Here’s a story I’ve seen played out multiple times:
An executive believes in the power of customer experience (CX). Perhaps they read an article, or they heard about a CX program another company offered, or saw a competitor speak at a conference. For whatever reason, the executive saw the light, and wanted a CX program of their own. They hire someone to run it and tell them, “Just drive change. I’ll take care of making sure the other executives are on board.” Their employees implement surveys and work to engage the business, confident they’re making a difference. They present their survey results to whoever will listen, and lobby other silos to improve the experience in order to improve survey results. All is good.
Then that executive leaves. Sometimes by choice, sometimes not.
A new executive comes in. This executive has always focused on driving revenue and reducing cost. Their KPIs are new sales, service calls, repeat customers. But that business data is totally alien to the CX program. So the CX program has no answer when the executive says, “You have insights. So what? What business outcomes are you driving?”
Soon after, the CX program is either gone, or greatly reduced.
This has happened to three companies I know of in Minnesota, as well as countless programs elsewhere. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can show business impact. It just takes a different approach.
In our latest white paper, CX for Skeptics: Showing the ROI of CX, we identify three ways you can show the impact of your CX program in a way that will please your strongest executive critic:
- End-to-End CX Impact. This is the classic method, linking your overall CX measurement with sales, revenue, or profitability. But for most organizations it’s also the hardest to prove.
- Behavioral or Operational CX Impact. For this approach, you can use behavioral or operational data, or specific survey question results, to link customer behavior to financial outcomes such as increased revenue or decreased costs.
- Journey CX Impact. Often overlooked, this is the easiest way to measure – and drive – impact. It focuses on behaviors and interventions within key journeys, rather than trying to measure the totality of the experience.
There isn’t one choice that’s for every program. For example, many complex B2B programs believe that what matters is their surveys, which frequently use Net Promoter Score (NPS). But the complexity of the experience and the multitude of business relationships make it very hard to draw a direct line between the overall survey and any financial outcomes. Those organizations will be better served by looking at behavioral or operational data or using journeys to drive impact.
Another challenge many CX programs have is that they create their own silos – it’s only best-in-class programs that reach out to Finance and Analytics to help prove their relationships. To ensure success, follow these four steps prior to trying to prove your impact:
- Find a friend in Finance. Finance people provide instant credibility, especially when it comes to numbers – they’re really good at math! – and they not only have access to the financial data critical to building your case, they can also do most of the calculations for you.
- Compile years of survey data. One-time data sets are of little value, since they don’t show business impact over time. You’re going to need a range of results tied to the individual or company that completed the survey.
- Get access to behavioral and operational data. This brings in figures Finance probably doesn’t have. The specific data varies by industry, but might include on-site product delivery success, complaints, repeat order information, product lines ordered, and the like. See more detail below.
- Acquire an ally in Analytics. Your Analytics capability may be found in different parts of the organization, such as Marketing, Digital, or even CX. Finance’s calculations focus on different items than Analytics’, so your best bet is to make connections in both departments, then unite to find the right questions and interpret the results.
Laying that foundation will not only help you get the calculations right, it will give you the credibility needed to prove your case.
It’s always been important to prove that you are creating impact through your CX program, but the current economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has made it absolutely essential. Use one of these three methods to ensure your program continues to survey long after stay-at-home measures are lifted. (I hope that’s soon, but until then, please be well and stay safe!)