Want Greater CX Success? Build Your CX Success Statement

by Jeannie Walters

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What Does CX Success Look Like in Your Organization?

“Our top CX goal is to create an all-around customer experience.”

Sure, this sounds nice… But when you really think about it, it doesn’t really say much, does it? Yet many leaders are given something like this to work with.

When we do this, we set our leaders up for failure.

So many CX initiatives start with good intentions from C-suite leaders, but a limited picture of what CX success truly means. How many of these have you heard?

  • “Let’s listen and respond to customers!”
  • “Let’s create WOW experiences!”
  • “Let’s do CX!”

To be clear: These are all great intentions to have and anyone saying things like this should be encouraged. But as anyone who’s been doing this work knows, customer experience requires so much more than great intentions.

In practice, customer experience is messy and complicated:

  • It requires leadership, vision, and strategy.
  • It requires process and discipline.
  • And, ultimately, it requires buy-in from everyone in the organization.

Related: To Master Customer Experience Strategy, Master CX Mindset

Make no small plans, my customer experience friends. We need to stir the hearts of many.

Use a CX Success Statement to Define What Customer Experience Success Means to You

What does customer experience success mean to you?

This is the question I ask when clients reach out and say they want to “do more around customer experience.”

How do we know when we’re successful?

Customer experience success is not a one-size-fits-all outcome, but rather a customized understanding of what success means for the organization, your leaders and your industry.

There’s been a lot of buzz about the need for more ROI in Customer Experience. This is true, but before we can measure ROI we must do a better job defining what success really is. It’s way too easy to say everything fits until the customer experience umbrella, which just sets CX leaders up for failure.

Take the time to define success with the CX Success Formula and help the rest of your organization understand what “doing customer experience” really is!

What Is a Customer Experience Success Statement?

At its heart, a CX Success Statement is simply a few sentences which define what CX success looks like in your organization.

A CX Success Statement identifies:

  • What specific outcomes will be most meaningful
  • How those specific outcomes tie back to larger organizational goals and leadership goals
  • The metrics you’ll use to measure success
  • The realistic parameters you’ll define success within.

To create your CX Statement, you’ll begin with a Success Formula. If you weren’t a fan of Algebra back in school, don’t worry — it’s simple:

Organizational Goals + Leadership Goals = Specific Outcomes

We’ll explore deeper definitions of what Organizational Goals and Leadership Goals are in a moment. The key thing to know is that by inputting Organizational Goals and Leadership goals into the formula, you can more easily identify that specific outcomes that will be most meaningful to your company and your customers.

Once we know these specific outcomes, you can identify realistic metrics to help you measure and report levels of success.

5 Steps to Create Your CX Success Statement

As you work to create your CX Success Statement, consider these five items.

1. Understand your organizational goals.

The best businesses know where they’re going. They understand that overall, each team leader is setting up their team goals to support the overall vision and strategy.

One company might be seeking to be “the number one choice” for their industry. Another might tout “delivering exceptional service, earning loyal customers and long-term growth.” These visions might not change year after year, but specific organizational goals might. 

What does that mean for customer experience? It means staying very connected to what those overall goals are.

What is most important to your organizational success? Understand the overall goals first. These goals will vary, based on the type of organization and what phase of business and CX maturity the organization is in.

  • A large enterprise company might be seeking increased market share.
  • A start-up is most likely focused on customer acquisition.
  • A company in a fast-growing stage might be focused on how to improve efficiencies in delivering the customer experience to improve customer sentiment and retention.

What’s an outcome that would mean the most? Start there.

Ask: What’s our overall vision and top goals as an organization?

2. Confirm your leadership goals.

In an ideal world, the leadership team would be on board with the organizational goals that are most important, as defined above.

But they are also individuals, with individual responsibilities and individual motivations. Sometimes they have one eye on the big goal and the other on their personal accountabilities.

Who is invested in the idea of customer experience on the leadership team? Who is NOT invested? It’s good to know both!

Watch for leaders who see customer experience as the solution to the problem-of-the-time. If you hear, “we’re getting too many complaints!” or “our reviews are terrible!” those are both short-term issues and not definitions of success.

Know where your leaders like the CEO, COO and CFO are coming from:

  • Are they motivated to cut costs?
  • Are they looking to beat the competition?
  • Maybe they’re earnestly looking to just show up in a better way for customers.

Work with your leaders to help align your CX goals with their goals. This means sharing how improving Net Promoter Scores (NPS) will lead to more referrals for that leader who is focused on more inbound sales. Or how improving the experience along the journey at critical Moments of Truth can mean increasing the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) for the leader who is focused on long-term growth.

All of these are legitimate goals. But they still don’t have a clear definition of what CX Success looks like.

Ask: What does each C-Suite leader see as their most important goals?

3. Look for the related outcomes.

Remember: Organizational Goals + Leadership Goals = Specific Outcomes.

