Customer experience, as a field or discipline, is still pretty new in the grand scheme of things. While most companies understand the need for a CFO, most of them do not understand the need for a CCO (Chief Customer Officer). As professionals in the field continue to work diligently on changing that, here are some of the prevailing customer experience challenges:
1. The Chiefs Still Don’t Get It.
Some executive teams understand why superior customer experience is necessary for success, but many don’t understand how to implement it. In fact, one thing I hear over and over is “How do I get them to GET IT?”
The answers range from tying customer experience success with business metrics to telling compelling stories to help them humanize the business. No matter how you say it, it seems to remain an ongoing, uphill battle.
Keep the faith! I hear from executives almost every day who are becoming passionate about it and supporting CX within their organizations.
2. Employee Engagement is Critical.
Some of my favorite case studies showcase how key employees are brought into the customer experience journey.
One great example is how Fidelity Investments took 40 peer- and manager-nominated Customer Advocates to the Disney Institute to really get everyone on the same page on their goals around customer experience. I also appreciate how Diane Simmons, Vice President of Customer Experience at Fidelity, referred to this group as “the first class” of advocates.
Educating, graduating and deputizing customer advocates is a key part of really inserting customer experience into the very culture of any organization.
A famous three-year Gallup survey tells us that only 33% of the American workforce is properly engaged. Are your employees are among them?
3. Customer Experience as a Department is Both Too Big and Too Small.
Few companies employ even one customer experience executive, let alone a team dedicated to CX. Those with bigger teams run the risk of becoming responsible for, well, all of it. Everything touches the customer, right? So the leader of the CX team must be prepared to define roles and responsibilities in ways that mean saying yes and no.
It’s easy to earn the reputation of the “department of no” if you are defending your small team’s resources from requests like “rewrite this customer letter” and “follow up” with every single customer request. Many say their resources are just too limited. Proactive, thoughtful communication about what exactly the Customer Experience group is expected to do is critical.
4. Listening is not what we think.
There is no greater skill to any customer experience professional than the ability to listen.
Listening means gathering consistent feedback from customers, employees, the marketplace, sales leads… EVERYONE who interacts with your business. Listening also means providing actionable responses to feedback, then communicating about how that feedback is used.
Nothing is worse for a feedback program than having bad feedback with no actions to resolve the issues. It’s up to the customer experience change agents to really listen and then PREACH about how to address the issues. It’s up to us to keep talking about it, too, until it becomes ingrained in the culture the organization. Think you have said it enough? Then say it 100 more times.
I’m excited about where the CX industry is going.
But we still face many other challenges. What are some of the bigger challenges you face in leading your own customer experience initiative? Let’s discover new ways to overcome them together.
Join Us in London
Customer Experience World (formerly ECEW) returns to London on the 20th and 21st of May 2014. Join me and many other CX leaders from around the globe as we explore our theme: Being good to customers is good business. We will discuss the benefits of good customer experience including satisfied customers, increased sales and improvements in employee morale.