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Great Customer Experience Starts with Change Management

Delivering customer experiences that are engaging, relevant and persuasive is a key competitive advantage in today’s business environment. Recognizing that employees are the driving force that can make or break a great customer experience is the first step. An effective change management initiative is the second step necessary to ensure that employees have the knowledge and structure to deliver.

According to a recent Forrester Research study, 86 percent of respondents saw customer experience as a strategic priority. In a five-year study comparing customer experience scores to stock performance, there was a 70 percent differential between leaders and laggards.  

There are many factors that determine the success and influence the implementation of a robust customer experience management program (CXM). Technology has become a primary enabler. It allows you to target the right audiences with sophisticated campaign management tools, publish content with complex management systems, and measure and optimize the results using analytics. Combined, these capabilities make up an enterprise marketing platform or EMP.

The true potential of EMPs is often not realized. One aspect that is often overlooked or underestimated when it comes to deploying EMPs is the organizational readiness. From the onset, a CXM/EMP rollout requires various groups such as product, channel, brand, operations and analytics, to work across silos, share a common vision and leverage shared processes and tools.

Getting everyone to work together, share common goals and agree on metrics for success within this new model inevitably results in drastic changes to individuals, groups, teams and entire organizations. Change management can help organizations to control the potential implications (such as resistance and concerns) of such changes.

The Need for Organizational Change Management

Real and lasting change only occurs when employees alter their thinking, beliefs and habits. While it may be easy to recognize the need for change, putting it into practice is an entirely different story.

Humans are, by nature, resistant to change. Resistance takes many forms: unwillingness to learn a new system, disagreement with management decisions and uncertainty over changing job requirements including job security. It is the primary reason enterprise initiatives fail. 

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Uncertainty can grow when management hires external "experts" to support the organization as can not being "selected" to participate in the project team. Secrecy and lack of communication further contribute to dissent, as employees immediately become fearful when they perceive management withholding information.

Organizational Change Management Fundamentals

Leadership and change authority John P. Kotter defines change management as a set of basic tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control . The goal is to minimize the distractions and impacts of the change, while maximizing the potential the change intends to bring.

During the initial phase of a rollout, the following areas need to be addressed as a part of the change management process.

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Roles & Responsibilities

Internal roles and responsibilities will change. Team structure, employee interaction and workload will all be affected. It is necessary to define where one employee’s responsibilities end and another’s begin. A "RACI" chart is a great tool to drive and provide clarity across the organization.

Functions & Processes

New processes and procedures related to the platform need to be defined before the actual rollout including determining the content lifecycle as well as revising the digital marketing ecosystem in terms of data and marketing.

Organizational Structure

An assessment must be made of current existing organizations, both from a quality (skills) and quantity (resources) perspective. The current structure must then be mapped against the future state to show its strengths, weaknesses and the gaps.

Preparation & Training

It’s also crucial to deliver proper training. Training programs help familiarize employees with the system and processes as well as increase clarity and acceptance.

 

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