What would success look like in a year? Let’s imagine a year from today…
- Customers are happier than they’ve ever been, and you know that because their feedback shows it
- Employees are engaged in not just the idea of customer experience, but in their role as an important part of it
- Leaders are working closely across the organization for the goals around a seamless, constantly improving customer journey
- Sales are up thanks to referrals and positive word-of-mouth marketing
- Service costs are down, thanks to fewer issues and more efficiencies from supply chain management to first issue resolution!
Overall, customer experience is no longer just talk at your organization. Customer experience (CX) is seen as not just a department or idea, but the WAY you do business.
How did this happen?
It started with a plan – including immediate foundational steps to take, evolutionary growth, and longer-term strategies for continued success.
What did that plan look like? For many successful organizations, it looks like the one we’ll outline below. It’s my sincere goal that these concepts – along with the videos and additional resources provided in this article – can serve as a springboard to your Customer Experience success.
So come with me to the future, and let’s “recap” what made your year so successful.
As a CX leader, you were able to establish a strong foundation for success in the first few months of the year.
1. You started by defining what customer experience success meant to your organization.
You understood your Customer Experience Mission and created a statement to share throughout the organization.
This mission is WHY you do what you do. It’s about the promise of your organization. How can you show up for customers no matter what?
It’s not about the product or service you offer. It’s about who you are as an organization and who you need to be for your customers to live their best lives.
[Guide] CX Mission Statement Workbook
[Article] Why a CX Mission Statement Matters — And How to Create One
[Audio] Experience Action Podcast EP 6 – Defining Customer Experience
2. You had clear goals and knew how to measure them.
You knew it wouldn’t be enough to set “great customer experience” as a goal. Instead, you created goals that followed the SMIRC methodology:
You made these goals part of your Customer Experience Success Statement , which helped those in your organization understand not only know what’s most important for the year, but also how to communicate and measure that success.
This meant starting or reinforcing a strong Voice of the Customer (VoC) program , including specific ways to gather customer feedback, like regular surveys, in-app feedback mechanisms, and ongoing input. You began measuring feedback using quantitative data as well as gathering open-ended feedback.
You also included less structured measurements, like what customers were telling you in user reviews. You asked your frontline teams, like customer service agents and customer success managers, about what they were hearing directly from customers.
Beyond just collecting feedback, you worked to begin understanding the correlations between customer feedback and larger companywide metrics that matter, and closed the loop with customers to help them know their feedback was valuable and meaningful.
[Guide] SMIRC Goals checklist
[Guide] Customer Listening Assessment Guidebook
[Article] Use SMIRC Goals to Define Customer Experience Outcomes
[Article] Creating a Voice of the Customer Program: Don’t Miss These 5 Steps Before Starting
[Article] Improving your Voice of the Customer listening posts? Ask these questions
3. You clearly aligned your CX goals with what was most important to your organizational leadership.
Across departments, you learned about their unique obstacles and objectives, then helped them understand how CX could help them overcome those obstacles and achieve those objectives.
- You showed your sales leaders how their numbers were directly tied to a stronger customer experience for all customers.
- You partnered with your financial team to determine what revenue could be tied to improved CX metrics.
- You worked hand in hand with the product team on their future roadmap to better align with customer needs and share with them the results of their hard work.
Leaders started seeing how their goals were supported by a stronger customer experience.
[Article] Is Customer Experience Worth It? And How Much Should You Invest?
As the months moved on, you used these goals and clear measurements to continue to build strong coalitions with other leaders in your organization.
You did this through formal and informal communication strategies. You also helped evangelize customer experience throughout the organization – way beyond those who considered themselves in customer-serving roles.
4. You helped other leaders communicate how their team goals were connected to CX success.
You were sure to communicate when the actions made an impact on the customer experience, and closed the loop inside the organization so leaders saw the connections between their actions.
In other words, you weren’t afraid to celebrate the quick wins and small victories. They lead to big things!
You identified your ambassadors and your skeptics and worked to increase the number of ambassadors. You asked leaders for ideas and insights and feedback to improve the customer experience.
You may have even created a CX champion program which invites specific team members to represent the customer among their teams.
[Guide] CX Success Statement Workbook
[Article] Want Greater CX Success? Build Your CX Success Statement
5. You leveraged customer journey mapping and invited various leaders to participate.
These interactive customer journey mapping sessions allowed different teams to understand the customer’s true journey.
- You invited customers to co-create and validate what you learned.
- You created action plans to improve the journey after finding insights.
- You taught others the best practices around journey mapping so they could use this tool for smaller journeys or team-specific issues.
