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Breaking the Status Quo of CX — Part 2

AvatarRichard Boehmcke | August 5, 2019

Many corporate initiatives start out with a flood of excitement and energy, but it can be hard to sustain that momentum over the long haul. That’s a big reason why some customer experience (CX) programs are struggling. 

Think about it: CX programs can take three to five years to become a core part of the business. You need time to institute the voice of the customer (VoC) practices and take action based on authentic customer feedback. At its core, CX is all about changing organizational culture to center around customers, and change requires time to take root.

Companies and executives have short-term mindsets; the focus is on the next earnings report and quarterly investors’ meeting. At times, that makes focusing on programs that deliver value over the longer term — like CX — extremely difficult.

But don’t despair. In our last post, we outlined three ways to rise above common CX roadblocks, and we’re here to share three more ways you can break the status quo and establish a thriving CX program.

#1: Find Your Power Core

Have you ever heard the cliche “don’t fix what isn’t broken”? That phrase is very applicable to CX. 

How? When rolling out CX, it’s tempting to want to push people toward a new, customer-centric way of thinking and acting. Some CX programs try to force-feed a customer agenda into every corner of the organization — and that is a recipe for failure.

Instead of forging ahead with a single-minded focus on CX, seek to understand what your organization does well and align yourself with that momentum. Get to know your organization’s power core. As CX thought leader Jeanne Bliss explains:

CX work is as much about knowing what motivates people as it is about getting the job done. That’s where the power core comes in. Most companies have a predominant power core. Frequently it is the strongest skill set in the company or the most comfortable to senior executives. Because executives know the power core best, people gravitate to perform in that area.

Aim to influence stakeholders in your “power core.” Find out their motivators and measures of success. Show them how CX helps them do their jobs better.

Move out from that core of inner power until you penetrate every area of the organization. At every level, earn trust, prove the value of CX work and inspire others to embrace a customer-focused mindset. 

#2: Access Your Existing Change Infrastructure

Every organization grapples with change. Chances are, your organization has already adopted a change management methodology. And it’s likely your company has change experts on staff who would love to support your CX efforts.

This is a clear “don’t reinvent the wheel” scenario. Your goal should be to take advantage of the change framework that already exists. Does your organization use Lean/Six Sigma, Prosci’s ADKAR model, DevOps or something else? Find out and make it work for you.

Get to know the people who know how to help your organization navigate complex change. Tie your CX priorities to the engine that drives change so that you can break through silos. With that approach, you can reach more people in the organization than you would by working alone.

#3: Give Your Frontline Team a Voice

You put a lot of effort into designing surveys and analyzing results. Even so, you may be missing a wealth of customer insight. For a more complete picture of customer perspectives, you must listen to your frontline team, the people who interact with your customers every day who know their hot buttons. They know what inspires customer delight and they know what frustrations customers encounter.

Also, it’s important to share CX results with your frontline team, but don’t just focus on metrics. Focus on the drivers behind the scores. Don’t just tell them a score went up or down, tell them why. 

Share genuine feedback in your customers’ own words; describe the behaviors that inspire customer delight. That way, you can motivate your team to higher levels of excellence.

Embed CX Into Your Organization

Let’s be honest: CX hasn’t been an unequivocal success just yet. Ninety-three percent of companies aren’t finding CX to be the differentiator they’d anticipated, according to industry research. And that leaves many people musing about what’s gone wrong.

Is technology the issue? No. CX technology is more sophisticated and high powered than ever. And it’s not the community of CX practitioners either. CX pros are typically passionate and knowledgeable.

The holdup — in nearly every instance — is in execution. Far too many companies have a short-term mindset. They think only about the next earnings call and don’t take the long view required for CX success.

Yes, overcoming that type of entrenched thinking isn’t easy, but you can influence key elements of the organization and drive CX forward. Start with your organization’s power core and build out from there, tap into existing change management efforts and connect with your frontline team.

Your goal in CX isn’t swimming against the tide, it’s flowing with the current. Uncover the segments of your business that are receptive to CX. Align with them and expand your reach.

A steady, systematic approach will yield positive CX results. With time and focus, you can make CX an intrinsic part of your business, and that will help you build trust and goodwill with customers.