By Lior Arussy, appearing in CustomerThink.com
2018 has been declared as a year of reckoning by Forrester. At the top of Forrester’s 2018 prediction is the claim that Customer Experience (CX) programs have hit a wall. Practitioners have generated a great deal of activity around journey mapping, voice-of-customer programs, and implementing quick wins.
But this is where they hit a wall. The latest Forrester CX Index demonstrated that, for some companies, scores actually declined and others reached a plateau. In a word, CX programs are “stuck.”
So, how can we unstick our CX programs and generate greater momentum in what was once declared a centerpiece of the CEO’s agenda? Here are seven tips to help move your CX program in the right direction.
- Recognize you’re stuck
Believe it or not, so many of us are consumed with day-to-day tactical work that we have forgotten what we were working towards. In our journey mapping tool, Touchpoint Dashboard, we have over 17,000 journey maps, with thousands upon thousands of touchpoints and moments-of-truth. We have removed all the dissatisfiers, we’ve reduced the cost of customer service, we’ve streamlined processes.
These were tactical approaches that did little to add value. It’s time to recalibrate what it is we are here for.
- What number do you own?
Does your CEO call you every day to learn what your net promoter score is? How about the number of service complaints you received last week? No? Do you think she calls the head of sales and the CFO every day to understand the numbers? You bet she does.
You need to own operational, revenue generating numbers if you want to be taken seriously. When did the Customer Experience department become the Customer Complaint department? Instead of tallying the number of complaints shift your focus and your metrics to measure what really matters; retention, increased share of wallet, loyalty.
- Share the vision.
Why should anyone care about CX? Paint a picture, what will it look like when we consistently deliver exceptional experiences? Go beyond corporate speak, “To be the industry-leading partner excelling in CX” is not an inspirational vision.
Connect with the impact good experiences will have on your customers. “When a customer entrusts us with their pet/car/safety they know that they are safe and cared for and that we will treat them as if they were members of our family. We will earn their loyalty and trust because we exceed their expectations, each and every time.”
- Add value, include a “wow” factor
There is a rush towards using digital tools to remove dissatisfiers. It is a great way to reduce the costs of customer service and to streamline processes. But it does not create new value—far from it. Customers notice the changes and the new, easier ways of doing business and initially, their appreciation is shown through higher scores. But eventually, those new features became expected—simple delivery on expectations.
Instead, seek to unify and clarify experiences and include a wow factor. Like Dominos, which enables customers to track their pizza and see who is working on it. You can also set up a “regular” order and get your pizza with the push of a button.
- Be powerful through empowerment, eliminate obstacles.
Are your teams hiding behind processes at the expense of delivering great experiences? You need to look no further than the April 7, 2017 incident on that United flight. Imagine if the gate agent had thought to herself: “The cost of an Uber will be less than the cost of the voucher and we can have this passenger home faster than if he has to wait for the next flight.” Think how different the story would have been.
All of our employees, our co-workers, our teams need to understand the rules, and when they are allowed to bend them for the good of a customer. Far too often we hide behind processes and policies that protect the company, not the customer.
- Why should anyone trust YOU to transform the business?
If you’ve spent the past few years focusing on tactical CX solutions, you may need to start building credibility from scratch. Your CEO and CFO do not want to hear about Ritz Carlton, Disney, Southwest, Zappos, etc.. Those companies were born customer-centric. There is a simple and uncomfortable truth: the task of CX transformation is often given to people who have little experience and lack the skills to transform.
Let’s be honest about transformation. It is tough and difficult, and often, if you fail, there will be devastating consequences for the organization. The risk is too large, and most executives are not comfortable taking it. Developing the skillset, or bringing it from the outside, is critical to accelerating CX transformation and driving meaningful operational results.
- Instill ownership of CX throughout the organization
How will you drive change effectively? CX is not a department, yet many executives and employees hold a few individuals with CX titles accountable for everyone’s actions.
CX must be integral in everyone’s role. We must ensure that each and every employee own their decisions and actions, as well as linking those actions to the complete customer journey. This ownership must be accompanied by the right tools and empowerment to deliver exceptional experiences.
The “Mother” Litmus Test
To get started on changing the direction of CX from tactical initiatives to strategic programs, I would like to propose one key starting point. We call it the “mother litmus test.” If your customer were your mother (assuming you have a good relationship with your mother), you would find amazing ways to delight her and deliver an experience you are proud of.
Why don’t you do the same with the rest of your customers? Why don’t all your employees choose to do the same with their customer experiences? Why don’t they wish to deliver an experience they are proud of? Experiences that their mothers would be proud of?
The “mother litmus test” ultimately tests the organization’s commitment to CX. It does not have to be complex and difficult. If you care enough to make it happen, you will own it and make it your strategy. And if you do not, then it will just be another tactical lip service. It’s time to make CX personal and, therefore, strategic.
Lastly, add The Ultimate Ingredient – Pride
Passion for the brand story
Readiness for the future
Integrity that builds trust
Decisions that enable
Empowered to deliver