Help! My Execs Don’t Get It!

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Executives are still saying, “Show me the money!” when it comes to justifying listening to the voice of the customer and putting the customer at the center of all they do.

How can you (a) gain their buy-in, (b) show them the money, and (c) convince them to stop just focusing on the metrics?

So glad you asked.

As unbelievable as it is, there are still plenty of company executives out there today who don’t get it; they still need to be convinced that they should be listening to the voice of the customer and making decisions based on customers’ wants and needs, not their own.

The following tips apply whether you’re trying to get executives to buy in to this entire notion or if they’ve (sorta) bought in but are only focused on the metrics, not the actual improvements.

Stakeholder Interviews. Giving stakeholders an overview of your strategy, along with the objectives, highlights of their involvement, and well-documented reasons for putting customers at the center of the universe will set things off on the right foot. At the same time, understanding stakeholder needs, concerns, and roadblocks as well as identifying what insights they’d like the initiative to provide will help you identify ways to better engage them. Whether you’re just kicking off your CX and VOC strategies or have a more-mature program, stakeholder interviews can help to bring executives (back) into alignment with the effort.

Build Your Business Case. Identify your objectives and then align the outcomes and benefits tied to each. Clearly, the stronger the business case, the better. Your outcomes may be customer retention, account growth, new business through referrals, culture change, etc. Benefits might include cost savings and other efficiencies. Communicate objectives, outcomes, and benefits to gain buy-in.

To support the business case, show some Quick Wins or Proofs of Concept. Quick Wins can be achieved through service or account recovery examples or by listening to customers at a specific touchpoint, making improvements, and showing ROI. To help build your case, focus on what’s important to the customer as well as to the business; use a critical touchpoint or moment of truth as your stepping stone. Baby steps. Small, yet impactful, examples – tangible value – for the big win.

Customer Immersion. Walking in customers’ shoes has become a cliché in our world, but that’s what customer immersion programs are all about. Have executives experience what customers experience when they (try to) do business with you. This can be eye-opening, for sure!

Customer Stories. Tell their stories, whether it’s what needs they are trying to fulfill, how they interact with the company, what their experiences are, or what the brand means to them. Use their comments (verbatims) from surveys or social media to bring their stories to life. As strange as it may sound, humanize them. Humanize their experiences.

These tips will help you appeal to both the emotional and the rational sides for your executives, a one-two punch that ought to get them focusing on the right thing: your customers.

What’s measured improves. – Peter F. Drucker

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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