So through much effort and fanfare you have managed to organize a focused customer advocacy network within your company:
-The executive sponsor is in place
-Your boss (the customer strategy owner) is ready to take the voice of the customer to the four corners of the company and have it be heard
-You have a solid cross-functional steering team with their associated implementation and project teams
-You have a dependable, trusted advisor (Walker Information) to complete the research and assist in all topics associated with deploying results and facilitating strategy sessions
Congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment in ensuring the customer’s voice is being used to assist in driving business decisions!
But, how are all of these pieces working together? Is everything purring in smooth precision like the sound of a brand new car engine? Or is it more like trying to get an old car started on a cold, February morning (if you have never experienced this particular situation, you are missing out)?
If it’s the latter, then you need help with the process to obtain optimal performance.
We boil Process down to four major steps, but since you have already “Prepared” the team let’s look at the other three – Plan, Implement, and Secure.
Plan – Keep it simple and targeted. Look for no more than two opportunities to improve within each business unit or functional area. Have a vision for how the improvement will positively affect the business and the customer experience. Document the steps it will take to get there. Have the implementation team approve the project team’s action plan and communicate early and often about what will be accomplished.
Implement – The action plan is now the game plan so teams need to coordinate the appropriate resources to complete each step and chart progress. Celebrate wins (especially early ones) to keep momentum going and provide visibility to those enacting change. If falling behind schedule, be sure implementation teams are holding the project teams accountable and enlist the help of senior leaders to help remove barriers to achievement.
Secure – As you near the end of an action plan, check that changes are matching the original vision. Communicate the improvements to strategic customers so they are aware of what you are doing. Hopefully they will notice and when positive feedback is obtained, share the good news to reinforce the new steps become the way you now do business.
It all seems so simple, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not, but the effort is worth it for those who truly care about driving business impact through improvements to the customer experience.
Vice President – Client Service