Happy CX Day 2021! How to be a Change Agent at Your Organization

by Jeannie Walters

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What Does a Customer Experience Professional Do?

Customer experience professionals have many different titles and many different job descriptions.

  • There are CX leaders who focus primarily on customer insights, like Voice of the Customer programs.
  • And there are CX teams dedicated to customer journey design and improvements.
  • There are CX leaders who have titles like Customer Success Manager and Contact Center Supervisor.

And then there are those leaders who don’t even have CX in their title, like Chief Marketing Officer or Employee Engagement Director. There are leaders who are engineers, writers, designers, and account managers. 

The common thread among all these leaders? They are change agents.

They are looking for ways to include the customer in everything they do. They are activating others to care about customer experience in bigger ways. 

Maybe you’re not sure where to start because of your title or job description. Anyone – yes, anyone – can be a customer experience change agent in their organization. It sometimes means starting small, but if you can find ways to connect with a few other change agents across the organization, that’s when things can build momentum.

Here are a few ideas to create change on behalf of your customers, no matter your title or position.

4 Ways to be a CX Change Agent at Your Organization

1. Take a walk in the customer’s shoes

I’d like to first point out this is more challenging than we typically think it is. It takes real time, focus and humility! But if you’re not seeing the customer’s perspective in the way processes and experiences are designed for customers, then this is a great place to start. 

Consider the customer’s real experience, not the one you might assume they have based on internal process maps or system flow charts.

If it’s too much to understand the entire journey, then start small. Start with one part of the journey you know is challenging for customers. Or start with the part of the journey you understand the best.

The point is to start somewhere.

Once you have an understanding of what is challenging, then consider what needs to be done. That’s when you can start socializing and sharing your findings to get buy-in from other leaders and to turn the research into action.

Creating a journey map is a helpful way to share and socialize what you learn here. But it’s not the only way. Storyboards and storytelling can be very helpful if you have an opportunity to present findings. 

Related:
[Article] An Introduction to Customer Journey Storyboarding
[Free Resource] Get the Customer Journey Storyboarding Template

To get others inside the organization to really understand the points of friction for customers, create a way for them to experience those pain points themselves. Get creative! 

  • Build a customer room. This can be in-person or virtual. We once set up a virtual journey complete with waiting on hold opportunities and frustrating communications via email. The executives got the point and invested in the overall customer experience.
  • Share the literal voice of the customer. Listen in a contact center or get recordings to share. Nothing moves the soul quite like hearing a customer emotionally share how a point of friction along their customer journey has ruined their day, or more.
  • Highlight the differences between what SHOULD happen and what’s actually happening for customers. This can be done by layering customer journey maps on to process maps. Sometimes this type of comparison is what leaders need to see to understand the customer’s reality.

2. Check out the Competitors

Competitive benchmarking is another way to understand customer expectations. This can be a combination of observation and a more scientific approach of a features gap analysis, for example.

Crucially, it means you examine the experience from the customer’s perspective, point out where competitors are gaining or lacking, and usually get inspired by something “missing” from everyone.

This leads to innovation and better experiences for customers. 

It can be easy to feel like you have to cover everything, but just a simple analysis can shed some light on what expectations are being set for customers in your industry.

The expectations they have are based on not just what you offer, but what the market offers in general. Keeping up with those expectations is a key part of delivering great customer experiences.

3. Keep your finger on the pulse of social media, user reviews, and customer questions

Customers will say a lot about your brand, but you have to be listening in the right places. Social media is a great place to check out what’s going right and not-so-right with your customer’s journey. 

Get to know the leaders who communicate directly with customers in the contact center and those who monitor social media. The contact center agents hear questions that might not be part of the FAQ’s and the social media leaders hear both praise and criticism daily. 

Connect with them and listen on your own to make sure the story you are sharing about customers inside your organization is including an honest representation of what it’s really like for customers. 

4. Train and communicate with as many teams as you can

Every single team in an organization needs to understand what customer experience is, how you define success, and what they can do to make things better for customers.

If you are the change agent, then don’t be shy!

  • Create a “lunch and learn” presentation about the customer’s journey or offer a roundtable discussion so everyone can engage.
  • Ask leaders to present their ideas.
  • Bring in outside experts on data analysis, customer communications, and other “hot topics” to attract attention.

Organize educational events with speakers from both inside and outside the organization focused on customer experience. Challenge attendees to participate in some ways beyond the events. Have contests, awards and peer recognition to encourage positive actions around improving the customer experience.

As a change agent, you’re making a positive impact for customers and your organization

You are making a difference in just caring about customer experience in real ways that impact the customer.

  • Acknowledge what you can do – and in some cases what you can’t – to set realistic expectations.
  • Build those relationships to partner with other leaders to make a bigger impact.
  • And understand that baby steps lead to big things. 

Thank you for making your customer’s experience a better one!

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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