I’ve written many times over the years about change, including posts on change management, change vision, change fatigue, and more. Obviously, all of this is important to any customer experience strategy, as we know that customer experience management is really change management.

I’ve also written a series of posts this year to address lessons learned with regard to changes businesses made due to the pandemic, including one about great change being preceded by chaos.

As conversations have come about over the last several weeks and months that questioned the “new normal” or the “next normal” for customer experience professionals, for employees, and for customers, I kept going back to what I said in the chaos post about how change truly is possible, especially when your business/life depends on it. Brands pivoted from making cars to ventilators or making sportswear to masks; they moved employees from the office to fully remote in a matter of 48 hours; and digital transformation and adoption advanced five years in a matter of eight weeks.

That, in turn, got me thinking about John Kotter’s change management process and the eight steps comprising it, especially the first step: create a sense of urgency. (I realize that in order to create that sense of urgency, you need to ensure that your organization isn’t bound by a culture of complacency, where business as usual is “good enough.”)

Of course, during a pandemic or during a crisis, it’s easy to identify, to create, and to communicate that sense of urgency. But why does it take a crisis to move people and businesses, to cause them to want or need to change? Why aren’t these companies wanting to innovate and stay ahead of the game in times when there is no crisis? Why did digital transformations leap forward five years in a matter of eight weeks when brands should have been deep into their digital transformation work already?

It’s time to create a sense of urgency around your business, to get business leaders motivated ASAP about the customer experience. Remember, you are in business for the customer – it’s all about the customer! When companies look at acquisition numbers but not at retention numbers, there’s a major missed opportunity that will turn into an urgent situation sooner rather than later. Perhaps when it’s too late.

Keep your finger on the pulse. Listen to customers, employees, and the marketplace.

  • Expectations change. What delights customers today may not delight tomorrow. It’s important to always keep your pulse on changing customer needs.
  • Customers change. Old ones go, new ones come along. New ones may have different problems they are trying to solve or jobs to be done.
  • Customer needs, desires, and expectations change. As long as that’s happening – and I don’t see that every changing – there’s no resting on laurels.
  • The business changes. New products are launched. Acquisitions are made. Growth happens.
  • New competitors enter the marketplace, and industry trends emerge.
  • Weak signals become strong signals.

What other data (not surveys and feedback) do you have that will highlight these scenarios for business leaders? How else can you tell this story?

How will each of these scenarios affect your employees, your customers, your business, your desired outcomes?

Uncovering any of the above scenarios and learnings helps you create that sense of urgency that is required to start any type of change initiative or overall transformation. Don’t get bogged down in analysis paralysis or dismiss these as insignificant events or occurrences. These windows of opportunities open quickly (quicker now than ever before), so you’ve got to be tapped into them in order to thrive, stay ahead of your competitors, and survive.

I published my first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business) almost a year ago. In it, you will find ways to uncover those scenarios and to operationalize your findings.

Move fast. A sense of urgency is the one thing you can develop that will separate you from everyone else. When you get a good idea, do it now. -Brian Tracy

Annette Franz, CCXP is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. She recently published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.