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The “C” in CX really stands for change

  • Posted on August 16, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
customer experience (CX)

Much is written about how to bring customer centricity to your organization, with a great deal of advice on customer experience (CX) strategies and programs. As an executive delegated to help Avanade chart its CX course, I’ve learned a lot about the practicalities of implementation. I’ve learned that you need a meaningful vision, a strategy, and a good way to prioritize initiatives and investments, but most of all I have come to know that the roadblocks to traction are not in the debates around vision, strategies and priorities. The challenges lie in the “change” required to move hearts and minds. Let me share some of my insights.

What kind of change should you be ready for?

  • Personal risk. I’ve done hundreds of talks on CX and virtually everyone agrees that customer experience matters, and that seeking customer feedback is a good thing. Ahh.. but what’s really going on when your talk is over and it’s time to act? What is really going on is fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
    • “Will the customer feedback show that my team is not doing their job?”
    • “Will I be compared to internal groups on CX?”
    • “Will my performance and compensation be affected if CX scores aren’t good?”?
    Many of these concerns are not spoken of publicly but they exist as key roadblocks to implementation. Personal risk should be addressed transparently, early on, and often.

  • Doing things differently. Operationalizing a CX program means things will change and the execution of many day-to-day activities will need to be rethought. That often means many people will need to do their jobs differently. For example, in the B2B world, account planning is a common process. Voice of the customer (VOC) data should be used to rethink your account strategy and continuously monitor account sentiment. That’s a different way of operating. Systematically reviewing feedback data in internal meetings is another example of doing things differently.

  • Cultural Norms – Many companies today do not openly discuss bad customer experiences. In fact, leadership often makes it taboo to discuss bad customer experiences and generally only promotes customer successes. In a CX-centered environment, this needs to change and become the new norm. Reviewing feedback (good and bad), discussing gaps in experiences, replicating good practices, and finding new solutions should become common conversation and the new norm.

  • Accountability – CX outcomes are rarely in the hands of a single person, so creating and cascading accountability for CX can be difficult – and frankly – scary. Creating accountability at the corporate level is the starting point. Employees need to see first that corporate leadership is measuring and paying attention to various CX metrics similar to how they pay attention to financial metrics. Is CX on your corporate scorecard in some way? It becomes easier to implement next level metrics and accountability from there.

The “change” part of CX is without a doubt the most challenging part of advancing your organization’s CX maturity. A strong communications plan should be part of your CX transformation program. Anticipating the various kinds of change challenges can help you get in front of the issues and reduce your time to realizing CX improvements.

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