4 Pillars of a Customer Experience (CX) Culture
It goes without saying that a company focused on customer experience must hold clear, coherent values that place customers at the centre of its concerns, and that these values must be shared both by employees as well as by management. Think of Disney, for example. During the first day of training, no matter what their specific job, Disney employees learn that their mission is to make people happy. By emphasizing the importance of customer relationships through personalized experiences, Disney succeeds at achieving a return rate for new visitors of 70 percent (source).
According to a Forrester report, “[a]s companies seek to differentiate their product and service offerings with increasingly demanding customers, those who fail to drive their digital experiences with good governance suffer from increased costs, disjointed experiences and a weak competitive position..”
In this article, I will examine the pillars of an organizational culture that contributes to promoting successful customer experience that is both personalized and profitable.
1. Inter-service collaboration
According to Conway’s law, companies create the products and services that reflect their own hierarchical structures. So at a traditional company with product and service development teams that are separated from users by several degrees (analysts, product heads, project leads, IT management, etc.), it’s possible that the experience of using its products and services seems disjointed, adulterated and overly complex. This is the first obstacle that needs to be overcome when planning a transformation of any kind.
True transformation requires deep organizational change in order to move from a structure of departments, units and silos to one that promotes synergy between all services. The need for your product and engineering teams to collaborate with your marketing and sales functions has become more important than ever.
2. Integrating goals into operations
Before launching a customer experience (CX) program, you need to start by identifying your objectives. What do you want to accomplish?
➔ Increase website conversions?
➔ Improve customer satisfaction?
➔ Win your customers’ loyalty to increase the value of the customer life cycle?
➔ Increase the number of qualified leads for internal sales teams?
➔ Increase the volume of consumer traffic on retailers’ sites?
➔ Increase the number of leads generated by retailers coming from digital?
Without clear objectives, it is not only impossible to measure an initiative’s success, but the company is at risk of creating a discrepancy between reality and theory that could make employees indifferent (or even overtly resistant) to change.
Objectives serve as guides to ensure that the efforts of all company services are aligned and lead to significant change for current and potential customers. It is therefore important to state them clearly in writing.
This documentation provides infrastructure that is able to define the expectations for a program and the key performance indicators (KPIs) expected from all company services (human resources, operations, purchasing, customer service, engineering, marketing, sales, partners, suppliers, etc.).
3. Who is responsible for customer experience?
Some think that it should be the responsibility of the sales department, since they have more direct contact with customers, while others assign responsibility to the marketing team responsible for brand image.
Instead, I am of the opinion that customer experience optimization is not merely an initiative that takes place within a department, but should be the heart of a company’s DNA.
Since customer experience optimization has become a sophisticated discipline in its own right that provides competitive advantages, upper management must absolutely view the initiative as a strategic driver of growth and, therefore, fully support it.
So who is responsible for customer experience?
- Upper management. If upper management is directly responsible for a CX program, its governance will remain at the top of the company’s concerns and will not be at risk of being merely temporary.
- A dedicated team of champions whose expertise spans all services. With a team of champions who are engaged and able to influence customer experience, the change will become an agile part of the company.
- Everyone. A transparent initiative will invite employees from all services to coordinate their actions towards the achievement of CX goals.
4. The democratization of data
After establishing clear objectives, effective support from upper management and a team of inter-service CX champions that meet regularly to evaluate the performance of the CX program, it’s time to move to the next step: the democratization of data.
One of the best ways to make key performance indicators for customer experience visible is to include them in the executive dashboard, beside key operational and financial metrics.
➔ Collect data from all points of contact.
➔ Share data with everyone within an organization to facilitate trend analysis.
➔ Simplify the technology used to collect, analyze and disseminate data.
➔ Facilitate decision making for the various services by making all levels of analysis and their activities accessible.
The most important point is to plan the dissemination of the results of a CX program, transmit them throughout the company and put them in the hands of those with the ability to act based on that data.
Remember that all points of contact for personalizing a customer journey are interdependent, and that it’s important to train your employees in how to put the data to good use.
It’s essential to establish a CX governance structure that is clear and well-defined, and to ensure that the program pays off. Whether your priorities are in the digital arena or otherwise, a well-structured and effective organizational culture will enable customer experience as a whole to assume a central position that is part of your company’s DNA.