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5 Ways to Build a CX-First Business Culture

6 minute read
Nathan Eddy avatar
Every decision you make should center around CX. Learn what steps you should take to promote a customer-centric culture within your organization.

Customer experience is everyone’s business.

It’s not just about making changes in the contact center or with the service organization — it involves every product, brand, HR and IT decision.

Nearly every choice an organization makes impacts customer experience at some point. In an environment where people are re-assessing just about everything in their lives, companies need a new approach to serving and supporting their customers.

“If you step back and think about organizations, just about everything they do ultimately ends up in an experience delivered to a customer,” said Bruce Temkin, head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. “So, they need to address the entire chain of events, and engage all groups within a company that contribute to the experience.”

Temkin said that more and more, he’s seeing leaders embrace this holistic view of customer experience.

Using Data to Tap Into CX Insights

To continuously learn, propagate insights and rapidly adapt at scale, companies need a platform that can gather data about experiences, automate analyses to uncover essential insights and use those findings in two ways.

The first is to enable people across the company to make better, faster decisions, and the second is to trigger workflows based on gathered insights.

“It turns out that there’s a goldmine of relatively untapped insights in ongoing human conversations,” Temkin said. “That’s why one of the key technologies for experience is a combination of AI and natural language processing to discover insights within unstructured content, like contact center calls and social media posts.”

He pointed out that large organizations typically field thousands of calls every day and collect data from agent notes, online chat sessions, self-help forums, social media and call recordings.

“Businesses that can tap into that data can more quickly spot flaws in frontline staff training, identify bugs in their product or offer more personalized service to their customers,” he said. 

“Those connections are not possible without being able to analyze the unstructured data and share the insights across the organization.”

Colleen Berube, CIO and senior vice president of operations at Zendesk, cautioned that listening to and acting on support data isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it scenario.

“Successful companies take an iterative approach to customer feedback and make it an ongoing, built-in part of their business strategy,” she said. “This creates an environment where you can increase customer-centricity over time, and it’s expected and effectively managed.”

Related Article: From First-Party to Zero-Party Data

Breaking Down Silos to Build Experience Management

As customer experience becomes more important and companies look to approach experience management (XM) across entire enterprises, they need ways to manage experience data and develop unified views of individual preferences, perceptions and attitudes.

Temkin said that to break down silos between teams, many companies look for a single system that provides a comprehensive view of a customer's experience with a business.

“Ideally, this solution also brings together the conversational analytics, machine learning and journey orchestration needed to help identify and root out each and every experience breakdown in their business,” he said. 

In an environment where change is the status quo, Temkin said he believes using XM capabilities to continuously learn, propagate insights and rapidly adapt will be critical for building the agility needed by every organization.

Taking Shared Responsibility Seriously

“The customer experience is everyone’s responsibility, at the end of the day,” explained Niki Hall, CMO at Contentsquare. “In order to serve them better, the entire organization needs to understand who they are, what their pain points are and help develop solutions that will make their lives easier.”

She said everyone can add unique value to the solution development process, and if each person performs their job function with a shared understanding of customer needs, the entire organization performs better.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to make the customer experience as good as possible, but it’s leadership’s job to take great ideas and design a way for the business to deliver on them. A big one for Contentsquare is removing barriers around the work.”

Hall said the company has learned that hands-on experience is the best way a person can hone their specific strengths and interests, and so they strive to give people the opportunity to bring their unique perspective to high-level business goals.

Learning Opportunities

She pointed to the company’s annual hackathon as a prime example of those opportunities, where many of the ideas that come up make it into the company’s product roadmap.

“It’s not only an engineering-focused exercise; everyone from any part of the organization has the ability to participate,” she said.

“That gives people the chance to work with other departments and truly collaborate on an idea, adding their own unique flavor to give the company a well-rounded view of customer experiences and needs.”

Related Article: 4 Steps to Start Connecting Customer Experience and Employee Experience Insights

Incorporating the CIO's ROle in CX Culture

The CIO sits at the intersection of technology and business and has the advantage of working across the entire organization, said Berube.

“We need to advocate for customer experience and collaborate with other leaders to ensure customer experience remains a top priority starting from how the products are built, sold and supported as well as how customers experience and interact with your brand."

She explained that from the product team to marketing, customer feedback and support insights can fuel customer-centric, data-driven decisions to boost retention, growth, and profitability.

“Traditionally, as CIOs we’ve asked ourselves what our business requirements are. But we need to change our approach to now ask what customer experience do we want to create.”

Offering Collaboration and Communications Tools 

Aside from the hackathon, Contentsquare provides collaboration and communications tools and creates regular opportunities for people to share ideas or provide insights based on their roles, according to Hall. 

For example, the customer relationship team closely connects to the product team. As such, they’re encouraged to share customer feedback, like features users want more of or wish they had.

Similarly, the sales team has easy ways to communicate with the customer relationship team. When a prospect asks about case studies of similar businesses that’ve implemented Contentsquare, the two departments can collaborate. 

“Without channels to communicate, we wouldn’t be able to deliver on the needs of customers,” she explained. 

Hall added that a company-wide focus on CX becomes more important going forward. It gives everyone a common goal. “Ensuring that everyone is customer-centric helps us define our value and work toward something greater and deliver on the company promise,” she said.

Final Thoughts

Companies that want to excel in this ever-changing digital era need to adopt big-picture approaches to CX that encompasses all departments. 

Berube said leaders will need to prioritize the customer experience company-wide to inform insights and drive decisions that will grow their customer base. “Customer experience is key to business growth, especially as the world continuously becomes digital-first."