Overcoming the Five Escapes of Senior Executives

Posted On December 18, 2018
By Lior Arussy

Yes, you were assigned to lead the customer experience (CX) transformation. You’ve done your journey mapping, and your customer feedback surveys are in place, but there’s something missing. Wait a minute… it’s your CEO! She put you in the role, but now she doesn’t seem to pay much attention to the initiative, let alone approve the budget for your big plans. When you originally signed up for the job, she seemed really excited. She told you how CX is at the core of the business. Maybe she even adapted the core values on your website to include customer focus. Then she went back to business as usual, and the rest of the leadership team followed.

Now you might get 30 minutes with your CMO to review the customer survey scores, but the passion and commitment are gone. You’re feeling your own passion and commitment fade too. Why are you investing so much time and energy if nobody else seems to care all that much?

Before you’re ready to quit due to disillusionment, push pause for a second. This is normal. You’re not the only one experiencing it. It’s actually quite common in CX transformations.

You fell into the trap of the typical executive escapes. Your executives often assign CX to others without recognizing that they need to own this initiative personally because it’s central to the organization’s strategy and identity, both for customers and employees.

Here are the five most common escapes we hear from senior executives and how to address them. Your CEO will say some of these things explicitly. Others require careful listening and interpretation. Take the fourth escape for example. Will your CEO tell you she doesn’t know how to lead CX from the top? Probably not. You need to listen carefully to hear it.



“It’s amazing how much our CEO is talking about customer experience, especially considering that in the first 6 months, she was missing in action, I can’t really understand it.” This was a comment from a CX leader at an organization that’s fairly mature in its CX transformation journey.  This CX leader actually felt that the CEO stole his thunder, and she did. She turned the CX transformation into her own baby… and that made all the difference.

From our experience of managing over 200 CX transformations, we’ve learned that the c-suite will adapt and embrace CX only when certain conditions are in place. It’s actually pretty simple. Your CEO is concerned with failure. She won’t endorse a strategy if she’s not convinced it will succeed.

Provide the case and the conditions for your CEO to embrace CX, and you’ll see great things happen.