CX Director: Hello…I’m the customer experience director.
Myself: Nice to meet you…what is it you’re responsible for?
CX Director: Well, I have total responsibility for measuring, improving and acting on our customer interactions to improve our over-all customer experience.
Myself: Fantastic…so how do you achieve this? What sort of budget, team and authority do you have?
CX Director: Sigh.
This is pretty much a conversation I had recently and one that’s not unusual! Firstly, I congratulate many brands in recognising the importance of customer experience and going beyond the core value tagline of ‘customer first’, and actually putting a resource behind it who owns the engagement. Sadly, this is often as far as it goes – the CX Director in many organizations is a bit like the black sheep of the organization. Everyone agrees customer experience comes first, is easy to criticise others but can not point to the one person who is responsible and accountable for making it happen.
I recently met with a well-known telco who’s proud CX Director lost their CX motivation when I asked that last question above…they opened up and confessed how hard it was to influence others in the business –they confessed, it’s like dating, everyone wanted to date (meet and talk CX),but no one wanted to commit to the second date. The story of limited or no resources (people or budget) and no authority is stifling true customer experience growth in many organizations.
If you’re looking at establishing an owner of customer experience then firstly, big congratulations to you – this is a major step forward, but for your own sake, please think about how new projects and initiatives have CX weaved into their core objectives and challenge yourself not just on how the CX lead will be measured but more so what authority they have – otherwise it’s just a token role, and worst still, one that’s internal PR only – created to make us all feel good. A quick search on Linkedin for CX individuals indicates the UK has 1.5m, Canada 793,000, USA 7.9m, Australia 500,000, Singapore 100,000, Malaysia 77,000 and Thailand 26,000. That’s a huge amount and diverse of individuals committed to changing customer experience but how many have the true authority to make decisions at point in time or influence strategy and projects.
A tip I learnt many years ago in my coaching career is no-one can be successful if you’re responsible and accountable for a role if you do not also have authority. You need authority to make decisions, act and influence outcomes otherwise without this…with just responsibility and accountability you’re stuck in a powerless struggle.
Customer Experience is the single most important influencer on the health and future well-being of any company – regardless of great products, market needs or amazing opportunity, if you have poor experience from the very first touch point, then CX fails and people quickly move on to your competitors…favouring ‘how they feel’ over functionality or price.
Don’t be caught in the Customer Experience trap and ensure that once you setup a CX team, ensure you empower them with authority and accountability over KPI’s – you’ll notice a chance immediately and it’s a first step on the journey of transforming the hearts and mindsets of everyone in your company beyond the meaningless core values tagline.