Where should we begin our CX journey?

My favorite analogy with respect to the CX world is to compare it to a soccer game played by five-year-old children.  If you have ever watched one of these games, you will understand why – usually all the children are chasing the ball together, no spacing around the field, just a wild race to get to the ball.  And for five-year-old kids, that is just fine.  But as players get older, they learn to incorporate strategy, to move without the ball in unique directions to outsmart their opponents.  Now shift gears back to CX.  At times, I see the CX world as that five-year-old soccer game.  “We need massive surveys!  Survey everything!  Create three-tiered management councils to track every moment of activity!  Map the world!  Better yet, create 500-box journey maps, and then cross reference those against 500-box Six Sigma process flow charts! Yes! I read it in a book, saw this at a conference, everyone else is doing it!!”  So, does all this complexity, and the fact everyone’s doing it, make this right?

My experience, or more to the point, my extensive experience in making mistakes has led me to believe that simplicity must be “front of mind” in designing any CX program. Let’s start with developing your initial plans around CX.  I believe there are a handful of things you need to do to get off to a good start and keep momentum early on in your journey.  For starters, I like to focus on the first 100 days as a meaningful milestone.  Why?  100 days has a certain resonance to it as opposed to saying “in the first quarter we will do this, and the second quarter, blah, blah, blah…”  My goal is to create a finite milestone to rally the organization around in which you can accomplish real results.  So, what should we do in the first 100 days?  Let’s walk through the key elements:

  • CX Goals
  • First Survey
  • Governance
  • Communications
  • Closed Loop Process

Let’s cover each of these areas briefly. I will go into greater depth on each topic in future blog posts

CX Goals:  As always, keep it simple initially.  I like to see no more than 3-5 goals, with a primary focus on the success of execution, not score improvement targets.  Why?  Until you have established a baseline score from customers and evaluated in-flight improvements that target CX, you are just guessing at what is possible.  I would rather see you focus on execution – initial survey outcast success, closed loop process execution (simply responding to customer feedback from surveys), and finally execution/communication of a handful of “quick wins” for customers.

First Survey:  Big decision – do you want to capture customer satisfaction (CSAT) or do you want to go with Net Promoter Score (NPS).  In other words, do you like chocolate or strawberry ice cream?  My point here is that there is no right answer.  For longitudinal analysis purposes, the key is to pick one methodology and stick with it.  Otherwise you will not be able to compare performance over time in any meaningful way.

Whether B to B (Business-to-Business) or B to C (Business-to-Consumer), I believe you should focus on a relationship survey within the first 100 days.  This will allow you to capture an initial, end-to-end understanding of areas that customers care about most.  Armed with this knowledge, you can focus subsequent activities on transactional surveys, but for now let’s concentrate on an overall understanding of the journey.

Which technology should you use?  This topic alone requires it’s own discussion, but for now let’s focus on a couple of initial thoughts.  I would consider two criteria.  First, how easy is the survey platform to set up/generate initial survey?  Second, if I need to change things in my survey (and you will), is it hard to do/costly?  Much more to discuss on this in subsequent blogs…

Governance:  Let’s keep this very simple.  I recommend setting up one steering team, with representation from leadership across the customer journey.  Keep membership to a maximum of eight active participants.    Initially, I would recommend a bi-weekly meeting for the first 100 days as you launch the various efforts.

Communication:  As early as possible, establish a communication plan in which the CEO (or other C-suite lead) will send an e-mail/post a blog/post a short video addressing your customer base.  The key is to keep it simple, and establish a consistent cadence of delivery.

Closed Loop Process:  For the first 100 days, I would recommend you focus on creating a very simple closed loop process.  This may be as simple as tracking the number of problem areas identified in surveys per customer, and utilizing your account management/sales/operations’ teams to contact the customer and address the issue(s) directly.  Again, the point is not to create a full blown, end-to-end in-depth process, your energies should be focused on gaining initial understanding of problem areas as well as developing the habit of reaching out to customers to resolve issues.

In summary, I believe you can make tremendous progress in 100 days.  By keeping things simple and focusing on building the foundation for your CX program, I believe you will avoid the pitfalls so many programs suffer from initially – too complex, limited early success, lack of foundation for future success, and insufficient understanding of customer needs.  Bottom line – keep it simple, go fast, celebrate your early accomplishments, and embrace the journey!

 

 

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