A few weeks ago, I returned to my car from a trip inside Lowe’s one Saturday morning to find a reusable Subaru bag hanging on the side mirror of my Subaru Outback. Like a child on Christmas morning, I opened the bag inside my car to find all kinds of Subaru swag, Subaru magazines and a hand-written note from my local Subaru Ambassador.
I had no idea Subaru had an Ambassador program, but it left an impression on me. I would consider myself brand-loyal to Subaru, but this reminded me of why I originally felt so connected to the Subaru brand. They truly care about their customers and it shows in every interaction you have with them.
While the application inside a B2B organization might look a little different, ambassador programs are a great way to build a customer-centric organization and help CX professionals achieve their vision. What if your customers were so excited to work with your organization that they willingly – for free – championed your brand like Subaru customers do? Pretty cool, huh?
Are you a CX professional with limited resources or a small team to carry out your strategic vision? Don’t feel like you must tackle it all yourself. The best customer-centric organizations find ways to involve every employee in their CX strategies, even if it’s not part of their formal roles and responsibilities.
Building a network of ambassadors
You can build a network of Ambassadors who are the eyes, ears and champions for CX in your organization. Start small and build from there. You don’t have to launch a cross-functional program with 100 Ambassadors on day one. I bet you could name one person, right now, who is an advocate for customers in your organization. Start with that person and talk about his or her willingness to help champion CX with peers, teams, etc. Talk about the benefits of being customer-focused and how customers can help you achieve your strategic vision.
So where do you start? The benefit of this type of program might sound delightful, but the process of getting there may seem a little daunting. I have personally found that starting at the end and working backward helps me to find a reasonable starting place while having an end vision in mind. In this example, maybe you can start by thinking of the mottos you want your Ambassadors to embody and live by:
I am a CX Ambassador!
- I OWN the customer experience and drive it throughout my organization.
- I CELEBRATE success and recognize those displaying customer-centric behaviors.
- I SPEAK UP to ensure the customer voice is always heard and considered.
- I BUILD mutual trust with others.
- I EMBRACE change and commit to driving it throughout my organization.
- I GROW PEOPLE by developing myself and others to be customer centric.
Another place to start might be the types of roles and responsibilities you want Ambassadors to carry out. Some examples might be:
- Identifying customer pain points to enable a better customer experience.
- Actively reviewing survey and other customer insights relevant to their area of the company and sharing that message with their group(s).
- Communicating your organization’s customer-centric message and guiding principles (if they exist), ensuring actions and behaviors are aligned to the cause.
- Evangelizing, communicating, and advocating for the customer at every available opportunity.
Think about these ideas and let me know what you think. What mottos or other examples of customer Ambassador roles/responsibilities does your organization use or desire? I’ll continue the topic next month and talk about how to structurally set up an Ambassador program for success.