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PHOTO: Anastasia Petrova

“Without a successful CX vision, an organization will fail to keep up with competitors who prioritize the end user,” said Jeannie Falcone, global and North America creative marketing agency lead with Accenture Interactive.

So how do you go about creating a customer experience vision to align organizational efforts? Falcone and other CX experts offered the following advice.

Base it on a Customer-Obsessed Agenda

“Quick fix solutions for executing a customer experience vision will not be as beneficial as a holistic view,” said Falcone. “Align your leadership team, incentives, metrics and operations to a customer-obsessed agenda.”

Consumers and employees are informed — they want to see the messaging you’re putting out about your company’s purpose right through to its core, Falcone added. While consumers were already headed in an increasingly socially-conscious direction before the pandemic, COVID-19 has only accelerated this shift. Customers buy with their values in mind, choosing brands that echo their principles.

"Every employee should be trained with a customer-first mentality, and the business should be aligned to support that," Falcone added. "Customer service is no longer just for employees who directly address customers’ issues. Every employee is a public ambassador of an organization, and the customer experience should be top of mind throughout the business. An excellent CX vision that proves its authenticity is sure to win over customers and employees alike."

Related Article: Customers Are Factoring Employee Treatment Into Buying Decisions

Align With Brand Promise

The CX vision should be authentic, inspiring and mobilizing, breaking down a brand promise into ownable attributes and a picture of what could be, said Ben Geheb, managing director, experience strategy, VMLY&R.

To define a vision that is meaningful to customers, employees and business leaders, Geheb recommended defining the brand promise and how to achieve it.

“Many companies aspire to be ‘the most loved’ or ‘the most trusted.’ Yet, the means to get there are ill-defined,” Geheb said. “Brands must articulate what space they will own (e.g., what will evoke trust) and what are the attributes to win against that promise are (e.g., Southwest delivers quality customer service via a sense of warmth, friendliness and individual pride).”

The next step is to define the key areas to play along the customer journey, benchmark performance in those moments and then estimate the potential CX impact to define why CX is attractive to the business; painting a picture of the growth it can unlock, according to Geheb.

Related Article: Customer Trust: Are We Experiencing an Existential Crisis?

Focus on the Customer

“For business leaders, providing a coherent and compelling CX vision for your organization can be very challenging," said James Pearson, CEO of eVenturing Enterprises.

Pearson recommend starting with a customer focus, with the first step being creating a customer journey roadmap.

“Creating a direction that will help your entire team in achieving the best CX will make your vision more enthralling. It’s very hard to create a vision without seeing where you are going,” Pearson said. “The customer journey roadmap will serve as your blueprint in visualizing an end-to-end process of what your CX should look like. It should include who your customers are, defined stages of the CX journey, an action plan and tools that you need.”

Defining who your customers are is critical to success, according to Pearson. “You have to determine who your market is and what motivates them to buy.”

Once the brand attracts the customer it needs to progress the customer though the sales funnel in a way that they are engaged and want to buy again. Customer journey mapping provides a structured process to help turn a CX vision into a reality, said Pearson.

Related Article: Customer Journey Mapping: Navigating a Course to Better Customer Relations

Find Your Internal CX Advocates

Find advocates for your customer experience vision … and elevate them, recommended Annie Pollack, Scrum50 president of CX. “Create roles and teams to drive the CX change and be accountable for its success. Disperse these employees across departments so change is distributed and seeps into all aspects of the business. Customers experience every aspect of your business — every internal decision trickles down to them regardless of your perceived external exposure.”

Customers today expect you to know what they want, Pollack added. Companies that understand that and are able to translate that expectation into experience through an authentic, transparent and passionate vision are in the best position to win them over.

Related Article: To Achieve True Customer-Centricity, You Need a Cross-Functional Dream Team

Bring the Vision to Life

At the intersection of a brand promise, CX attributes and key moments create excitement on what CX can unlock, Geheb said. Focusing on the key moments, CX leaders should architect the future experience to demonstrating attributes in action. In doing so will connect the vision to the business case while humanizing the vision, providing a direct linkage between the vision and future funding requests.

A CX vision needs to align action from top to bottom of an organization, Geheb added. While many can craft a human-centered vision statement, defining the business “why” and translating vision statements to tangible moments that matter will help CX leaders connect a vision to sustained action.

Related Article: Critical Moments: Where Customer Experience Is Won or Lost

Promote the Vision

Convey to employees the value the vision brings and how it will impact customers and the business, so they understand why it’s critical to success, Pollack said. “Create and communicate a clear, powerful message that explains to customers what you are doing to improve their experience and how you plan to get there (and why they should care).”