Journey mapping led to improved communication between teams who understood how siloes created challenges for customers.
[Guide] Customer Journey Mapping Workbook
[Guide] Interactive Customer Journey Map Template Spreadsheet
[Article] Why Journey Map? 3 Problems They Can Solve
[Article] Customer Journey Mapping: Real-World Examples & Use Cases
6. You created communication strategies to include customer experience ideas on a regular basis.
You created clear channels of communication — with both customers and employees, flowing both directions.
- Maybe you worked with your internal communications team to provide a cadence of customer stories so everyone in the organization stayed connected to the humans served.
- You gathered videos and recordings to help share the customer’s actual voice as part of the storytelling.
- You celebrated individual employees and teams who delivered on the customer experience mission, which is quickly becoming part of the organizational DNA.
[Article] Communicating CX: 12 Tips for Talking About Customer Experience
[Article] How Storytelling Can Super-Power CX
Your informal strategies required a more formal structure.
Enthusiasm about sending surveys and journey mapping may have led to duplicative work, inefficiencies and competing priorities. Now that customer experience is such a big part of the organization, it’s time to set up a team.
7. You set up a CX Team of cross-functional leaders.
This team was given a clear CX Charter and understand their role is to help prioritize CX initiatives and provide governance around CX efforts.
This team continues to meet regularly and uses data and organizational goals to create the appropriate CX roadmap for the future. Leaders work together to align priorities with the CX Mission Statement and the CX Success Statement. . They also bring CX priorities back to their teams.
You have C-Suite representation to gain the funding and resources necessary for the identified efforts needed.
[Guide] CX Charter Guidebook
[Article] Create Your CX Charter with These 6 Questions
[Guide] CX Meeting Agenda & Guidebook
[Article] How to Run an Effective Customer Experience Team Meeting
8. You added a more formal structure to the CX champion program.
Now, your champions are throughout the organization and have clear goals and duties.
They are offered additional CX education and support, and provide that education back to their teams via lunch and learns and more structured training sessions. Employees are invested in the goals of customer experience and provide their own insights and ideas to improve things for the customer.
[Article] Improve Employee Experience to Improve Customer Experience
[Audio] Experience Action Podcast EP 3: Customer Experience (CX) Training
9. You’re working with Human Resources (HR) leaders to ensure customer experience priorities and education are included in employee hiring and onboarding.
You provide wording around the CX mission to include in job postings and role descriptions.
You work with the Learning and Development Team to add ongoing customer experience education, starting with onboarding.
Employee journey mapping helps teams come together and understand the true experience of job candidates and others. HR leaders work together to ensure the CX Mission is reflected in the employee experience.
[Guide] Employee Journey Map Template
[Article] 7 Tips to Simplify & Improve Employee Journey Mapping
[Audio] Experience Action Podcast EP 3: Customer Experience (CX) Training
10. You’re collaborating on an employee recognition program focused on customer experience.
Employees and teams who deliver on the CX Mission are recognized publicly throughout the organization.
Those interacting directly with customers understand how their actions reflect the CX Mission, thanks to a well-defined and understood Customer Service Code .
Improvements to the customer’s journey are celebrated and employees understand how their daily efforts are tied to the customer’s journey.
Employees in roles that aren’t traditionally seen as customer-facing are included in these recognitions. Perhaps a Supply Chain Manager or a Property Manager is recognized for how their work has a positive impact on the customer’s journey.
[Article] Connect Customer Service Success with Customer Experience Excellence
[Article] 5 Ways to Lead Customer Experience – Even If It’s Not In Your Job Description
11. Finally, you report your results.
You regularly share data and insights with leadership.
You use tools like dashboards to show progress throughout the year, but you never lose sight of the humans those numbers represent. You share customer stories, employee recognition celebrations, and more. You leverage your Voice of the Customer program, but you also share the true voice of the customer through audio recordings, actual customer quotes, customer thank you messages, and more.
[Article] How to Use Imperfect Data to Deliver a Perfect Customer Experience
What a year!
Now admittedly, this is an ambitious picture and may seem overwhelming. Customer experience success takes time, and depending on your unique situation, all of these initiatives may not fit in a single year.
If all these videos and resources feel like too much, here’s a single place to start: Our Customer Experience Reflection & Planning Questionnaire. It’s a great tool to help you assess where you are and where you want to go.
Whether you’re starting at month one or year six, think of the next twelve months as a time to ensure customer experience success is well-defined at your organization. Take on that and everything else becomes just a smidge easier.
Are you ready to take on the year?
Of course you are. You’re putting in effort on behalf of your customers. And that’s a great goal for every day in every year.