You know that your customer experience initiatives will die in the planning stages if you don’t have executive commitment, right?
I’ve written several times about the importance of having that executive buy-in and commitment for your customer experience transformation.
I’ve called it a Deadly Sin if you don’t have your executives on board, supporting and driving the culture change and the improvement efforts. Without them, you’ll never get resources – human, capital, or other – to execute on your customer experience strategy.
So I was thrilled to get an email from Zarina de Ruiter, editor of CX Network, that included a whitepaper written by my friend, Ingrid Lindberg, founder and CXO of Chief Customer and
former Chief Customer Experience Officer for both Cigna and Prime Therapeutics. If anyone knows about executive commitment, it’s Ingrid; in this paper, she writes about seven key steps for customer experience leaders to take to gain senior management buy-in. I’ll highlight them for you, but be sure to get your hands on this report to get the details.
1. Start with understanding where the company needs to go
Yogi Berra was the one who said: If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else. That’s what we’re talking about here, i.e., creating a Future State Architecture Map that spells out the path to what you’re trying to achieve as a company.
2. Understand the lifetime value of your customers
Customer lifetime value helps you understand how and when a customer becomes profitable. Ingrid advises that if you correlate the projects you’re trying to fund to the profit of the company, i.e., using math, not passion, then people will listen.
3. Customer experience leaders don’t need to drive the actual projects
This is a big mistake. As a CX leader, you cannot, nor should you, do everything. Instead, you should be influencing others to do the work they are ultimately accountable for. This not only spreads accountability, but it also spreads the funding. And Ingrid notes that no CEO wants to give all the money for projects to just one person.
4. If you aren’t at the table, find sponsors
If you’re not on the executive team, find a champion who is. He or she may not have the data to support a transformation, but you as a customer experience professional likely have a lot. Work together to get what you need.
5. Find ways to tie the customer experience work into existing projects
Companies typically have dozens of projects going on at one time. These are opportunities to bring in the voice and the needs of the customer. Any new project or effort is a chance to do things right for the customer.
6. Tell an epic story
When you tell a story, you can really grab someone’s attention. Ingrid has learned that data are not always the answer; sometimes, telling an epic story is. Especially when you bring the story to life with real customer examples or real customers telling it.
7. Help the CEO understand the impact
Set expectations with your CEO. Let her know how long the improvement initiatives will take. And then let her know the impact on the customer and the business overall. The other side of this is to take advantage of your CEO’s competitive nature, letting her know what your key competitors are doing and how well they’ve fared as a result.
Take a look at the report for more details, plus find out about the five stages that customer experience (or any organizational) buy-in and transformation follow.
If your organization requires success before commitment, it will never have either. -Seth Godin