3 Surefire Ways Your CX Strategy Will Get Executive Buy-In

Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
It's no secret among Customer Experience (CX) professionals that most CX efforts fall flat if they don't get adequate executive buy-in. What gains executive attention best? Financials

It's no secret among Customer Experience (CX) professionals that CX efforts often fall flat if they don't get adequate executive buy-in. So what gains executive attention best? Financials.

Gaining c-level support for CX and integrating it with corporate strategy requires organizational leaders in CX, service, and marketing to quantify the value of their customer experience initiatives. This is no easy feat for many companies. Last year's 1to1 Media Customer Champion Kyle Groff, manager of customer insights at JetBlue, underscores the challenge of quantifying the financial impact of CX. In ">this article, he admitted this: "I think intuitively most people would admit that a happy customer likely leads to more profit. But saying, 'this is why we need to focus on the customer because it's worth this amount of money,' is hard to do."

Groff isn't alone. One of the biggest issues facing senior leaders is tying investment in customer experience improvements to real financial value. But putting customer activities and results into a financial context can be challenging.

According to Harvard Business Review Analytic Services' recent "Lessons from the Leading Edge of Customer Experience Management" 52 percent of respondents believe developing customer experience strategies that align with corporate strategies to be an extremely effective tactic, yet only 44 percent have such measures in place.

Report tangible outcomes

Where should CX leaders start in their efforts to prove the worth of their initiatives? According to the Salesforce 2015 State of Marketing Report, most companies find the greatest value in metrics focused on revenue growth, customer satisfaction, ROI, customer retention rates, and customer acquisition. That requires companies to turn their hundreds, if not thousands, of unique data points into actionable insights.

Edouard Piquet, senior vice president of customer experience at Aeromexico, is a firm believer in the need to share customer insights throughout the organization and sends real-time online results to senior management. Since he joined Aeromexico in May 2012, he has established a systematic approach to capture customer feedback, linking survey results to a feed file which aggregates more than 200 fields for every client on each flight. Piquet immediately shares direct customer feedback, including from his conversations with customers across the organization, including with the CEO who has a VOC dashboard on a monitor in his office. Last year every executive started contributing an NPS goal. "When your bonus depends on the customers' satisfaction, everyone becomes interested," Piquet says

Piquet is proof that by actively capturing and sharing customer data and experience stories, customer process management leaders will be better equipped to make a powerful case for change.

The power of the pipeline

Showing customer satisfaction and retention results gives CX strategies legs, but tying those results to actual revenue gets them walking. Marketers and service leaders traditionally are judged on consumer sentiment, perceptions, and brand awareness, but today companies want to understand how their activities generate qualified leads that can be converted to sales.

As recent global study conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit reveals that 34 percent of executives don't track the ROI of customer experience investments at all. According to the report, the main reason is because of difficulties in measuring the impact.

You can measure all the clicks, shares, and follows you'd like but nothing gets an executive's attention more quickly than a plan that highlights revenue generation. Three things to consider: What volume of leads are you driving? How much of that is visibly available in your CRM systems? And how much of that is being accepted and converted by the sales team into the pipeline or revenue? Finally, a great way to measure the impact of your CX plan is to test tactics against a control group and measure sales

Dispel any perceptions that CX is a one-time program

Adopting a customer-first business philosophy is so much more than a one-off program; it's the ongoing management of all factors that affect customer experience across the organization. As such, CX requires the executive and monetary support to put and keep it at the core of businesses' corporate strategies as a necessary means to increase profitability by strengthening customer loyalty.

Often, customer experience plans don't get serious attention due to failure to develop long-term strategies or a focus on short-term profits. Therefore, CX leaders must develop their plans using serious analysis and intense commitment. All internal plans and processes must be developed with the customer in mind, the customer's needs and wants must be considered at every touchpoint, and employee empowerment plans must also be included.

By tying revenue and customer metrics to your customer strategy and creating a serious long-term plan, CX leaders will be well equipped to convincing their leaders that the customer experience isn't just a short-term plan to satisfy unhappy customers; it's an ongoing strategy that turns all interactions with customers into positive ones, builds loyalty, and ultimately impacts the bottom line. It's an investment worth making.

This post is part of the Customer Experience Professionals Association's Blog Carnival "Celebrating Customer Experience." It is part of a broader celebration of Customer Experience Day. Check out posts from other bloggers here. - See more at: http://cxday.org