When it’s time to transform customer experience, who needs to be “on board”?


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When it comes to redesigning customer experience, the critical nature of “C-suite sponsorship” is beginning to sound like table stakes for starting the process. Across a handful of “customer experience readiness assessments”, leadership’s commitment to, understanding of and support for customer experience are usually positioned as “must haves” to begin the process.

One client recently told us that the head of (another) leading customer experience consultancy declined to take on experience transformation projects that didn’t have full CEO support. Frankly, we were surprised.

While it would be poor advice to suggest that any organization can effect meaningful, cross-enterprise customer experience transformation without top-down support, not all CEOs – in fact, most that we’ve encountered – are willing to embark on such a potentially disruptive undertaking without a highly compelling “proof-of-concept” and defensible business case behind it first.

A key component of customer experience strategy includes the determination of cost-value to justify (or build a case for) making changes to existing systems. In other words, this question needs to be answered across different areas of the organization: “Will the benefits of improving customer experience significantly exceed the costs/investments of making the improvements?”

The fact is: change is hard. And it’s easier for an executive to champion this change when they have the ammunition they need. Usually, this is a combination of voice-of-the-customer research of some sort, combined with a business case that supports the rationale for investing on a broader scale, and a roadmap to guide the process. In our experience, the answers to these questions are arrived at gradually; often one market segment or business unit – sometimes even one touchpoint – at a time.

Getting this ammunition is often championed by groups and individuals within an organization who understand the importance of “fixing” experience, and are willing to invest – to a point – to help them prove this out.

We’ve found that these smaller groups are highly effective at building the case and consensus for customer experience as a broader initiative within their organizations. Often championed and funded by mid-level executives, and occasionally cross-functional in nature, they help focus initial efforts on business units or processes where issues or insight gaps exist that experience-related research, strategy and consulting can help address.

I’ve said that customer experience isn’t the responsibility of any one group, and it’s not. The C-suite does need to be on board at some point. It would be great if every company was ready to address customer experience from the top-down; as a consumer and as a consultant, I’d be thrilled. But most companies simply aren’t ready to make this “leap” without taking a few carefully planned and closely monitored baby steps first. And they shouldn’t.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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