Easier Said than Done: Move the Needle with Your Customer Experience Strategy


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I’m blogging today from the Customer Experience Professional Association’s (CXPA) Insight Exchange in San Diego. In addition to the local networking events that local CXPA teams host around the country, this event is the annual membership gathering with an agenda filled with great speakers, awesome member-to-member exchanges of tools and ideas, awards, networking, and more.

I’ve been involved in the planning of this event the last couple years; this year, I was tasked with lining up bloggers (in addition to myself) to capture highlights of the presentations and podcasters to get the real scoop from speakers in audio.

My first blog assignment is to bring you some nuggets from the second keynote of Day 1 of the event, a presentation titled, Easier Said than Done: Move the Needle with Your Customer Experience Strategy, by Erin Wallace, CCXP, Global Manager of Customer Experience at John Deere. A quick synopsis of her presentation:

Customer Experience leaders are responsible for proactively enabling and embedding customer-focused decision making in their organizations. But…”How do I get my executives on board?” “Where should I focus first?” “What about the areas I don’t have control over?” … are challenging questions making us think our strategies are easier said than done. Erin shares specific methodologies, approaches, and proven practices that have moved the needle at John Deere by enabling success in areas of strategic planning, governance, executive buy-in, analytics, VoC, and MoT design and delivery.

Let’s dive in to her presentation.

Erin started with stating John Deere’s admirable goal: to earn customers for generations. And then shared a video to hit home their purpose, which echoed this goal.

John Deere is an evolving organization because their customers are changing (or have changed over the years). Previously, the brand was all about the big bad machines – the bigger and the badder, the better. But their customers are much more diverse now, and they need to adapt and evolve with them.

Erin went from a CX management role to a CX measurement role, charged with transforming a 15-year-old customer satisfaction program to a CX measurement and management program. To start the transformation, John Deere had to evaluate where they are in terms of CX maturity. She evaluated vision and strategy, program design and metrics, organization and governance, and process and tools. Doing so uncovered gaps in all areas. One of the biggest challenges was communicating this back to the organization – in a language they could understand.

Her solution: to say to the organization that we would never design a new product without the following items, so why would we do it for customer experience.

  • Clear ownership or accountability
  • Strong foundation
  • Design for use, clear definition for how it will be used
  • Standard process (to ensure effective and consistent measurement and management)
  • Prioritized needs (Would we design a product based on something one customer said or needed? No. So why would we launch a survey because one person said we need one?)
  • How else did she communicate? Tractor talk! She put the CX program requirements into a language they could relate to. Think of a picture of a tractor, as she explains…

  • Steering wheel: organization and governance
  • Windshield: clear vision
  • Wheels: process and tools (e.g., journey maps, surveys)
  • Engine: measurement progress

Like the tractor needs these to move and do what it’s meant to do, the optimal CX program has all of these in place.

Messaging around organization and governance:

  • Engage Hearts: executive and employee buy-in
  • Inform Minds: change how we think about the customer
  • Move Our Feet: take action

They use journey mapping (they are a Touchpoint Dashboard client) and MOT (moment of truth) mapping (to gain alignment and to facilitate design thinking) and analysis. The roadmap around these two key tools includes:

  • explore the journey
  • identify moments of truth
  • prioritize moments of truth
  • measure moments of truth to identify pain points
  • improve CX at each moment of truth

To close out the session, Erin outlined their key learnings as follows.

1. You can’t replace executive-level support. If you don’t have it, do the financial impact analysis needed to gain it. Be sure to tie CX data to operational measures.

2. Focus on how to embrace, leverage, and embed CX into your company’s culture – don’t focus on changing it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Annette Franz
Annette Franz is founder and Chief Experience Officer of CX Journey Inc. She is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She has 25+ years of experience in helping companies understand their employees and customers in order to identify what makes for a great experience and what drives retention, satisfaction, and engagement. She's sharing this knowledge and experience in her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).


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