At the CXPA Insight Exchange two weeks ago, it was confirmed that companies are still in the early stages of customer experience (CX) maturity. Not too surprising, given that we at Walker recently surveyed hundreds of companies to assess their level of CX Maturity and found that only 5% are truly optimized and realizing meaningful business impact from their customer experience efforts.
In our assessment, most companies fall into the categories we label as Defined or Adopted. In the Defined stage, companies recognize CX as a discipline, but it has yet to be deployed across the enterprise in a coordinated fashion. In the Adopted stage, CX has become more centrally coordinated, but it still is not universally leveraged. In order to continue to advance CX Maturity and reap the competitive advantage a keen focus on CX can generate, companies must focus on improving in six CX competencies:
- Strategy: Align the CX strategy to the desired brand position and focus on helping the company achieve its business objectives.
- Culture: A deliberate focus on the customer influences the way employees think and act.
- Insights: An agile system is in place to efficiently gather insights needed to make short-term decisions and guide long-term strategies.
- Resources: People and financial resources are in place to ensure CX is effectively implemented and governed.
- Action: Employee decisions are guided by customer insights and action is tracked to ensure follow -through takes place.
- Impact: Systems are in place to monitor the impact on the experience of the customer and financial return to the company.
There were many stories at the CXPA Insight Exchange around the topics of strategy and culture but far fewer around Action and Impact. In order for CX to become the primary business discipline CX practitioners want it to become, CX must generate tangible actions that lead to real business outcomes – and that ROI must be well understood throughout the organization.
Here are four things your organization can do to ensure your CX focus is driving action:
- Plan for action. Driving action requires effective communication, motivation, process and organization. All four of these ingredients come together more effectively when planned together.
- Test and learn. Too often, CX practitioners agonize over the perfect solution when moving quickly would benefit the customer and the business more. Think "Nail it, then scale it" – not the other way around.
- Develop a set of CX design principles. Develop a core set of principles that can be used to guide CX decision making. These principles should be developed through a deep understanding of customer needs and aligned with the company’s desired brand position. Often, a guiding set of principles can help prioritize efforts and move decision-making along quicker.
- Get the right people involved up front. This coincides with the first recommendation, but it is important enough to warrant its own callout. Most CX practitioners are in a position where they have to manage through influence. At Walker, we have repeatedly found that people are more inclined to accept outcomes and associated actions when they’re involved in the design/build process. So, form a team with all the right resources (functions, geographies, business units, etc.) up front and get them involved in the design so they’re more motivated to help you take action when the time comes.