9 Mini-makeovers for Your 2020 CX Program

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There’s a reason why the end of a calendar year brings out a slew of posts highlighting trends and predictions that will impact our work as CX professionals in the coming year. Once the hectic, often spreadsheet-intensive cycles of annual planning subside and we wait on budget decisions, it can be a good time to look at the opportunities to make some smaller moves that will complement the “big rocks” of your program. While some of these are bigger undertakings that others, you’ll hopefully notice that most of these require some investment of time but can be done with very little investment of money.

Here are 9 mini-makeovers to consider for your 2020 CX program:

1. Do some item housekeeping. It’s not unusual for voice of customer surveys to grow bloated over time with outdated, unused, or unnecessary questions. Rather than being locked into a fixed system, it’s important to adjust your monitoring as you learn and your capabilities adapt. Plan some time with your team to review the items you are collecting data on and prioritize what will help drive action. Look to eliminate questions that don’t trigger internal responses or that you already have the answer to thanks to operational or other data.

2. Bring metrics to life with customers’ words. Lots of CX programs get their initial internal visibility thanks to the metrics they report out to the business. But for those metrics to help the organization improve its CX, they need to be meaningful to employees across the business. One way to do this is to use qualitative data from survey comments and other unstructured sources to illustrate what it really means when your customer is a promoter or a detractor, or is or is not satisfied, or finds it easy or hard to do business with you. Share representative comments and keyword analysis as part of a CX New Year Kick-off and help people see how their decisions and actions create desired experience outcomes with customers.

3. Inject some employee feedback into your CX program. Employees across the company are designing and delivering experiences for customers every day, yet their perceptions about what’s working and not working aren’t always factored into the diagnosis and action-taking to improve CX. This tweak doesn’t require launching a complex, structured listening program. It can start with a simple “lunch and learn” listening tour by the CX executive sponsor or a time-bounded poll or discussion post on a specific CX pain point on your employee social network. And when employee feedback results in changes to CX, make sure to point back to the source of the idea: employees!

4. Give your closed-loop program a refresh. Even well-running engines can benefit from a tune-up and it’s possible your closed-loop program is no different. Use 2020 to refresh your closed-loop program where it needs it. You might start with the people who are doing the closed-loop follow-up and offer them up-to-date guidance on best practices for a productive conversation and reminders on the resources and escalation paths available to them to resolve a customer issue. If people are on top of their follow-up game, institute a learning loop with them so that you can uncover and share not only what works when closing the loop, but underlying issues and obstacles they uncover during follow-up discussions that offer deeper diagnosis into the pain points customers are experiencing.

5. Bring the field into HQ. XM Institute research finds that employees who interact with customers as part of their work are more engaged than employees with no contact with customers at all. Yet there are many roles that employees fill which require little connection with customers, particularly roles within headquarter (HQ) functions like information technology, finance and accounting, legal, procurement, training and development, etc. Close that gap in 2020 by looking for simple ways to bring the field into HQ. One architectural and design firm had onsite project managers share videos from construction sites from groundbreaking to building opening to show the company’s work in action. Another technology company used its field technicians to show where and how its products were deployed within companies and on retail store shelves to help illustrate “when, where, and how” customers encounter the company’s products in the real world.

6. Commit to ongoing learning. There is no question that the world around us and the work we are doing in CX is constantly changing. New technologies, shifting customer expectations, and industry headwinds and tailwinds are just a few of the things that could impact an organization’s CX strategy or program roadmap. As a CX professional, it can be hard to find the time to stay informed. In 2020, you’ll help not only yourself and your team, but also your organization’s CX success if you commit dedicated time every week to ongoing learning about the trends impact your business, your industry, and experience management in general.

7. Find a new internal team to connect with. It is very easy for the CX team to get heads-down on the work it is responsible for, interacting with the same limited span of people or teams. For 2020, look around the organization and find a new team to connect with. While it could be a team you anticipate needing to collaborate with on a CX project in the coming year, look at other internal departments, special project teams, or employee resource groups that seem interesting and would help you, personally, develop. Any of these could end up being a good place to expand your internal network and form new relationships, learn more about the company (and its customers, products, or your fellow employees), while creating CX connections along the way.

8. Engage employees with a “Just One Thing” campaign. When I talk to organizations about how they engage employees in their CX efforts, one example seems to get the storyteller most excited: when they launch some variation of what I call a “Just One Thing” campaign. The essence of this campaign is extending an invitation to employees to focus on one specific improvement in their individual role to help deliver a better customer experience. Sometimes employees identify their one thing after customer feedback is reviewed with a team or division. Other organizations have launched this campaign when rolling out their customer promises, capturing employee responses via an internal survey, a physical “CX wall” that people post on, or the company intranet/social network. “One thing” responses can also be a great source of learning for the CX team to see how employees are interpreting their role in CX.

9. Capture and tell more CX success stories. It is well documented that stories have staying power. Like customer comments, CX success stories can bring to life what good experiences look like, what it takes to create them, and help employees connect to the CX strategy in very meaningful ways. There are lots of types of CX stories to tell. Three of my favorites are:

  • A how-to story: Backtrack from a positive survey score or “fan letter” and talk to the employee behind the success. Share how they approached the situation and the mindset and actions they embraced in reaching the CX happy ending.
  • A winning team story: Trace a tangible win for customers to the internal teams who played a part in the success. Was an agent able to process a return or provide technical assistance for a complex problem quickly and accurately thanks to a new knowledge hub? Recognize the teams involved in bringing that new knowledge hub to life. Winning Team stories are a great way to connect the dots from front-line employees to behind-the-scenes employees and highlight the ways all of them made a difference.
  • An everyday hero(ine) story: A lot of times our internal storytelling highlights the superheroes who went above and beyond to rescue a critical experience breakdown. While the superheroes are important, one of the goals of our CX efforts should be to eliminate the situations requiring that level of heroics. Bring a balance to your storytelling by also highlighting employees who are consistently demonstrating desired CX behaviors day-in and day-out. That everyday diligence and reliability pays off by creating customers who know they can count on the company to consistently deliver on its promises and makes playing a part in delivering great CX seem attainable to employees across the organization

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