Customer Experience Transformation Through Proactive Engagement
“Employee engagement drives transformational changes that enable you to have quality in everything you do,” explained Carolyn Muise, Vice President of Total Customer Experience (TCE) at EMC. In our interview on my Customer Experience Transformation talk show, she continued: “We’re shifting from reactive to proactive mode. By looking at things from an end-to-end perspective, we have more context and insight that gives us credibility to drive cultural transformation. We’ve had double-digit increases in our net promoter score since we’ve transformed our program in 2013.” (I’m adding my views to Carolyn’s, to emphasize the best practices that she described.)
My view: The more holistic your practices of customer experience (CX) management, the more value you create for customers, employees, and shareholders. Holistic refers to the entire customer lifecycle, the entire process from voice-of-the-customer to transformation to loyalty-building, and the entire company engaged in concerted passion for customers’ well-being. By taking baby steps holistically, you’ll get a lot further than specializing in nooks and crannies.
Proactive Engagement through the Business Readiness Board
“In the early days, we used to engineer a product and then say: that’s marketing’s problem, let them go to market, then we’d sell it, then we’d service it. If a customer experienced a glitch, we would put all hands on deck and send out the forces. But that’s a high-touch model, it’s expensive. Today that doesn’t happen. The TCE team sits on the Business Readiness Board for product launches. We get to talk about the launch criteria and the commitment sheets, which makes a 180-degree difference. It’s a huge cultural transformation that has to continue to take place.”
My view: Move CX management efforts upstream in the organization to the earliest areas in the internal value-chain: suppliers, engineering, manufacturing and the support functions. These are the places where primary value is created or primary issues are originated. Get ahead of the processes, to prevent recurrence of issues and to anticipate and prevent issues in the first place: get it right the first time.
Proactive Engagement through Internal Marketing
“Within the TCE organization, we have internal marketing communications supporting us. We are providing intelligent insight as collateral, a quarterly one-page dashboard to our go-to-market teams so they can have conversations based on intelligence that we are hearing from our customers and partners. As we continue to enhance our tools and our infrastructure capability, we want it to be real-time, point and click, for go-to-market teams’ self-service.”
My view: Think of your internal stakeholders’ needs carefully and make it easy for them to act on CX insights. Talk to your stakeholders often, experience their work environment, ask what their wildest dreams would be for using CX insights, help them see the ripple effects of their role, and tailor your deliverables accordingly.
Proactive Engagement through Executive Sponsorship
“Executive sponsorship has been integral to globally reach the business leadership. Without it, this program would have collapsed in the last two years. You need executive sponsorship to gain traction; initially, it’s tough to overcome all the forces in-play even with that. So you have to really have a vision and strategy, and you have to prove small wins along the way in order for it to gain more adoption.”
My view: Start with C-team backing, don’t assume the C-team is singing from the same hymnal or equipped to walk the talk. The C-team should do some introspection about things that support or are at odds with CX goals. And they should think big: don’t let them relegate the goals to post-sales or pre-sales. Give them tools to be effective executive sponsors.
Proactive Engagement through Data Governance
“In 2014 we were given responsibility for data governance, transferred from IT into TCE, so we now have data quality as part of our TCE vision and strategy. For everything we do, we drive the capability into our IT. There were disparate data sets, and what we’re doing today is consolidating them and providing end-to-end insight.”
This gives them flexibility to tailor reports, and to allow requests. “If they want to see the pipeline, we can now look at that data against a specific customer. We couldn’t do that before because that data was in Sales, and Engineering had the availability and reliability data, and Services had the satisfaction data, and revenue data was in another place. Now we can slice and dice the data specific to the internal functional areas. We’re getting tighter and tighter aligned with those functions because of our insights and recommendations based on end-to-end customer feedback.”
My view: Establish collaboration with every functional area: IT, HR, finance, quality, service, engineering, manufacturing, and so on – nobody is exempt from having a snowball effect on customers’ well-being. Bridging silos of data, systems, policies, processes, products, organizations and mindsets is essential because the CX journey is horizontal across these groups.
Proactive engagement internally is the key to proactive engagement externally. Be holistic, preventive, actionable, strategic, collaborative, intelligent, and embraced in your customer experience strategy, and you’ll see growth-building transformations on many dimensions.
This article is part of a series in the Optimizing Business-to-Business Customer Experience monthly column on CustomerThink.