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PHOTO: Claus Rebler

While companies may have a customer experience strategy in place, it won't count for much if people throughout the organization don’t adhere to the plan. We asked some experts how companies can ensure their CX strategy is followed.

CX Governance Starts with the Right Design

“Governance for CX programs begins during the strategy and program development stage,” said Lisa Loftis, senior product marketer at SAS. “Absent a strong design for governance structures and processes, chances are slim that the CX team can ensure adherence to program tenets once the initiative begins. The further the CX program reaches across the organization, the more important this ‘pre-work’ becomes.”

Loftis added that initial design activities should include determining the governance organization structure, identifying participants, defining governance roles and responsibilities, establishing coordination points, developing clear decision rights (RACI matrix) and documenting the governance processes and procedures.

“While there is no set ‘one size fits all’ for effective governance structures, a dual steering committee, council format works well for most organizations. In this format, the steering committee participants should be composed of senior executives with the organizational clout to effect change and ensure enforcement.”

Among other responsibilities, this council would promote CX strategies and active engagement within the organization’s business units and define and monitor CX KPIs, Loftis said.

Other responsibilities would include:

  • Securing funding for CX initiatives (business case review, priority direction).
  • Driving CX awareness and culture change within the corporation.
  • Resolving escalated issues and act as final decision-making authority.
  • Resolving business policy and organizational issues (e.g., MBO and job description changes).
  • Ensuring that CX initiatives continue to align with corporate priorities, particularly as internal and external factors influence those priorities.

Related Article: 'Managing Chaos': The Long, Winding Road to Digital Governance

Governance Is a Collaborative Process

Many companies struggle with CX transformation because it isn’t treated as a shared initiative — teams aren’t working in conjunction, and success is measured against different KPIs, said Michel Feaster, CEO and co-founder of Usermind. “Even if you think you have an effective strategy in place, it’s crucial to ensure that your CX initiative has clear KPIs that are based on business objectives and that there is buy-in from internal stakeholders, otherwise it’s doomed from the start.”

Have a Clear Definition of 'Success' and the Metrics to Prove It

Another important element of CX governance is providing a structure for CX measurement, including agreement on what “success” is and the metrics to track and monitor performance.

In order to monitor CX compliance, companies need to have a handle on surveys and management tools, said Stephanie Thum, founding principal at Practical CX.

“If you don’t know how many survey platforms are being used in your organization, or you don’t know how many customer surveys are going out, to whom, then you need an administrative policy to bring structure around the tool your company will use, and when, where, and how surveys are going out and incoming data is reviewed,” Thum said.

CX governance needs to be embedded in the settings of whatever experience management tool the company uses to collect customer data, Thum added. These settings will help mitigate the risk of customer data misuse while eliminating data silos.

Related Article: Losing Sleep Over Your Lack of a Digital Policy? You Should Be

Infuse CX Throughout the Company

Beyond tools and governance councils, adherence to the company strategy relies on fostering a company culture that is customer-obsessed, said John Allessio, chief customer officer at PROS. From the sales team on the front line to the legal team in the back office, there must be a shared customer-first mentality across the entire organization.

“Defining a set of metrics that places the customer front and center for each department is a way to start building a customer-centric culture,” Allessio added. “If employees can understand how their contributions to the organization impact the customer, and how each team works in harmony to drive the customer experience, then it’s much easier for them to rally around why having a customer-centric culture is imperative to company success and growth.”

Companies can also look to customer success teams to focus on driving value for the customer after the sale, a strategy many companies are using to deepen relationships with customers to ensure that they are able to maximize the value of the solutions, according to Allessio.

Related Article: 3 Ways to Realign Your Organization to Focus on Customer Experience

Don’t Wait for Perfection

Any program to monitor CX adherence will likely need some tweaking over time, Feaster cautioned. “Perfect is the enemy of progress: With stakeholders aligned and your journeys mapped, the next pitfall to avoid is 'analysis paralysis' and over indexing on experience management (XM) which can inhibit your ability to drive action. Action is the key difference between XM and experience orchestration (XO). XM is passive and retroactive while XO allows companies to actively shape experiences in real-time and drive meaningful results."

Feaster stressed that companies must prioritize progress and iteration over perfection. Implement and iterate a few key journeys so that you can begin to take action.