I remember when my first son was born –my husband and I returned from the hospital after the nurses took care of the baby for about 3 days. We entered our home with the baby still in the infant seat, put him on the carpet in the middle of the living room and collapsed to the couches looking at each other thinking the same thing: “what do we do with him now?…”
I think that organizations (or more precisely, the managers that lead CX) that have already decided to move forward and improve their CX, are feeling the same: you probably know where to start – with the customer journey mapping and design, of course. The thing is that once this focused effort is completed, you might feel clueless about how to proceed. The only thing that you know for sure, is that you have your hands full of work with improvement opportunities, people, process and technology projects, and with the need to facilitate coordination between all of them.
So here are some ways to move forward from day 1:
- Build a CX Lab – for me the most important thing you should always remember and communicate to the organization, is that CX is an experimental process. You will have many things to improve, but you will not always know which ones will bring the greatest improvement. Some of the initiatives will not work, or will not perform the way you expected. This is why you should keep testing them in a small scale, understand the impact they have, make necessary improvements and only after that, do the roll out in the organization. Keep having many initiatives and not only “big projects”. Be willing to make mistakes (be sure to set expectations with the management that they will happen), as long as they are in a small and controlled environment.
- Alignment and sponsorship – the chicken and egg dilemma – alignment and sponsorship are keys to success. You would expect to have sponsorship first, and this will enable the organizational alignment. The thing is, that sometimes you have to work on getting the sponsorship. I often find myself in organizations that the desire and enthusiasm to improve the CX was not born from the top executives. On the contrary, you need to persuade them about the importance and urgency of investing in that domain (it needs another post to discuss why something so obvious needs so much persuasion…) but as I learned, aligning the relevant managers and employees from different functions in the organization will bring you the power to earn the sponsorship – executives are much more into change initiatives, once they see managers from different parts of the organization coming together and soliciting for the initiative.
- Bring the analytic capabilities to the CX team – analytics gives you great power – the amount of insight you can gain from data (VOC data, transactional data and customer profile data) will sharpen your improvement opportunities. But it’s not about sitting in the ivory tower analyzing information. In order to really learn and understand the root causes, you need to get out there, listen to customers and employees and getting to the bottom of the phenomena you see in the data. If you don’t have the analytics capabilities and tools in place – buy them outside, or start building them inside. In any case, keep learning your customers and pinpoint your solutions around their needs and actual experiences.
- Define the success measures and implement a closed loop improvement process – CX improvement is a process, not a project. However, you must define in advance, for yourself and for your managers and top executives, what you are aiming to gain from each initiative and from the sum of the improvement efforts as a whole. The results that you measure will drive further improvement.
- Keep doing the journey mapping – CX journey mapping usually starts with 1-2 customer segment/personas/products/lifestages. You can’t and shouldn’t try to do all. But this is an ongoing process and you should have a plan to gradually move forward by mapping and designing more journeys for more customers. And that’s the beauty of CX – Work will never end – the need for continuous improvement will always be there.
And what about my son? Well of course we got the hang of it! And improved as parents with each day passing. Obviously we also had our share of mistakes (we didn’t have any previous experience as parents…). Nowadays he is 15 years old, and has 3 more siblings. It seems that once we got the hang of it, and improved, we wanted to do this more.
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