A marketing manager choosing lead person for a difficult project
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I’ve seen it happen time and time again: A top executive, knowing that customer experience (CX) is important but not convinced that it merits a company-wide initiative, points to a single person in the organization and says, “Let’s turn CX around, this is your top priority now.” If you’ve ever been the person on the other side of that call to action, you know just how intimidating and overwhelming the task ahead of you can be. Where on earth do you begin when your job is to turn around the customer experience for an entire organization?

The answer is this: As the CX champion within an organization, you are taking on a true leadership role that will require you to strategically build a team around you. You start by first identifying the company’s primary objective for making changes to customer experience. Then rally around small, quick wins to demonstrate success. And finally, leverage that success to get the right advocates on your side, and, with their influence, build a more robust, established team.

Here are tips for driving results through every phase of a CX challenge and convincing your organization to prioritize the customer.

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Identify the Challenge

Crucial to making any substantial change is an understanding of why CX is on the minds of your company’s leaders. The goals for your customer experience program should be contingent on the business’s needs, so start with the end goal as your North Star.

Some of the challenges your organization might face include maintaining high performance, fixing pockets of underperformance, adapting to a competitive environment and creating unique opportunities within a specific market.

For the sake of illustration, let’s imagine that you are working for a major media company that has recently begun offering mobile-first digital content through native apps. The bottom-line goal is simple: Grow and retain subscriber numbers (both from the traditional print audience and the newer digital audience). Armed with the knowledge that you need to help your company adapt and contend in a competitive environment, you can build a program for analyzing customer feedback to devise solutions that will elicit change.

Earn Quick Wins

Knowing you will be far more effective if you can build a team or committee of several colleagues across the organization, your next step is to identify where you can earn quick wins. The benefit of quick wins — no matter how small — is that as long as you can show tangible momentum and evidence of change, you can begin building your case for investing in more resources — whether those resources are in the form of teammates, technology, education or something else.

Acting fast means acting smart, so focus your attention on only one or two sources of customer feedback to identify repeatedly-raised problems that can be easily solved. “Easily solved” is the operative phrase here. Knowing you want to demonstrate progress promptly, prioritize projects that will involve colleagues or teams you trust to work with you efficiently.

Returning to the example of the media company, perhaps you start by first analyzing live chat transcripts and email surveys. Within this data, you discover that a common issue among digital consumers is they are having trouble performing account-related self-service actions. With this in mind, work with your design team (with whom you have a great relationship) to make the self-service functions easier to locate, and then (with the help of the marketing team) widely communicate with your customers to let them know where they can find the new self-service options. The data may tell you that this relatively small change will lead to an immediate decrease in the number of customers engaging with the contact center. A decrease in customer inquiries will lead to lower costs.

More often than not, that type of bottom-line improvement is just the kind of evidence you need to recruit advocates who see the power of CX and can push for greater change within the organization. Take advantage of these new allies. Having others champion the work you’re doing can build the cultural momentum you need to sway the leadership team toward more systemic change.

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Build the Team

As you gain support and continue to get results, look for an opportunity to persuade an influential person in the C-suite to invest more in your CX team. Use all the ammunition you have to approach leadership with ideas for the future and how this program would be best utilized across various departments. While your organization might be benefiting from the impact of CX now, you have only skimmed the surface of what is possible. With more hands on deck, you’ll be able to analyze more feedback, develop thorough customer journey maps and implement solutions that maximize customer loyalty.

Your job is to prove that while the challenge of improving the customer experience might start as a job for one person, it is best carried out as a team effort. With the right leader and a clear vision for the future of the program, there is huge potential to transform the business.

The truth is that if every single person across your organization — regardless of what part of the business they directly touch — is not invested in listening to the voice of the customer, your CX program will never operate to its fullest potential. When a business puts the customer’s voice at the heart of all of its decisions, real change happens — often in unexpected ways.

I have seen companies use customer feedback to find new sources of revenue, navigate the often stormy seas of mergers and acquisitions, and identify compliance issues before they become front-page news.

The possibilities are endless when you truly listen and put the customer first. What may start as an initiative for a single individual can transform the entire organization. And that is the magic of a CX revolution.