Customer experience teams cannot own CX outcomes by themselves. Now don't get me wrong, CX pros rightfully shoulder the most responsibility, including ownership of the six CX disciplines, from customer understanding to culture transformation. But the fact is that all employees at an organization have at least some impact on their firms' customer experience. And with impact comes responsibility.
In my recent report for Forrester, "Want Great CX? Make Everyone Do Their Part," I document how CX teams should help the rest of their organizations take responsibility for customer experience outcomes. We found that CX responsibility exists at three levels in an organization:
- Executives define what the intended customer experience should be. Successful CX transformations require plugged-in executives who define the intended experience, set related organizational targets, and stay involved throughout the transformation process. CX pros should provide executives with customer data that informs their decision-making, and encourage them to adopt an enterprise-level CX metric like Net Promoter Score (NPS) that makes it easy to track the organization's progress. They should also work to assign relevant ownership of major experience elements to executives. At Cigna, for example, the customer-centric action team includes senior executives who are each responsible for one of the organization's CX priorities. The executive responsible for better integrating touchpoints got approval to appoint owners for important customer journeys, like onboarding and emergency room admittance.
- Managers execute on the intended experience vision. Managers across the organization must wed the corporate CX vision with the specific work of their teams. That requires them to internalize CX principles, determine required customer-centric behaviors from their team members, and then help their teams consistently deliver those behaviors. CX pros are instrumental in helping managers perform those tasks. CX teams, in partnership with managers and their HR departments must translate the overall CX vision for different departments and levels. Then, they must define essential behaviors for managers. My favorite example of this work comes from Hampton Inn. Through careful observation, and bright spot analysis, they identified nine hotel general manager behaviors that correlated with higher guest-satisfaction scores. And then the trained all general managers in how to consistently perform those behaviors. Of course managers also need to help coach their team members towards more customer-centric behaviors. CX pros can help them take on this responsibility by guiding managers in which behaviors to look for, and how to celebrate the right version of those behaviors, or coach employees who aren't there yet.
- All employees align their work with the CX vision. At companies that deliver exceptional CX, each employee assumes responsibility for how her work affects customers. CX pros make it easier for employees to become customer-centric through appropriate training, incentives, and by helping employees develop a spirit of self-improvement. Many companies focus on fostering intrinsic motivation among employees--creating the spark of belief that delivering great experiences is something they can and do want to be part of. For example, PURE Insurance created the PURE EQ program. Its employees completed evaluations to gain insight into their self-awareness, self-restraint, and relationship skills. Then it used role-playing scenarios to practice how to respond to different emotional states. After training, each employee committed to a self-development project and formed an accountability partnership with a colleague.
There are more insights and examples in the full report over at Forrester. Please share your stories of how you have helped your colleagues take responsibility for the customer experience.
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About the Author: Sam Stern is a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research serving Customer Experience professionals, serving Customer Experience professionals. Learn more about Forrester's customer experience practice at forrester.com/customerexperience.