❔"How do we get leadership or executive sponsorship for CX initiatives that we want to tackle?" ❔
This is an AMAZING QUESTION! And a Jeannie favorite. The key to this answer is leadership buy-in.
As a Customer Experience Leader, we know that investing in and executing customer experience is a winning strategy for business goals and objectives. But if company leadership isn't invested, all of our efforts can seem like they aren't working.
In this week's episode, Jeannie talks about actionable ways that you can speak to your business leaders about customer experience, tips for getting them to buy-in and ways you can help achieve your business goals at your company. Remember, we're all in this together!
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Experience Action. Let's stop just talking about customer experience, employee experience and the experience of leaders. Let's turn ideas into action. Your host, Jeannie Walters, is an award winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker. And founder of Experience Investigators, a strategic consulting firm, helping companies increase sales and customer retention through elevated customer experiences. Ready, set, action.Jeannie Walters:
Hi there. Welcome to Experience Action. I am Jeannie Walters, and we are going to answer your questions. We have a special voice box set up. Check it out at speakpipe. com slash experience action, where you can leave your own voicemail for me and I will answer it. But I'm so excited because we already have a great question that came in. Let's go ahead and listen.Listener Question:
Just wanted to get your thoughts or your advice on how we get leadership or executive, uh, sponsorship for customer experience initiatives we want to tackle. We have a lot of people who believe in it, many of whom are close to the customer in our organization. We would like to start being more intentional, more formal about our customer experience work. We are needing some support from the leaders of our organization and would love to kind of hear your advice on how we can get them to prioritize and support what we want to do.Jeannie Walters:
This is one of the most important factors in customer experience success. I love this question. So really when we're talking about how do you move from kind of just talking about experience to really making sure that customer experience is a priority at your organization. So, so, so much of that is about leadership buy in. Now we have a saying at my organization, Experience Investigators, where we joke about the fact that we only work with enlightened leaders. And the reason we say that is because without that leadership buy in, we're really kind of lost. We can do a lot of great work, we can find a lot of great things. But if the leaders aren't invested enough to take the right action and to bring in the right resources to really make sure that they can put in the effort needed in order to get the results that they're looking for, then it can feel like it's all for naught. And I know that this isn't just for us. This happens within organizations, too. So if you're like our caller today, then you probably have run into this too, where you care about customers. You want to make a difference and you don't see leadership buying in. First of all, let's make a distinction. When we are talking about customer experience, that is happening whether or not you talk about it, whether or not you invest in it. Your brand is providing a customer experience and your customers are creating perceptions based on those experiences. You don't have to even say the words customer experience for that to be true. However, inside the organization, we're talking about customer experience management, customer experience strategy. Really, this is about leadership. This is about priorities. Now, the great thing is, if you invest in this and do this well, It's a totally winning strategy. This has been proven again and again and again. So if you do this well, if you invest in the right places and provide the right experience for your customers, they will reward you with higher customer lifetime value, with higher retention rates, with less customer churn, with more share of wallet. All of the things that business people talk about wanting, this is the strategy. So, saying all that, sometimes what happens is we start at this level where some leaders get it and some don't. Maybe our caller today was really talking about the fact that, yes, some people in the organization were trying, but we can only go so far because the leaders aren't invested. So there are a couple things to really start asking. And the first one is... Are you tying the business results to your customer experience efforts? And what I mean by that is if you are only talking about feedback metrics, for instance, I see this a lot where I'll say, okay, what are you doing for your customer experience strategy? And some leader will say, oh, it's really great. We're doing surveys once a month. We have transactional surveys at the end of every customer support call. Meaning that they're collecting a lot of data. And then they say, Oh, and then we report out and we send the report once a month. And I say, that's fabulous. So what, what happens when you send the report out? Who, who does what after that? And they say, well, then we do it again and again and again. The act of collecting feedback is actually not customer experience management. That's a tool in your toolkit so that you can take the right action. So when you're talking about customer experience, make sure you are tying that to business results. So when you are moving through this evolution to get the buy in that you need, identify where customer experience investments have created real returns. And so sometimes this is very low tech. Sometimes this is about one team in the beginning. So for instance, if the contact center said, you know what, we invested in training and in software and in all of these things to reduce customer wait time. And guess what? We were able to reduce customer wait time to 50 percent less. And with that, what you're saying is we were able to reduce expenses, but you have to say those words. Don't just talk about metrics, talk about what the metrics are doing for you. So that's number one. Number two is create cross functional goals, create cross team goals. And what I mean by that is when you are sometimes in the beginning of this, it can feel like you're all on your own. But if you start looking around and thinking about, okay, who influences the part of the customer journey that your team is responsible for? And can you reach out to them and say, hey, can we work on this together? Can we make sure that we're providing the best experience for our customers together? And can we set some accountability around that? And one of my favorite examples of this was in 2020, we all saw what happened when those supply chain disruptions happened and that had a major impact on customer experience, but some of the best customer experience leaders actually reached out and said, "Hey, supply chain folks. We need to work together on this because the more information I have, I can be proactive with my customers." Guess what that will do? That will reduce complaints. That will increase the number of people who are willing to wait for a product rather than hit cancel on it. And all of these other things. It also says to the supply chain people, we don't have to wait until the 11th hour. Don't feel like we're going to blame you for this. We're all in this together. Let's figure out what's best for the customer. And if you can reach across the organization like that and start setting goals and accountabilities around that, you'll start seeing outcomes that then again, you can translate into those business results and you can say, we did this and this is how it worked. Communication is another huge, huge part of this. So when you are having these wins, when you are seeing things that are working, we need to really celebrate that. I'm talking like parties, I'm talking getting on the rooftops and yelling about it and really highlighting what it did for the business. So instead of just talking about your net promoter score going up and down or specific metrics, what you want to say is what this will do is lead to higher employee retention, higher customer retention, higher customer lifetime value. This could translate into... and then do some back of the napkin math and say, Hey, if we retain 1 percent more of our customers per year. What does that really mean financially for our organization and, and talk about it. We have to talk about it. I think sometimes customer experience leaders get shoved into this role where they are basically told to just think about the customer and say nice things. But we are business strategists. And that's what I want you to really think about. And position yourselves as because ultimately what you want to do is have a cross functional leadership team that is helping you guide your customer experience strategy and then prioritize based on the aligned goals around that. Because, otherwise, you're going to have departments who are fighting over resources investment. And if it's not aligned around that customer experience strategy, honestly, I think the customer loses. No matter what. So if you're looking for tools around these things, one of the things I'd recommend is our CX Charter Workbook. I also would say that if you are looking for how to move forward in a way that won't step on toes, this is an exercise in diplomacy. And sometimes that means lots of one on ones, really making sure that you understand that other leader and their goals as you present why you think this requires more buy in from them. So speak like a business leader, make sure that you are connecting business outcomes to customer experience efforts. Make sure you are working cross functionally and really respecting the other leaders in your organization. And then finally, make sure you're communicating in a way that is powerful, positive, and proactive. So you want to talk about what these efforts will do for your organization or what they're already doing and celebrate that. Great great question. Thank you so much for asking and I want to remind all of you listening, ask your own question at speakpipe. com slash experience action. To learn more about our strategic approach to experience. Check out free resources at experienceinvestigators. com, where you can sign up for our newsletter, our Year of CX program, and more. And please follow me, Jeannie Walters, on LinkedIn. Thank you so much for joining us today. And don't just talk about customer experience, act on it. See you next week.