meet a Customers First objective without actually working with customers directly. Some were having trouble with customer feedback results jargon — “Top 2 box? Bottom 2 Box? What is the box for? Why are we talking about boxes?”

The People & Culture Team was and still is in a unique position to provide answers. Here are two ways (among many) that we provided support to the TELUS Customers First journey at that point:

“101” Guides for Team Members

Lots of Team Members needed the basics. What is L2R? What is a Top 2 Box? How do I interpret Voice of the Customer results? How do I build an improvement plan?

We created “101” Learning Guides that could be accessed on our intranet alongside our latest results. We also shared links to every results release via email and on our internal social sites.

Each guide was:

  • Short (could be read in less than 5 min)
  • Written in plain language (no acronyms, no jargon)
  • Crafted in presentation format for easy sharing
  • Clearly inviting requests for additional help/questions

Team Members and their leaders could easily find and digest the information whenever they needed it. The content became part of our Leader Learning resources, and was leveraged for other programs and communications, such as Team Member Orientation for onboarding. We started to reach more people and were able to let CX specialists spend more time on meatier CX stuff.

CX Performance Management Discussion Guides for Leaders

This was a concise reference document that discussed our Customers First Focus:

  • What it is
  • Why it is so important
  • How we measure and know how we are doing
  • How we can all impact it

And user-friendly guidance for setting Customers First objectives:

  • Step-by-step outline to clarify each team’s connection to the customer (including teams like Finance, Procurement, Real Estate, Legal)
  • How to craft an objective that will drive our CF priorities
  • Reminder that 50% of Team Members’ objectives are to support TELUS Customers First priorities

This information and support was embedded in our performance management and review systems. So again, we were able to reach more people and increase the alignment of all Team Member objectives to our Customers First vision in a systematic and sustainable way.

As you start to see with even these simple examples, your friends in HR are key partners in what ultimately becomes described as your “culture.” They have the relationships, systems, tools, processes, networks, and communication channels that ultimately shape what people do in the workplace and how they get it done.

They can help you ensure your CX vision is realized and sustained. They can “bake it in,” making it clear, deliberate, scalable and “sticky” — all without you needing to be there for every single step and conversation (giving you the gift of time).

Don’t try to do it all yourself. Partner with the critical yet often-overlooked HR team to extend your reach, multiply your impact, and ensure your company culture enables your CX vision instead of eating it for breakfast.

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4 Responses to CX Practitioners: Don’t Go It Alone. Partner with HR to Multiply Your Impact

  1. Michael Lowenstein January 26, 2017 at 7:32 pm (1238 comments) #

    Krista –

    I LOVE this! You’ve covered a really important topic. Experience value delivery is everyone’s responsibility, and it should be embedded in the enterprise culture and serve as a banner for all employees to follow. As you’ve stated so well, HR is perfectly positioned to partner with other groups in the company to meet these, and related, objectives.

    A few years ago (while at Harris Interactive), in addition to speaking at a major U.S. customer experience conference, I also sat in on selected presentations. One of them was a ‘town hall’ interview with Jack Welch. The focus was on customer experience. Audience participants were given the opportunity to ask questions – so I did. My question of Mr. Welch had to do with if he could identify the most important function in a company for helping optimize customer experience and value. Without hesitation, he tabbed HR; and for all of the reasons cited in your post.

    Working in partnernship with HR can leverage employee experience and behavior to help provide the best in products and services to customers. Again, great job in raising something rarely addressed, but very powerful.

    Michael

  2. Sanaz Salari January 26, 2017 at 9:17 pm (1 comment) #

    We have had a similar experience across companies in emerging companies. The concept of CX is new to this region. We have found that using a 2 minute rule is a good benchmark: employees need to state the to-be customer experience vision and what it means for them in 2 minutes. If they are not able to, then it shows we still got work to do.

  3. Krista January 27, 2017 at 6:18 am (7 comments) #

    Thank you Michael!

    I am sure that was one very interesting Town Hall! HR professionals bring so much to the table when they are invited. I hope more CX practitioners reach out to them. Their ability to influence and support Customer Experience strategy is indeed powerful!

    Krista

  4. Krista January 27, 2017 at 6:20 am (7 comments) #

    Hi Sanaz!

    I love that idea! A simple and powerful technique for CX planning & execution– and we can all use more of those. I am going to steal this one for sure! Thank you so much for sharing it!

    Krista

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