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Cynthia Clark | April 19, 2012

10 Lessons in Transforming Customer Experience

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road sign.jpgChange is exciting, but it can also be daunting. This means that drivers of change have a difficult task on their hands, convincing their colleagues that such a change will be beneficial for the whole organization.

Despite the best intentions, organizations often encounter problems when attempting to transform customer experience. According to Lior Arussy, president of Strativity Group, one of the major mistakes that organizations make in their transformation journey is thinking that what's being proposed has already been tried. "You need to rethink your strategy," Arussy said during The Conference Board's Customer Experience Leadership Conference.

Arussy identified 10 questions that drivers of change need to ask in order to execute a successful transformation:

  1. What's the business problem? The first step that organizations need to take in their journey to transform customer experience is to identify the financial driver and define the customer experience as a value proposition.
  2. Where are we going? Drivers of change need to create an exciting vision rather than focusing solely on the problem and becoming "the bad news" department. Instead, they should define an exciting future that the whole company wants to be part of.
  3. Where are the experts? Enthusiasm isn't sufficient and common sense isn't a plan. Instead change agents need to develop a detailed plan for execution and recognize the available skill set within the organization. Moreover, they need to demonstrate they have the skills to bring about the needed change.
  4. Are you holistic? Rather than compete with other initiatives, customer experience transformation needs to be integrated with other projects. It should complement them and provide direction.
  5. Does what you measure matter? Companies need to develop measurement programs that make sense and unify the whole organization around these customer metrics.
  6. Do you see a single customer? Silos have to be broken and customer information from different departments needs to be unified to create a holistic view of the customer. This will help support decision making.
  7. What's your denial? There will always be people who doubt a transformation plan, so change agents need to demonstrate a 24-month path, which shows that there aren't any shortcuts to bring about cultural changes that will lead to a better customer experience.
  8. Where's the CEO? C-suite buy-in is an essential ingredient, and active involvement by the CEO is not optional. It's his job to bust silos and there's no transformation without a budget.
  9. What business are you in? We're in the people business and companies need a strong people program to bring about change. It's the only way to convince employees that this is a good and necessary transformation.
  10. Who's in charge? Avoid complete centralization. Either everyone's in charge or nobody is. Develop accountability at every touchpoint and develop an ambassadors and experts network.

Finally, once the transformation has been implemented, organizations need to celebrate. Arussy says "celebrate big and often" and recognize the early adaptors and heroes in a big way. This way, change agents will demonstrate that they were able to bring about the necessary transformation.


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