Is customer experience a passenger or a driver of your company’s corporate strategy bus? If you follow the money, the answer as it should be is obvious. Shareholders leave when customers leave — not the other way around. Follow the money. As the primary source of growth, customers’ ongoing relationship with your company must be every manager’s primary interest.
Companies that treat customer experience as a determinant of corporate strategy tend to have stronger business results than companies that treat customer experience as a subset or unrelated to corporate strategy*.
Get into the Driver’s Seat
Think about it: should competition or industry analysts or personal agendas trump customers as the driving force for all of your company’s strategies? Not if you follow the money. And at the end of the day, we all know that money trumps most everything. So help your executive team see this. Equip them with the right type of customer information that puts the horse before the cart. Put customer experience in the driver’s seat during your annual strategic planning, and quarterly reviews, performance reviews, and daily decision-making.
How to Shift Customer Experience into Drive
- Shift gears from neutral to “drive”: sync with strategic planning.
- Make customer relationship findings available a month before the planning cycle.
- Emphasize customer comments as prescriptive inputs to strategic planning.
- Tell operational stories via voice-of-the-customer to connect the dots for managers.
- Keep your hand on the steering wheel: sync with the C-team.
- Establish an executive sponsor among your company’s chief officers.
- Facilitate an in-depth C-team conversation to get everyone on the same CX page.
- Guide each C-team member to identify their contribution to the corporate CX goal.
- What is the company doing that is at odds with the CX goal and/or CX inputs?.
- Keep your eyes on the road: tie-in to corporate vision, mission or values.
- Rally everyone around a shared passion.
- Show how customer experience feedback ties into the shared passion.
- Show everyone how they can bring the shared passion to life by acting on CX inputs.
- Navigate to your destination: cascade strategies company-wide.
- For each managerial level, identify what their contribution is to the preceding level goal.
- Emphasize in your team’s performance what’s directly connected to the CEO’s radar.
- Roll-up achievements to successive managerial levels to track the corporate strategy.
- Monitor your dashboard: sync CX management.
- Adjust customer experience management to inform and contribute to strategy.
- Allow customers to give feedback in their own way, then translate to business needs.
- Track organizational engagement in moving the needle per C-team commitments.
Help everyone follow the money from both sides of the equation: size of opportunity for growth and size of opportunity for redirecting precious resources from things that are out of alignment with customer experience inputs.
Reinforce each manager’s customer experience stewardship as the third leg of the 3-legged stool for managerial responsibility, along with financial and people stewardship. Help people see this 3-legged stool as the cardinal rule of acceptable management. This will translate to daily decision-making in accordance with customer-centered corporate goals.
Get into the driver’s seat with customer experience management to differentiate your company more sustainably, to synchronize and streamline the many moving parts of your business, to save a lot of money, make a lot more money, and make employees, investors, and customers lives better.
*ClearAction’s Business-to-Business Customer Experience Best Practices Study.
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This is the second of a 3-article series explaining how to implement 3 top success factors for customer experience excellence with highest ROI.