A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about "The Rise of the Customer-Centric CIO" and the role that IT leaders are playing in helping organizations to differentiate the customer experience. In many organizations, the role of the CIO has evolved in recent years from reactive order taker to proactive business partner in helping business leaders to recognize and act on opportunities to leverage technology, people, and processes in new ways, thanks to their unique view of various functions and business units across the enterprise. Another way in which savvy CIOs have progressed is that they've learned how to communicate with fellow members of the C-suite in business terms they understand. There's a lesson here for customer experience practitioners who often struggle to do the same.A 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 that customer experience ROI isn't being tracked is due to difficulties in measuring the impact.
Part of the disconnect is that customer experience project champions often struggle to translate the anticipated impact of cx investments into clear business terms, says Ingrid Lindberg, Chief Experience Officer and founder of Chief Customer, LLC.
"There's a need to teach our practitioners to set expectations on the length of time it will take to show impact and to discuss this as something that's going to have longer-term ROI through improved retention and increased customer lifetime value," says Lindberg.
Another important factor that contributes to the ROI expectations gap is that most executives are focused on measuring current sales and costs while any improvements in the customer experience aren't likely to result in increased brand loyalty or word-of-mouth marketing until much later, says Don Peppers, founding partner at Peppers & Rogers Group.
Customer experience practitioners can take a page from the CIO's book at becoming more adept at communicating the expected business impact of customer experience investments in terms that organizational leaders can better understand.