Let’s Talk CX Strategy
Do you know your customer experience strategy? Do you know how this strategy is being translated into the everyday actions and behaviors of your employees? The thing about strategy is that it’s not just about strategy…it’s actually all about execution.
I talk to many leaders about their customer experience strategy, and confidence in CX execution is a consistent concern among them. Maybe it’s less of a concern and more of a confession.
There is fanfare around customer experience ideas. There is generic support, meaning leaders discuss it when it’s top-of-mind but lose sight of the actions and behaviors that need to be reinforced on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
One day of customer experience discussion does not make a customer-focused company. The same can be said about the annual day of training some organizations say is enough. It’s going to take more in terms of execution.
How often do you discuss customer experience strategy in your regular communications to employees?
I’m going to guess not enough.
Not enough to make a difference to your customers.
How often do you help your team with a deep dive into a topic like empathy or handling difficult customer situations? How often do you connect the dots between what you want from your strategy and how that will positively impact the business?
We tend to get excited about customer experience projects. We have meetings around journey mapping, new product innovation, digital transformation, and on and on and on. But then what? How does that translate to the daily behaviors we need to exhibit to truly deliver on our customer experience?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself about leading customer experience from strategy to execution.
1. Do you have a customer experience mission?
I can hear some of you saying, “you’re a broken record about this!”
Yes, I am. Yes, I am.
I think it’s THAT important. A customer experience mission should be an active, useful tool to provide direction to everyone. This means sharing it far and wide and ensuring it’s internalized throughout your organization.
2. Do you know if your customer experience strategy is discussed in meetings that don’t have “customer experience” in the title of the agenda?
Does your product team, marketing team, customer service group or others know enough about the strategy to include key parts of it in their own work?
3. What traits and behaviors are critical to delivering on your customer experience?
Do your field teams, franchises, or worldwide locations understand how to address these behaviors in customer-facing employees? Do you revisit key parts of the customer journey to ensure everyone is up to speed?
Let’s Execute CX Strategy
The link between the idea of customer experience and the execution of it must be stronger than we think it does. In fact, in 2019’s Digital Trends Report from Adobe, there is a case for both mindset and mission.
Those companies who describe themselves as “very advanced” in customer experience were more than THREE TIMES as likely to exceed their business goals in the last year.
Ashley Friedlein, Econsultancy Founder, remarked on this idea in his roundup of marketing and digital trends for this year, saying, “customer experience is perhaps as much a mindset and business philosophy as a discipline.”
To that, I say, PREACH, Mr. Friedlein. It is indeed.
So how do we best translate that mindset AND the discipline to each employee?
Constant communication and revisiting of key factors within the customer experience.
Your employees need to hear about your customer experience mission in ways that relate to them and their everyday lives. We take this a bit for granted in industries like hospitality. It’s not unusual to have a monthly theme around guest experiences and start each shift with announcements and reminders around that theme.
This idea is way too rare in other industries. We don’t provide this type of customer experience guidance on a regular basis to our teams in business-to-business organizations, financial services, healthcare or education. We simply expect our employee orientation reminders about being nice and staying calm when dealing with customers to stick. And then our employees leave and forget about that training because, in their minds, it didn’t apply to them.
There are so many advantages to providing rich customer experience communication to your employees. By staying focused on the right mindset and understanding the mission, they will start seeing opportunities to improve the experience. They have great ideas about what processes might not be working for your customers. They also will feel more fulfilled seeing how their role connects to the overall experience your customers have.
You heard me. I know some leaders who think saying things like “our customer satisfaction rate went down in this category this month, so…let’s work on that” is enough. We’ve become so trained in thinking surveys are customer experience that we even talk about them as one in the same. Surveys are great to collect feedback and overall data. They aren’t great at training what behaviors and actions need to change in order to improve the experience. That part is up to you.
Are you ready to really lead?
Customer experience strategy requires a leader who is willing to beat on a drum so often some people will think you are TOO focused on this idea. You need to come up with creative ways to communicate so others can hear your message. You need to help those change agents on your teams avoid burnout and feel heard and recognized. You need to connect the dots between talk and action.
It sounds hard, and yet it sounds easier than it actually is. Without a lot of support or recognition, we need to keep leading the charge to make the idea of customer-centricity real. We need to constantly connect the dots between “this is where we are” and “this is where we need to be.”
What’s your Customer Experience Strategy and Plan?
Do you know your customer experience strategy? Great! Do you have a plan to continuously communicate around it to drive real change in your organization? If not, today’s a great day to get started. And tomorrow’s a great day to reinforce it.
And every day is a great day to execute.