A potential client contacted me a while back and was inquiring about my framework (well, thanks for asking, of course, you can check it out in my new book!). If you’ve read much of my stuff, you may know that, once you ground your CX strategy in your Brand Promise, the three moving operational parts of your Office of the Customer should be Insights, Process Engineering, and building a strong CX Culture.
Your mileage may vary, but this is a pretty good overall framework and encompasses many of the vital principles and practices of good CX that need to be addressed if you’re going to get CX right: Knowing the purpose for why to do CX in the first place, making it a robust and vibrant, active part of your organization, and seeking Customer insights with curiosity and in a spirit of improvement while supporting your organization in order to help it develop into a truly Customer-centric brand.
This CEO specifically wanted to know how much effort she should expect to have to put into her CX efforts. The company in question didn’t have much experience with a deliberate, dedicated CX function and was interested in investigating what a true Office of the Customer—led by a Chief Customer Officer—would do with itself.
I told her what I tell anybody when they ask: First and foremost, the entire effort needs to be grounded in the company’s Brand Promise. If your purpose for “doing CX” is to drive sales or hit revenue targets, you run the risk of seeing the Customers not as the goal, but rather as a means to an end. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it: If I have to convince you to put your Customers first by promising that as a result, you’ll hit revenue targets, things are backwards in your priorities.
Anyway, once we’ve got that groundwork established (a non-trivial matter, to be sure), I recommend that the breakdown be something like this:
- 30% Insights
- 50% Process Engineering
- 20% Culture
Now, first of all, this isn’t meant to suggest a breakdown of resources or budget or something you can tangibly measure reliably and with precision. But if you are the Chief Customer Officer, starting from scratch, and you wake up in the morning and spend your entire time thinking about the Office of the Customer and how you’re going to get the job done, this should be about the percentage of the neurons that are firing in your mind attributed to each of these functions (again, that’s after you’ve spent a bunch of your energy getting everybody aligned with Brand Alignment as your purpose).
The Voice of the Customer (or as I prefer to call it, Customer Insights…because VoC often has the connotation of being limited to surveys and/or interviews…the whole point of Insights is, well, the insights, regardless of how you get them) is the beginning, nominally, of your program. The first thing you have to do as you start along your CX journey is to determine, from your Customers’ perspectives, where you’re falling short of your Brand Promise. This is a pretty big lift, takes a lot of energy, curiosity, thought, and analysis. But it’s not even the biggest thing in your CX realm.
That would be Process Engineering. Once you have established (based on listening, collecting, and analyzing the Customer insights) where you’re falling short, the real work begins: fixing it. There is truly no reason to even embark on a CX program (or for that matter, to bother with a Customer Insights program) if its ultimate goal isn’t to correct the problems you find. The largest concern you should have when it comes to executing your CX strategy should be putting your insights into action. It’s astounding to me how revolutionary this seems to some organizations, in light of how fundamental it truly is. You should spend half (at least!) of your mental and organizational energy as a business leader driving and monitoring improvement efforts around your Customers’ experiences.
Finally, there’s CX Culture. Notice it’s the smallest of the proportions, but that’s not because it’s the least important. Far from it, in fact. If you did zero formal VoC work, you could at least prune information and insights about your Brand Promise gaps from members of your own team. Think of your Customer Support or Customer Success teams. Don’t they have loads of insight into what’s bugging your Customers? Of course they do, because they’re on the front lines, helping your Customers every day. If nobody had ever thought to invent a VoC program, they’d still have a trove of information from within their own organizations. Now, cultivating this information requires fostering and nurturing a culture that puts the Customers first. What’s nice (and why it doesn’t necessarily take as much deliberate effort as compared to Insights and PE) is that a good CX culture feeds itself. You can put up banners and hand out t-shirts touting the importance of Customer-centricity. But what really makes the biggest difference is leading by example. When team members see you walking-the-talk by taking thoughtful action based on Customer insights (i.e., doing PE based on Customer Insights), that generates more buy-in than any amount of swag or even recognition. It isn’t that culture is only 20% of the formula…it’s that it takes much less dedicated effort if you’re doing the other two parts with full vigor.
Now, this is meant to be more of a thought experiment. As I said, your mileage may vary and of course, I’m not suggesting a way of actually measuring these proportions. But when someone asks, What should I be thinking about when it comes to getting CX right?, this is what I suggest.