Now that you know your Business Goals & Leadership Goals, you have to do the work of recognizing and following how they correlate.

Consider what you can track to understand success. If you don’t have a consistent customer feedback program yet, start with what you do have. And you won’t be able to align with every single leadership goal. It’s still important to understand what their focus is, because this can serve you long-term. But for your success definitions, stick to one or two key performance indicators that align with leadership goals.

Let’s look at an example. We’ll say:

  • An Organizational Goal is to earn 10% more of the market.
  • As for a Leadership Goal, your CEO is often heard saying this will happen “one customer at a time, because they refer us more customers!”

To balance the formula and determine your Specific Outcomes, brainstorm with your team was in which these goals correlate. In this example, you’ll want to design the experience for Specific Outcomes to: 

  • Increase customer happiness to increase the likelihood of referrals
  • Correlate increasing metrics (Net Promoter Score or Customer Satisfaction Rates or other custom metrics) with the goal of increasing referrals
  • Track customer churn rate to show how improving retention helps gain more of the market

Ask: Where is the overlap between our Organizational Goals and individual Leadership Goals? What Specific Outcomes support both goal types?

4. Choose Metrics to Measure

I’ll often hear questions like, “What metrics should we be using to measure CX Success?”

And I often reply with that common two-word answer, “it depends.”

Here’s what that answer really means: It depends on the Specific Outcomes you’ve set.

In our earlier example, the metrics we’d want to start with are indicators of happiness, referrals and retention.

Other trackable indicators might include:

  • Sales numbers – while not necessarily a CX metric on its own, your leaders will most likely be paying close attention. When they dip or spike, those will have an effect on the metrics you are using to define success.
  • Complaints – More inbound contact center requests could indicate something is amiss. These can often be tracked on a more regular basis, so a few days of increased calls or more time per call could be an early warning sign.
  • Customer reviews – Just like inbound calls, public customer reviews can spike in both positive or negative ways. Keep an eye on what customers are saying publicly. A “bad day” might be an indicator of a broken part of the customer journey.
  • And others specific to the experience provided. Does your marketing organization provide content to capture leads? What about upgrades or renewals? Is your customer base active on social media? Do you have ways to track customer sentiment?

There are lots of ways to examine what data you have available. Determine what will give the best insights around meeting those organizational and leadership goals.

Related: How to Pitch New CX Initiatives and Overcome Objections from Leaders

What is the customer experience data that will help you identify if your experience is succeeding or not against these goals? There are some that are easier to find out than others, but in most circumstances, a little research can lead to understanding. There is probably data available that can provide insights into indicators immediately. (Say that 3 times fast!)

Ask: What is a way to track success around what’s most important to achieve our organizational goals AND our leadership goals? (Use our SMIRC Framework to help define your specific goals for customer experience!)

5. Define success based on reality

Building your CX Success Statement can genuinely be an incredibly exciting exercise. Sometimes that excitement can make it easy to lose track of reality.

While I’m all for dreaming big, ignoring reality can be dangerous!

Your leaders might be cynical from other customer experience initiatives that weren’t ever set up for success. Set your organization up for success by making sure:

  • Goals are attainable and start small. You can always add on later.
  • Metrics are measurable using data you have access to. It’s ok — better, even — to start with what you have.
  • Your company may have a deep legacy of NOT caring about customers or thinking beyond short-term profits. Address real challenges like these instead of expecting your brand culture to change overnight.

Customer experience success is hard to define because there is not necessarily a baseline. Is your customer experience program just launching? Is this something new to a well-established company that’s never considered this before?

Share your CX Success Statement with an eye toward the future, but awareness of the past. Has customer experience been defined in short-term or nebulous ways?

Your leaders might be thinking success is fixing customer issues as they pop up, in an ad-hoc way. Another leader might think CX success is all about improving the customer feedback metrics, like Customer Satisfaction or Net Promoter Score. Your team might think success is creating a customer journey map.

Address these issues directly. Explain what CX success really looks like, and what that will mean for your customers, your employees and your overall organization. Take the time to explain why there are limitations. Your team might not have the resources to address everything desired. Instead of saying why you can’t, explain what it would take if you could. Then take the time to highlight why you’re prioritizing the goals you have.

Ask: Are our goals and outcomes rooted in reality? Are there obstacles or limiting factors that need to be addressed? Are we setting ourselves up for success?

Ready? Let’s Build Your CX Success Statement Together.

CX Success Statement Workbook Preview

A CX Success Statement isn’t just an idea in theory, it’s a tangible, actionable document that defines how success will be measured and inspires achieving those metrics. A CX Success Statement can guide your actions and keep your whole organization — including leadership — bought in and pulling in the same direction.

To help, I’ve created a CX Success Statement Workbook for you.

With five interactive, guided fill-in-the-blank sections, by the time you’ve reached the end you’ll have your very own CX Success Statement — and a lot more clarity, too.

Get your copy of the workbook here.

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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, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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