10 Rules for Customer Experience Transformation

“If you want exceptional results, you need to deliver exceptional experiences.” So says Lior Arussy, president of Strativity Group.

This applies to marketing as much as it does to other customer-facing teams, such as customer service and sales. In fact, customer experience (CX) often starts with the customer journey, Arussy told the audience at the CXPA’s New York Local Networking Event on February 6. And marketing is integral to moving customers along that journey.

But as Arussy pointed out, “no one needs customer experience for the sake of customer experience; they need a financial driver.” He asked attendees to determine what the driver is for their organization. “What’s the real issue, where do I start, and how does it connect to financials?” he asked.

CX today, Arussy noted, should be strategic, driven by the CEO, designed to drive the business, branded, organizationwide, and transformational. And if it’s not going to be those things, then don’t bother focusing on it. “We’re living in a new world of exceptional or nothing,” he said. “This is what customers expect and what we need to deliver.”

For companies that plan to rethink or reinvent their customer experience, including the many elements of marketing that influence it, Arussy outlined 10 rules to help ensure their CX success:

Rule 1: Know why you’re focusing on the customer experience. What’s the financial driver? What money are you leaving on the table by not improving the customer experience? Business leaders need to define CX as a value proposition. Talking financials changes the conversation.

Rule 2: Create an exciting vision. CX isn’t customer service. It’s not the fix-it department. It’s about delivering exceptional experiences at every touchpoint. So paint a vision that employees want to be a part of. And clearly articulate the full scope of the transformation.

Rule 3: Develop a CX discipline and supporting skill set. Enthusiasm is not enough to get you past “random acts of customer experience.” Develop a comprehensive long-term plan, recognize the available skill set in the organization, develop those skills in others, and appoint ambassadors to maintain the momentum.

Rule 4: Integrate with other initiatives. CX shouldn’t complete with other ongoing initiatives like customer engagement, leadership, and innovation. CX complements them, so identify mutual agendas and linkages. “All of these initiatives are about creating a stronger organization that delivers exceptional value to customers,” Arussy said.

Rule 5: Design measurements with impact. Develop metrics that will have consequences and that are clearly connected to customer-related measurements. Metrics that are siloed means no one is accountable to the customer measures. And, of course, develop accountability processes.

Rule #6: Unify customer information. Break down customer data silos to enable better decision making. The more holistic the view of the data, the smarter—and more fact-based—that decisions will be.

Rule #7: Create a sustainable customer-centric culture. “The number one enemy in your organization is the people who think you’re doing customer experience already,” Arussy said. According to a Strativity study, 76% of employees said, “I often go above and beyond,” but only 26% of their customers agreed.  To change the mind-set, focus on the impact of CX on customers and on business performance, and create a clear line of site that connect each employee’s role to the customer experience.

Rule #8: Activate your number one asset. CEO involvement is not optional. The CEO is the only one who can break down silos and approve the budget required for real transformation. “CX is a strategy for growth, not the initiative of the day,” Arussy said.

Rule #9: Put people ahead of products. “Are you in the people business that happens to have processes and products, or are you in the product business?” Arussy asked. “Only people can exceed customers’ expectations and surprise and delight them.” Products and processes are too easily copied, but human interactions are unique.

Rule #10: Appoint everyone to be in charge. Avoid complete centralization of your CX efforts; every employee should have a stake in the customer experience. CX leaders should provide the training and tools to empower employees to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Bonus: Celebrate big and often. Demonstrate what you can do in your organization, loudly. Recognize early CX adopters and ambassadors in a big way.

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