If your CX program wants to be the MVP, it better have an ROI


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Customer journey mapping is the popular concept right now for many companies. But most aren’t having much impact with the C-Suite. As a CMO and C-Suite member for several billion-dollar enterprises, I saw that having a great customer journey map just isn’t enough to get the C-suite to put the Customer Experience strategy as one of the top company priorities. In my original article “5 ways to make your C-Suite commend – not criticize – your Customer Journey Map” I highlighted the 5 reasons why.
1. Most Customer Journey Maps are Descriptive – but not Prescriptive
2. Most Customer Journey Maps don’t show the impact on Business Metrics
3. Most Customer Journey Maps don’t have a Program or PMO to execute them
4. Most Customer Journey Maps don’t have an ROI or business case
5. Most Customer Journey Maps don’t have clarity of accountability

This article discusses #4 – the fact that nearly all CX programs and their Customer Journey maps don’t have an ROI or business case that can stand up to the scrutiny of a CFO and will persuade the C-suite to put their commitment behind the program.

I was advising the Chief Customer Officer for a multi-billion energy company who had fully developed their CX program for approval by the Executive Committee. Their CX program included:
• Research-driven insights with product and service revisions tailored to the target segments of the residential and commercial customer base.
• A CX roadmap with the right balance of people, process & technology projects to deliver and support the new customer experience vision and product/service changes.
• Linkage of these changes to VoC data, JD Power assessments and employee-driven priorities for serving customers and driving higher satisfaction scores.
• Forrester and Temkin research benchmarks on the impact of improved CSAT and CX delivery on growth, retention and loyalty.

The program was practical and common sense – but didn’t get approved by the Executive Committee. A discussion with the CEO shortly after the decision got the following response. “Everyone liked the program, but without a clear ROI, it didn’t match up to the other projects we were evaluating. We stack rank the program portfolio based on Strategic alignment, ROI and critical resource needs. With an ROI, this project simply couldn’t compete.”

Compare this situation to another company, who had designed a new experience for their B2B technology service and customer base. Their CX program included:
• Product and service revisions tailored to the target customer segments and the right balance of people, process & technology projects to deliver and support the new customer experience.
• Baseline metric s that showed that their “more satisfied” customers:
o Spend 55% more per year than comparable accounts
o Have 50% less attrition, allowing their growth rate to increase by 70% without additional marketing / sales investment
o Require 40% less service costs, allowing margins to increase by 10% with the new CX vision in place

Each project was linked to CX and Business metrics and project sponsors reviewed and signed off on the project assumptions, and were willing to include the new targets in their objectives if the program were approved. Their CX program ROI was simulated using a CX ROI simulation tool and estimated to be 109% with a year 1 payback, and the 8 different CX projects that made up their program had ROI that ranged from 38% – 200% (See charts below, both from Tucker & Company, 2017).

CX Linkage Model
CX Linkage Model
CX ROI Simulator
CX ROI Simulator

This program was unanimously approved and put at the front of company priorities. The CFO had interrogated the CX program lead and felt the CX program had fully done their financial homework and had optimized the program. Business leaders felt the program was critical to their meeting their business goals and department heads were happy with the investments to run their operations better.

The difference between the two programs was simple. The 4-week process of developing the business case and simulating ROI projections was all that separated them – but made the biggest difference in the viewpoint and support of the C-suite.

Make sure your business case can answer 3 key questions:
A. How does the improved customer experience directly impact our key business metrics and objectives? (Revenues, profits, customer acquisition or servicing, retention)
B. Are the business targets and investments for the CX program “believable” and “owned” by the key business leaders?
C. What is the ROI of each CX project in the overall CX program? Has the entire program been optimized throughout the multi-year CX roadmap?

If you have the answers to each of these, then you are on the path to “C-Suite Stardom”. If not, some other project will get the money that your CX program deserves. Why not make the investment in the single most impactful effort your business should undertake?

Greg Tucker
Greg Tucker is a Who's who of Customer Experience and award-winning CX practitioner, advisor and leader for more than 15 years. As CEO of Tucker & Company he consults to Fortune 1000 enterprises and emerging companies on Customer Experience strategies and programs, delivering transformational business results. As a CX Officer and CMO at Copart Auto Auctions, he implemented an end-to-end CX program across all channels that delivered a 20% improvement in Enterprise profitability and received the 2012 CX Innovation Award for delivering a powerful ROI from the CX Program.


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