Effective use of planning and analysis make your CX dreams a business reality

Today, as organizations are becoming more open to customer experience advancements and are adopting CX programs as part of their Business Transformation journey, many of us CX professionals face the common dilemma – putting our strategies into practice.

While having a clear vision for CX strategy is very important, putting it into practice still raises questions among professionals. How do we make our CX promise permeate every aspect of the organization’s activities? How do we encourage everyone to move forward with a shared sense of mission? How do we take a CX concept and implement it as a business project?

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Often, after defining initiatives and action items for the CX Program, the process stagnates. From our experience, at this stage, most teams face several common challenges such as prioritizing tasks for the chosen strategy, forming and engaging execution teams, securing the management buy-in and budget, and forecasting the ROI of these actions.

As CX professionals, we must effectively guide employees, leadership, and ourselves to overcome these hurdles.

In this article, we propose a tried and tested framework, with practical methodologies and tools which allow you to list, prioritize, assign, track and measure your CX program activities. We demonstrate this through the strategy we used for execution at Prodware via the CX Action App, developed by Cemantica in collaboration with European Customer Consultancy. Link to the App page: Cemantica.com

A holistic framework for CX execution

A classic CX methodology starts with CX strategy definition, progressing to a CX maturity assessment, persona profiling, journey mapping and Voice of the Customer data collection. These are the tools which should generate a list of opportunities for customer experience improvement to be delivered as a tangible output from your CX Program.

But now comes the challenging phase: the execution. This puts to test, for real, the readiness of the organization to integrate concepts of the CX Program into day-to-day activities. It is the stage where we often see organizational imperfections surface and puts a spanner in the works: for example, siloed ways of working, disjointed functional KPIs, obsolete processes, cultural barriers and legacy systems, to name a few. Change management becomes a pivotal skill for CX practitioners and in this article we will share with you the fundamentals of successful CX implementation.

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Prioritizing your CX initiatives using a cost benefits analysis matrix

Once the full list of potential action items is developed though journey mapping work, it’s time for prioritization. Prioritizing CX initiatives for implementation is based on a cost/benefit analysis model, which globally measures the customer benefits vs the cost and effort required by the organization to put the initiatives in action. As you can see from the image of the CX Action App below, each initiative is ranked by a select group of stakeholders. Not only does this ensure a cross-functional perspective on importance and feasibility, it secures an early buy-in from those who will lead the execution too.

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A matrix helps prioritize the initiatives that bring the highest value to the customers and that are the easiest to implement. Our top tip is to take into consideration that some of the actions in the list are already in-progress or planned and then reflect it in the matrix with a higher score.

Using a CX Transformation Map to show your priorities over time

A Transformation Map is an instrument that provides clarity for short, mid- and long term activities for the CX Program. It is one of the key instruments for you to provide visibility to leaders, position all CX projects per functional domain, highlight dependencies and set expectations for the move from current state to the future state. It contains additional information such as project code, status and priority to make it easier for stakeholders to understand the plan and its implications.

The timeline for each term is defined by every organization, but as a best practice we usually define those initiatives executed within 3-6 months are considered short term, 6-12 months mid-term and more than 12 months are considered as long term.

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Putting CX activities into action

Agility is your mantra to execute CX projects with success. Good preparation is key!

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Once priorities are clear, you will next regroup the different initiatives into project containers, detail the actions that need to take place, define specific due dates and agree accountable owners from across the organization.

Here is a master checklist for your planning that will help you tackle all of the top 5 productivity killers (as shown in the image here):

  • Create project charters that include projects goals, benefits, definition of “done” (what success looks like), and high-level phases
  • Train all members of the execution team and project leads to use the CX Action App: set effective tasks, define weekly goals and measure success
  • Conduct weekly planning meetings where you will track progress, celebrate success, address blockages and plan for the next weekly sprint
  • Consider daily stand-up meetings for 15 minutes to ensure good planning and less disruptions throughout the day
  • Ensure leaders are engaged and involved through bi-weekly or monthly meetings, reporting dashboards, and gamification tools where appropriate
  • Configure CX Action App automations for notification, transfer of tasks, email integrations and other mundane tasks
  • Set up reporting dashboards
  • Enjoy reduced workload from eliminating admin tasks and excessive email exchanges; and a sense of achievement from delivering weekly progress
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Aggregated dashboards are developed to monitor the overall progress of the initiatives and detect areas where things are not progressing as expected.

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Change Board – because CX in practice is dynamic

The list of CX tasks and projects for execution is a dynamic list that gets updated frequently. It’s during the execution process that new tasks are flowing in and need prioritization.

A new project might be urgent for execution for various reasons (for example, market fluctuations, changes in the organizational structure, VoC data collected, etc.) which can take different shapes and forms over time. Again, agility is key to ensure what you are executing remains relevant.

New items submitted go through a qualification process and are transferred to a group of people called the Change Board. Its role is to assess the importance of the new initiative and allocate it a priority, timeline and resources. Change Boards should be assembled approximately once a month (avoid too frequent changes in the tasks list to avoid disorder and inconsistency). Always remember the boundaries set during the CX Strategy definition phase; this solid master plan still governs existing and new activities.

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Turning customer obsession into business success

Last but certainly not least, how do we get the employees and management to be committed participants and advocates for CX implementation? One of the ways for this is to combine the tools listed above with the development of a customer-centric DNA. (Also known as customer obsession – putting customer’s needs at the center of decisions and fostering a natural tendency to care about the way they feel about you).

From our experience of agile CX implementation there are several imperatives to form a customer-centric culture:

  • Universal understanding of what CX is and what it means for the organisation
  • Early involvement with the CX program for all stakeholders
  • Cross-functional cost/benefit prioritization for CX initiatives
  • Committed and appropriately trained agile CX execution teams
  • Frequent (weekly) sense of achievement for CX projects
  • Management leading by example, communicating the customer agenda and rewarding CX successes
  • Dynamic VoC program that allows for CX course correction
  • Employee empowerment to do the right thing by the customer

A customer-centric culture will automatically encourage the company’s workforce to embrace the new ways of working. If successfully achieved, driving a deeper understanding of customer needs into the organization’s DNA will be one of the cornerstones for the participation of the team in implementing the strategy.

Best practice in CX implementation for us is based on using robust CX methodology with technology and agility. It has proven to lead to sustainable business success, culture change and better employee experience. Now that you’ve heard about our CX best practices we would love to hear about your experiences and opinions on this topic. How do you execute your CX initiatives?

Eytan Hattem is a passionate Customer Experience professional with a proven track record in large international Customer Engagement projects through to his work as a business consultant supporting clients in their digital transformation journey. As a CCXP certified professional, Eytan consults global businesses across multiple sectors to help them understand and transform their customer journeys through best practices and innovative technologies. A true evangelist and thought leader, Eytan speaks, judges and writes regularly within the CX industry media with authority and passion plus mentors fellow CX professionals to spread the power of customer experience!

Link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cx-action-eytan-hattem-ccxp/