Shift Happens – or Does It?


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You can’t just “do CX.” There’s more to it than that!

Have you been tasked with improving the customer experience in your organization? Were you volun-told into a CX role? Were you asked to “do CX” because it’s now the topic du jour?

Guess what? You can’t just “do CX.” Transforming the customer experience is much more complex than that simplified command. Transforming the customer experience requires a culture shift, a mindset shift, a behavioral shift. And that shift needs to come from – or start from – the top, from the executive staff, from your CEO.

Shift happens, right?

Yea, not so fast! Shift can’t be forced. And it just doesn’t happen on its own.

How does shift happen? What does that require?  Unfortunately, as most customer experience professionals know, it requires some heavy lifting. In order to shift mindsets and behaviors, whether it’s that of executives or of employees, you’ll need to do the following…

  • Be clear on what you are changing to; in other words, what is the current state and what is the desired future state?
  • Know and understand your audience: how do they learn? what motivates them?
  • Frame the proposed shift in a way that they’ll understand
  • Create context and tell a story: stories are a Trojan horse for learning 
  • Build your business case
  • Start small and show some quick wins to help build momentum, to help get people on board (it won’t happen all at once)
  • Communicate clearly, openly, candidly, and regularly
  • Make sure that everyone knows the purpose, the vision, the goals, the desired outcomes – and that they understand the Why behind all of it – create a “greater cause” mentality
  • Regularly reinforce and reaffirm the change

You’ve got to shift the thinking and the messaging and the education to “customer” and away from “us” or “we.” That’s critical.

Communication is, obviously, a huge part of making this shift a reality. Leaders must clearly communicate about the change:

  • Why it’s important to the audience and, ultimately, to the business
  • That it’s not a quick fix or the flavor of the day – it’s a way of doing business from here on in
  • How it affects each individual personally
  • Give examples, including ROI
  • How priorities have been redefined and why
  • Role model the change
  • How it will be measured – and why 
  • Who’s already on board; there’s power in numbers, and it grows from there

You can expect pushback, but you have to just push through. This is important. Persistence is key.

That’s a good segue into why mindset shifts, behavioral shifts, and culture shifts won’t happen. I recently came across an article from Matthew E. May titled 20 Reasons Why Your Company Won’t Change. Among the ones Matthew mentions, I’ve picked some of the most popular ones that I’ve heard from other customer experience professionals and have listed them below. (Check out the article; you might think some of the other reasons apply, too!) This explains a lot, but don’t let it stop you! Push through it.

  • Fear. We have an innate fear of the unknown. “I’m afraid of what will happen.”    
  • Myopia. We can’t see that change is in our broader self-interest. “This won’t help us.” 
  • Selfishness. Unless change immediately pays off for us, we’ll resist it. “What’s in it for me?”
  • Ego. Those with power have to admit they’ve been wrong. “I feel I’ve positioned us well for the future.”
  • Sleepwalking. Too many people live un-examined lives. “I just don’t get it.”
  • Human nature. We are naturally self-centered, and change requires some selflessness. “Others will benefit more than me.”
  • Complacency. We like the path of least resistance; we’re not natural maximizers or optimizers. “I’m satisfied with the ways things are.”
  • No constituency. The power base of the status quo is greater than that of those trying to bring about change. “There’s no critical mass behind us.” 
  • Short selling. Perceived lack of knowledge, skills, tools, and experience. “We’ve never done this; we don’t know how to do this.”
  • Exceptionalism. People can’t see the situation objectively. “That may work elsewhere, but we’re different.”

What are you going to do? How are you going to “do CX?” How will you shift the culture, the mindset, and employee behaviors to make the customer the primary focus (with employees more first) of your organization. What’s stopping your company from making the shift? I’m curious if there are other reasons besides the ones listed above or in Matthew’s article?

It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities. -Kristin Armstrong

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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