Check Your Organization's Customer Experience Alignment

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
The new challenge for today's business leaders is how to truly develop a CX strategy that crosses all customer channels and distinguishes one's brand from the competition.

It comes as no surprise that Customer Experience (CX) is one of the most highly discussed topics in organizations today. In fact, a recent survey of 1,300 senior executives in 18 countriesshows that 97 percent of business executives believe CX is critical to their success. And, 93 percent say that improving CX is one of the top three priorities for the next two years.

The challenge is not in understanding the importance of CX, as we have clearly passed that point. The new challenge for today's business leaders is how to truly develop a CX strategy that crosses all customer channels and distinguishes one's brand from the competition. An effective CX strategy is one that has alignment across the organization.

Do you truly know how your organization is currently performing when it comes to delivering a positive, consistent, and brand-relevant customer experience? You may be surprised. The same study uncovered an interesting perception chasm between what executives think about the experience that they provide customers, versus what customers think about the experience that they receive. This large chasm shows that conflict may be creating these perception and execution chasms.

For example, business executives underestimate the importance of the customer experience on behavior. Forty-nine percent of executives believe customers will switch brands due to a poor customer experience, yet 89 percent of customers say that they actually have switched because of a poor experience. In addition, when it comes to execution, businesses seem to be stuck in idle. Ninety-one percent of survey respondents want to be a CX leader, but 37 percent are just getting started with a formal CX initiative.

It's clear that providing a great customer experience cannot exist if an organization has internally opposed priorities. This is the largest impediment to CX strategy success.Businesses must align organizational goals between departments and lines of business to facilitate the best customer experience possible. In the survey, executives identified siloed organizations and conflicting key performance indicators between business units as one of the biggest obstacles to delivering the best possible CX.

Uncovering alignment issues within your CX strategy is not as easy as knowing when your car is out of alignment. In your car, you feel it and know immediately when things are not running smoothly. You don't have that same perspective when your CX is out of alignment. But why? Because your customer is in the driver's seat. In fact, you're not even a passenger in the car. So how do you get the perspective needed to check your organization's CX alignment? You must put yourself in your customers' shoes and take the same journey that they take with your organization. Only then will it become clear in which direction the car is pulling.

You can achieve this perspective with a journey mapping exercise. Journey mapping helps you understand what it is like for your customer to interact with your business. It goes beyond customer-facing functions to help people from different departments work together in a more customer-centric manner. Once you have mapped the customer journey, your customer highs and lows become very apparent. From there, you can prioritize the next steps in your CX strategy. This includes prioritizing disruptive channels such as mobile and social, recognizing how to obtain the "quick wins" in digestible pieces, and growing from these touch points.If you are interested in exploring journey mapping further, you can start by reviewing this CX journey mapping toolkit.

Not only do you have to break down the organizational silos for CX alignment, you have to break down siloed systems and data. Skipping over systems and data in your CX strategy would be like building a house and putting in plumbing and electrical before you build the foundation and frame the house. It just doesn't make sense.

Businesses should discover a single source of truth across the entire customer relationship. The goal is a 360-degree view of the customer across all touch points, and this can't be achieved unless you have data that is shared across the entire customer lifecycle. The business executives who participated in the Oracle survey noted a planned 18 percent increase in spending on CX-related technologies over the next two years. At the top of their technology wish list are business intelligence and customer analytics solutions and an integrated customer view across channels.

Getting alignment is critical in developing a CX strategy that results in positive, consistent, and brand-relevant experiences for your customers. In the survey, successful executives admitted that there were lessons learned along the way. They improved upon their CX strategy, and, with hindsight, pointed out the two most CX successful projects: building a training program and incentives for employees to offer a great experience and updating company core values to include the need to provide the most appropriate experience to all customers. Clearly, companies with advanced CX initiatives know alignment is critical and would advise other CX executives to do the same.