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Improve CX with change enablement

  • Posted on February 5, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 5 minutes
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If they are not already doing so, most companies are at least aware that they are going to have to compete on delivering great customer experiences (CX), if only because their competitors are doing so. According to Forrester, 64% of organizations cite competition as the most important factor driving their focus on customer experience. In the rush to jump-start a quality customer experience in the digital realm, companies are making major investments in developing digital customer experience platforms and analytics.

But the mere implementation of a CX platform is no guarantee of an improved customer experience. If companies invest only in platforms without a parallel investment in readying their organization to support the platform, their digital customer experience could get worse, losing customers to their competitors.  

Based on our experience implementing digital CX platforms on a global basis, across a number of industries, it has become clear that readying an organization to deliver great customer experiences requires investing in a change enablement approach. It goes beyond the typical training and communications associated with delivering a new technical platform. 

Where should companies focus their change enablement activities to ensure their technical investments in CX platforms actually deliver great customer experiences? These four foundational activities are the place to start:
1. Coordinating data flows into the platform
2. Clarifying decision-making governance based on data flowing out of the platform
3. Carving out platform management roles and accountabilities
4. Creating a culture of customer service


In this week’s blog post we’ll be reviewing the first two activities. I’m covering the final two in my follow-up post next week.

1. Coordinating data flows into the platform
Data is critical. You can’t create great customer experiences if you don’t know what makes an experience great to your customers.  When the data is flowing, possibilities for enhancing the digital customer experience blossom.

However, organizations starved for customer data generated by CX platforms can forget that customers come to their website to “pull” data – from prices and product information to locations where they can make a purchase – as much as they “push” their data and web activity back to the organization.

The problem is that far too often the data customers are looking for, as well as existing data on customers, are embedded in digital silos, with different owners, different data collection processes, different data management systems, different data structures, etc.

The resulting lack of data coordination across an organization – especially critical on naturally cross-functional CX platforms – increases the possibility that the data that customers come to a site to find either won’t be there or is incorrect. This can undermine efforts to create a great customer experience no matter how large the investment in a CX platform. 

And as anyone who has tried to reconcile and connect, if not fully integrate, data across an organization knows, the success of the effort is as much about aligning people as it as about surmounting whatever technical challenges the data represents.

How Change Enablement efforts can help
The actual work of building alignment across silos to integrate data can be as difficult and complex as installing the platform to begin with. Your change enablement efforts should focus on:
Mapping Current State processes – make sure you know where all the data comes from and who does what to ensure the right data is in the right place at the right time
(Re)Designing Future State processes – adapt the current data processes to the requirements of the new CX platform to ensure customers are getting accurate, up-to-date information
Aligning the Organization – work the people end of the new processes: clarifying roles, breaking down siloes, documenting accountabilities, training and communicating. Your teams need to know who does what when and how to keep your web site data up-to-date.

2. Clarifying decision-making based on data flowing out of the platform
The influx of data stemming from CX platforms opens the door to a holistic view of the customer as well as opportunities for advanced testing, tailored content, personalization, product innovation, etc.  These in turn generate more data, and provide a positive feedback loop that the most successful customer experience organizations use to constantly develop, upgrade and improve their customer’s digital experience.

But the journey from the inflow of reams of customer data to the realization of an always evolving personalized and tailored digital customer experience can be fraught with all sorts of governance, process and organizational complexities:  To whom does the data flow? Who analyzes it? Who provides the insights for different marketing approaches as a result of the data? Who makes the actual recommendations for re-design/ personalization? Who needs to approve those changes? Who implements them?

Without clear processes and accountabilities as to who decides what to implement and how it can be quickly implemented, your company will soon start lagging behind competitors who have their decision processes in place, and therefore, can improve and upgrade their digital customer experience faster, smarter, better. 

How Change Enablement efforts can help
The implementation of a CX platform and its attendant analytics can impact multiple functions, departments, regions and divisions and cut across lines of authority and decision-making. Your change enablement efforts should focus on: 
Clarifying all key decision pointsreview every step of your ongoing digital customer experience activities – from designing sites and implementing them to ongoing activities like research, testing, analysis, site re-design recommendations and implementation. Map each and every point at which decisions have to be made.
Aligning on accountabilities – incorporate all stakeholders impacting or impacted by CX platform-based activities into an alignment process that documents who is responsible and/or accountable for decisions at every key decision point.
Turning alignment into action – once decision-making accountabilities are set, ensure the newly aligned decision-making process works in practice. Keep an eye open for shifts in role responsibilities and/or requirements for training and communication on the new decision-making process. 

The Change Enablement Team at Avanade has experience bringing together all interested parties to reach alignment and support implementation of the decision-making processes necessary for successful and ongoing development of great customer experiences based on a CX platform.

I invite you to download our Customer Experience practical guide to learn more on the role of change enablement to exceed expectations with your customer experience.


Click on over to read part 2 of this blog post.

 

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