If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our years of experience and customer experience award wins, it’s that it doesn’t matter how great your strategy is, how well planned out or how on board your senior leadership are if the rest of the business isn’t engaged in what you need to do.
It’s critical to the success of your customer experience program that you gain company wide engagement, and that you do it from the very start. Having an entire business understand the corporate CX goal: why it’s business critical and where they fit in to the delivery ensuring long term success.
How you get everyone onto your company’s corporate strategy bus is the big question – and it starts with understanding where you are right now.
What is the current mood in the team, the readiness for change and the willingness to contribute?
As customer experience consultants, we’ll look at the key elements to driving engagement across the entire business in this blog, but first – what even is CX engagement?
What is CX engagement?
Your customer experience is made up of every single touchpoint your customer sees, hears, feels or experiences from the moment they first hear of your business all the way through to the very last interaction they have with you.
Everyone in your organisation, whether customer facing or not, contributes to that customer experience and how your customer’s perceive your brand.
If anyone in the business doesn’t know where they fit into the customer journey or how their actions can impact their colleagues.
In turn, their customers, then you will find it harder to drive change and deliver a superior experience.
In any business, having a dedicated individual or team to drive customer experience strategy is a strong start, but it’s also important to recognise that to gain anything from your customer experience management, annual strategic planning, or Voice of the Customer programs, you need the customer experience passion to ripple out across the whole business.
Change should be led by the CX team’s performance and priorities, but everyone should have a chance to input, shape and ultimately help implement any changes to improve the overall customer experience.
Everyone should believe in the importance of the CX strategy, and everyone should work together to make it a reality. That’s CX engagement working well.
Why is engagement important in CX?
There are so many benefits to engaging your whole organisation in CX transformation, ranging from more bought in, happier teams with a strong employee experience all the way through to future success, business growth and increased revenue.
Your customer interactions should add to the positive perception of your brand and lead to organic brand advocates who guide more potential business your way.
This happens when everyone is engaged in the mission and moving in the same direction.
Ensuring your CX strategy reflects the company’s corporate strategy, helps move the company towards its broader strategic goals and actually adds to the success of other departments will ultimately benefit the business as a whole.
A good CX program should advance the business strategy under a senior leader or manager’s customer experience stewardship.
5 ways to drive company engagement with CX strategy
You can start by identifying where you can start with driving your CX strategy company wide with 5 steps.
#1 Assess the cultural readiness in the business
- Once you are clear on the corporate vision, what you need to achieve and the direction you need the business to move in, you need to know how far away from that vision you are currently. Creating customer-centred corporate goals that help to achieve the bigger picture is a good start. Still, if you want a customer-centric workforce, they need to know where they fit, and what the goals are and, ideally help you identify any current gaps in performance.
#2 Involve the entire business as key stakeholders
- This shouldn’t just come from the executive team, for company culture to work well, every single employee across every level and every department need to input to the customer experience if you’re going to avoid a situation where personal agendas trump customers ongoing relationship and the wider CX.
- Treat customer experience as a company wide project for everyone to feed into – after-all we are all customers in our everyday life, we all know how we like to be treated so can all input to the vision.
- Set up a way to track organizational engagement, and make sure to cascade strategies company wide as early on as possible to avoid anyone feeling left out of the customer experience program. Whilst everyone should feel equally invested in the project, and equally important, it’s also worth recognising that some won’t naturally respond and having an influential executive sponsor can help get more people on board.
#3 Share customer feedback swiftly
- It’s not just about your customer satisfaction score, or NPS results. Sharing the verbatim comments your customers make can be a powerful tool to help demonstrate why there is a need for change. Numbers won’t always mean much to individuals, but let an employee read about how disappointed or let down a customer felt at a certain point in their journey and it will be difficult for anyone to argue there’s not room for improvement.
- Working to drive improvements from the feedback you get will help increase satisfied customers, which will in turn improve CSAT scores or NPS metrics if that’s something you need to capture to report to the board or investors.
#4 Let a cross functional steering group drive progress
- If you want to involve the whole business then ensuring everyone is represented in a cross functional project team, involved in strategic planning, customer journey mapping and any changes made to the customer experience is a great approach. You can communicate regularly to everyone in the organisation as a project team but you’ll also have influential members of each department and level of the business talking to their colleagues with first hand knowledge of the work that’s going on and why.
- It’s a good idea to limit the steering group to only one C team member outside of the CX team to ensure that everyone feels comfortable to experiment, suggest ideas and ultimately from time to time – fail. Equally you don’t need everyone from your service team or CX department, just someone to represent. It’s more important to get a good mixture of people to input, and also worth keeping one eye on D&I as you do so to ensure a diverse range of employees and customers have a voice on the steering group.
#5 Maintain momentum with quick wins
- Once you have everyone’s attention with the launch of the project, make sure you continue to communicate regularly to let them know what’s going on, what the priorities are and how they can continue to be involved. Share quick wins, share bumps in the road and keep the interest and momentum up.
- There’s nothing more disappointing than launching a project with a bang, then slowly letting it fizzle out as people return to BAU and their own priorities.
Have you got an engaging customer experience strategy?
Looking at whether your current strategy is engaging enough might feel a little intimidating.
You want to deliver the best results, and that might mean you need to adjust customer experience management approaches or your communication to achieve that.
The brilliant thing, is that it’s never too late to get everyone involved. Even if you’re half way through a project you can go back out to the rest of the business and let them know how crucial they are to customer success.
If you’re going to take that approach then lean on your customer relationship findings, ensure customer feedback ties back to the changes you’ve identified need to be made, but then let the rest of the business get involved with solutionising.
Hold workshops and round tables to discuss ways to get more ideas into the project.
Often employees who think of corporate strategy tend to assume it’s something discussed behind closed doors, let them get involved and show them how important they are to the business success.
Can engagement be measured?
Not only can it be measured, but it should be. You need to know your customer service teams, your sales people, your IT department all equally want to see success and contribute to it.
Creating a positive customer experience can happen by accident with a team who aren’t engaged, but if you want to move away from a positive customer experience to consistent customer experience excellence.
Then you’ll need a corporate strategy and a willingness from the organisation to help you get there.
Customer experience success is often driven by the company’s chief officers, but remember that when you launch your CX initiative to, consider your target audience.
It’s not the C suite with their extensive C team commitments who will implement the day to day actions, talk to customers regularly, have one to one interactions, or drive the insights that help you learn.
That’s down to the rest of the business so aim your launch at all your employees, make everyone feel important and let them know that from here on in, they are key stakeholders.
Encourage them to come to you with customer comments, blockers, issues and ideas, and encourage them to understand that the customer experience is now their responsibility as much as it is yours.
There’s everything to play for, and an engaged team who feel valued will help you reach new levels of customer experience.
Take it from us, we’ve helped plenty of teams reach award-winning heights!
Find out more about how we can help you transform your customer experience strategy and contact us today.