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#CXO chat recap: Sustaining customer experience change

Customer Experience Transformist & Vice President, Temkin Group, Temkin Group

When an organization sets out to become more customer-centric, lots of changes have to happen. Employees—from senior executives to the frontline—must change and adopt new behaviors and mindsets. Processes and technologies must change to reflect the company’s customer-centric desires. Large-scale change is not easy, but as the participants in our online discussion recognized, it can significantly impact the company’s business results:

  • “CX should keep firms relevant and deliver longer term value.” @MarcioOnTW
  • “If you satisfy the customer, you keep them longer, build word of mouth, and grow sales, revenues and profits.” @jameskobielus
  • “CX can ultimately determine whether a customer stays or goes to a competitor. The challenge is in understanding what CX is appropriate for your customers/targets and how to get there.” @tcrawford

What gets in the way of change efforts?

Temkin Group research shows that 57 percent of large companies want to deliver a best-in-class customer experience within three years, yet less than half of them feel their CX improvement efforts are effective. A number of things can impede progress towards the change vision including individual goals and objectives that aren’t aligned with the change, a lack of change skills among company leaders and the natural tension between short-term goals and the long-term vision. On top of that, the factors that influence an employee’s reaction to change are varied and complex, including personal characteristics, the perceived impact of the change and company culture. Twitter chat participants identified other obstacles including:

  • “Infrastructure, misguided confidence in comfortable habits, and just enough success.” @SJAbbott
  •  “Often c-suite can’t/don’t see alignment between CX change and bottom line << This impedes CX progress.” @Natasha_D_G
  • “Inability to connect customer data scattered across different systems, inside and outside organization hinders CX change.” @tmustacchio
  • “Every current CX, no matter how horrendous, has defenders. Many people simply resist change.” @jameskobielus

When it comes to driving and sustaining change, what does it take?

Through the course of our Twitter chat, the participants revealed it’s not one thing, but many things that make a change effort successful. Here is a sampling of what was shared during the discussion:

Leadership:

  • “…CX change in this context comes hand in hand with executive sponsorship. Without that, it’s sunk.” @ZacharyJeans
  • “You need an executive champion with CXO engagement to lead the different teams with CX exposure.” @tcrawford
  • “Executives must communicate, role model desired behaviors, and reinforce the change across the org.” @Aimee_Lucas

Middle managers and frontline

  • “Exec to lead/ok budget, senior mgmt. to provide plan, middle mgmt. to deploy, frontlines to build trust” @MichelFalcon
  • “…Middle management controls what gets done.” @MarcioOnTW
  • “Middle managers are in the best position to bring out the best in the members of their teams. Don’t overlook them! Managers must help employees see their personal contribution to company’s success with CX change.” @Aimee_Lucas
  • “Change agent for CX change may be frontline personnel who feel brunt of customer ire from today’s bad experience.” @jameskobielus
  • “Employees can inspire and influence their coworkers to ‘give it a try’ when others see peers succeeding.” @Aimee_Lucas

Recognition and incentives

  • “Create a sense of purpose. Employee reward, recognition, & empowerment based on the outcomes you want.” @MarcioOnTW
  • “Reward customer-focused ideas and success with public recognition. Showcase important behaviors/leadership within and without.” @CXAlchemy
  • “Intrinsic motivators facilitate “sticky” change…” @MarkOrlan
  • “Don't hold celebrations to the ‘end’ – sustain momentum with celebrations through the journey.” @Aimee_Lucas

Customer and employee feedback

  • “Let employees and customers co-create value with company and the outcomes will stick.” @MarcioOnTW
  • “Employees are a great source for ideas/feedback to define and refine change, handle obstacles.” @Aimee_Lucas
  • “Customer/Employee feedback should help to attribute specific employee actions to sustainable CX improvement.” @jameskobelius
  • “An impactful way to celebrate customer experience achievements is inviting customers to share their stories with employees.” @ValaAfshar

Commitment and persistence

  • “You may be proposing a CX change that some will resist til they see it in practice. Demos & pilots may be needed.” @jameskobielus
  • “Iteration is critical. Enhancing CX must be a never-ending iterative process.” @marksalke

This summary just scratches the surface of our rich conversation. If you want to learn more just follow #CXO on Twitter and join in the chat every Monday at 12 noon EST / 5 p.m. GMT.