The biggest challenge for customer experience teams often isn’t learning new technology, staying on top of trends, or connecting with customers–it’s getting buy-in from executives and proving the ROI of their efforts.
Bryan Sander, Head of CX, Market Research, Digital at AAA, recommends that customer experience practitioners take a unique approach: do CX on the leaders they’re trying to engage with.
The first step of customer experience is empathy and understanding. That means finding out what’s important to leaders, walking a mile in their shoes, and learning about the company’s strategy and performance objectives. Don’t make assumptions about what the leaders understand about CX and its value. When you understand where an executive is coming from, you can tailor the approach to meet their needs. Connect CX efforts to help accelerate their business outcomes instead of coming in with something entirely new and overwhelming.
When finding advocates to support and champion your cause, Sanders says customers are powerful fuel and inspiration. Getting close to them and listening to their stories and behaviors with qualitative and quantitative data provides powerful insights to share with leaders. Sanders recommends anyone working in CX, especially in a new role or department, walks in the shoes of the customers and experiences things from their point of view. Seeing things from their perspective gives traction to proving the pain points and value of investing in customer experience.
It’s natural for people who are immersed in CX to understand the value and benefits. But Sanders says that’s not always the case with leaders. When CX teams come to executives speaking the language of customer experience, it often doesn’t land well because the terms are foreign to leaders. Executives already have a full plate and may feel the CX team wants to add more. Instead, Sanders recommends finding ways to connect customer experience work to existing business goals and plans. It’s not about adding entirely new initiatives to the company but about adding a customer focus to existing strategies.
Top-line growth, margin improvement, and retention are business goals that aren’t often considered CX metrics. But if you can link the value of customer experience to an existing metric that executives understand, Sanders says you’ll have a better chance at getting traction.
That’s because customer experience doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It involves the entire company. By finding that common ground and tying CX efforts to existing strategies, the entire company and C-suite can get involved and see the impact focusing on customers has on long-standing business goals.
Customer experience has an undeniably strong ROI. The challenge is sharing that message with others. By speaking their language and connecting CX results to business outcomes, teams can find champions and transform their companies.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.