As Customer Experience (CX) professionals, we all have some of the same tools at our disposal – journey mapping, surveys, design thinking, etc. But some CX pros just seem to be able to get more out of them. They are better able to connect the dots between customer needs and changes the organization needs to
Like most business professionals, customer experience leaders are commonly called upon to deliver presentations. When we’re preparing, we often think about what we want to say. However, sometimes it helps to take a step back and ask, “What is this really all about?” In other words, what type of presentation is this going to be
Customer experience is currently a great industry to be a part of. Why? Executives are increasingly pointing to customer experience as the primary way they intend to differentiate in the marketplace. Like never before, CX leaders are in demand.
None of us is in CX to track and trend metrics. Sure, we will all celebrate a significant increase in our customer loyalty or advocacy metric but that isn’t really our ultimate goal. As CX professionals, we are looking to make a difference, engage our organizations and drive meaningful change on behalf of the customer.
The problem is being that catalyst for change in organizations can be so hard. None of us can do it alone, and all the people who we need to help, well they all have full-time jobs already. The customer challenges you are trying to address are also likely not easy. You not only have to find the right people but engage them in your mission for CX action. If you are new to your CX role or just building a team, the thought of driving change can seem even more overwhelming.
As I look at the Top 10 Traits of Effective CX Leaders series, I see each trait as helping to set the foundation for driving meaningful change in your organization on behalf of the customer. In addition to working on things like building your CX knowledge, sharing your passion for the customer and engaging others through communication, here are five specific things that CX leaders can do to help increase success at igniting organizational change.
- Secure Leadership Support. Getting the organization on board for change requires support from the top. Remember, the best person isn’t always the one you report to or the one with the highest title – reputation goes a long way. As your executive sponsor, this person should be the voice of CX to your leadership team. Having CX as a standing agenda item on leadership meetings is your goal!
- Find Your Advocates. Who do you work with or know of who are also passionate about CX? Start to document your network of CX advocates. Are parts of the organization more engaged than others? Your advocates can be the start of a more formal champion or ambassador network.
- Don’t Get Siloed. A customer’s experience with you is not defined by your organizational structure – and your approach to driving change shouldn’t be either. Finding ways to approach change outside-in requires you think broadly across your organization. If you haven’t already, consider journey mapping the customer experience to bring life to the need for cross-functional collaboration.
- Build a Team. Again, no one person can drive organizational change alone. Cross-functional teams are critical to having a big impact. When building teams, don’t forget to challenge organizational structure and think about the customer journey. While this may seem like a big undertaking, it doesn’t have to be. Structured quarterly meetings with the right group can help bring momentum to meaningful change.
- Identify Your Organizational Barriers. The first step to recovering (or change in this case) is to admit you have a problem. Organizational culture, recognition systems, communications and having the right CX efforts in place can all be accelerants or barriers to driving change. If you haven’t recently taken stock of where you are at, formally assess your CX Maturity. This can help identify your organizational strengths and prioritize which key CX competencies should be your focus. With this knowledge in hand, you can start to formalize your path.
Support from above, advocates throughout and a strong team are all critical components to successfully driving change.
A fundamental element of good storytelling is knowing your audience. Too often we plan a presentation primarily based on what we want to say without really considering the perspective of the audience. Who are they? Are they familiar with the topic? Do they even want to be there? These are just a few criteria that should influence how we deliver a presentation.
To deliver a message that truly resonates with the audience, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who will be present. Below are eight criteria that may be helpful in developing a solid profile of your audience. Answers to each of the questions should affect the way that you position your message to be as effective as possible.
- RANK – What level of authority will be in your session? Are they entry-level employees, middle managers, senior-level executives or is it a mix?
- FAMILIARITY – How well do you know the attendees? Will this be a group of people you have never met or is the audience made up of people you know well?
- INTERACTION – How well do the attendees know each other? Are they total strangers or do they all know each other pretty well?
- DESIRE – Do the attendees want to be there? Is this a presentation where the attendees are willing and interested in attending? Or, are they required to attend (which means some aren’t happy to be there at all)?
- INFORMED – How familiar is the audience with your topic? Is it something they know really well, or is it a topic that they know nothing about?
- OPENNESS – How open-minded will the audience be? Will they be skeptical, defensive and/or challenging? Or, will they be open to the material you present?
- PROCESSING – How do you think your audience will process information? Are they highly detailed and analytical or will it be a group of conceptual, big-thinkers?
- DIVERSITY – What is the makeup of the audience? Are the participants similar to one another or will you be speaking to a wide variety of people from different backgrounds, different demographics or different departments?
The answers to these questions likely are along a spectrum. You can use the handy form on pages 3 and 4 of this downloadable workbook to plot each of these – it’s a quick way to help you evaluate the perspective of the audience you’ll be addressing
So much rides on each presentation you deliver. Take the time to carefully consider your audience to make sure you position your message in a way that will resonate in the most effective way possible.
Patrick Gibbons, CCXP
Companies who aren’t moving their brand activity and their customer experience activity closer together are setting a course for failure.