Brandigo’s Client Director and Toronto Office lead, Christian Klepp, attended a fascinating conference focussing on the future of the customer experience and what it means for companies. Here he reports back and offers his own insights.
Creating a Customer Experience (CX) Movement, and Why Everyone Should Care
It was the great American captain of industry and founder of the Ford Motor Company – Henry Ford – who once said: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success”. His wisdom and foresight are in many ways applicable to organizations across diverse industries in today’s fast-paced world. One such area where this would be relevant is that of customer experience, or CX.
I had the opportunity to attend an event on May 23rd that was hosted by the Customer Experience Professional Association (CXPA) in downtown Toronto. The event’s main theme focused on the importance of “Creating a CX Movement” within organizations, and the CXPA invited Lynn Hunsaker – a CX expert, Senior Advisor for ClearAction and a veteran in growth-generating customer-centered management – to discuss the subject, share her experiences, and provide advice on how we could implement the CX Movement in our own line of work. The session was not only insightful and engaging, but also allowed attendees to walk away with a lot of “food for thought”.
Let’s review the topic by going back to the typical questions that I’ve come across in my many years in the business: Why should employees who are not client-facing care about customers? Why does that suddenly become their job too? Isn’t that the responsibility of the salespeople?
While these concerns are all too familiar and understandable to a certain extent, they are in fact from a school of thought that is in dire need of an upgrade. Why? Because as professionals with different sets of skills and expertise – regardless of whether you are part of a large organization, a small-medium enterprise, or a one-man show – creating a good experience for our customers is vital to our existence.
But on to Lynn Hunsaker’s point: Why is it essential to create a CX Movement within any organization regardless of size? Why should you get the back-office people to care about what happens in the front lines?
Here are some of the arguments that speak in favor of getting everyone involved in CX:
- The big picture:Members of the team are not spare parts of a larger machine, but are rather the cast and crew of a product or service that is being presented to an audience. Like a play, the actors would be nothing without the scriptwriters, the costume designers, makeup artists, or the lights and sounds people. Each one has their role to play.
- Trust:Trusted employees who are empowered will have a sense of responsibility and ownership in their work, and will in turn learn to work as a team to make better decisions.
- Success:A CX Movement across the different functions in the organization will not only help to improve the customer experience, but will lead to success as well as team recognition.
- Teamwork:It forces people out of the “functioning in silos” mindset, and will encourage closer collaboration between different departments.
- The importance of customers:Another key factor is to make the team understand that customers are the lifeblood of any organization.
While the above arguments raise critical points in favor of a CX Movement, implementing such an initiative in any organization – big or small – is certainly easier said than done. How are you going to convince someone in an administrative role, a lab technician, the procurement team, or the quality control person that what they do matters to the customer?
The answer lies in a well thought-out approach, an implementation plan, a communications strategy that takes the respective target groups into consideration, a “tried and tested” methodology for monitoring results, gathering feedback, managing expectations, as well as adjusting aspects of the initiative where relevant. For example, someone in an engineering role could consider integrating CX into their product requirement specifications, or use the customer’s needs as an inspiration for innovation. For the HR person, they could include CX into staff training and as criteria for hiring, promoting, performance, as well as the development of candidates.
There are myriad ways in which one can weave CX into every facet of their organization. Like branding and marketing, an improved and better CX is no longer the sole task of one department, but rather the responsibility of the company as a whole. It is important for people to realize that everyone has a role to play in not only creating a better experience for the customer, but to also get that customer to continue working with you.
Think of the bigger picture, and begin implementing a CX Movement in your company through effective, relevant communication.