How to gain CX project approval

Turning no into yes

Many organisations cite that improving customer experience is among their biggest priorities. However, despite the growing focus, internationally recognised measures are indicating that it is not improving. A recent Forrester study across 19 industries showed that the progress of customer experience improvement has remained stagnant for the third year in a row.

With all the effort that companies are putting into improving their customer experience, why aren’t organisations seeing significant improvements? It is little wonder why organisations have questions about whether implementing CX initiatives will actually drive desired business outcomes. 

Winning hearts and minds of the leadership team in seeking approval for your customer experience project is the first hurdle that must be overcome, so it’s imperative to be equipped to help them understand the business case for the project. Senior Leadership and departments need to understand the proposed benefits of the CX project for them to provide the support required. 

Before presenting CX projects to senior leadership there are four key questions you must be able to confidently answer to attract company-wide support. Our clients have also shared their thoughts on how their recent projects delivered against these questions.

1. How will this project improve our business results and help us meet our KPIs?

Any business changes that are derived from a customer experience project must demonstrate business value. If CX initiatives don’t deliver business growth, the leadership team will disengage with the initiatives and cease to support them. Customer-driven change must have the support of senior stakeholders if it is to have any chance of success.  This means all initiatives must not only align with the overall organisational strategy but also connect to the business context of what value they will drive such as reduced churn, increased repeat purchase, reduced cost to serve and/or referral.  

Connecting to the core business drivers, bringing operational staff along the journey and building alignment and collaboration are the key ingredients to the successful implementation of CX initiatives.

2. Will the CX insights be useful, actionable and help us differentiate our brand?

The quality of insights should be measured by their ability to present customer truth in a way that creates an impetus for change. If insights don’t drive empathy and connect with employees at an emotional level, or they are not sufficiently prescriptive to withstand the scrutiny of senior management, they will not change behaviour. Insights must be able to be operationalised through the implementation of improved products, services and customer experiences. 

Customer insights must reveal stories about customers underlying needs, their emotional state and mindsets including what, why and how they specifically want you to help them. This depth of insight will enable teams to connect to their customers and incite the organisation to enact the changes needed.

Ensure you have a guaranteed approach to generate insights from customer experience research that are both surprising and actionable.

3. Don’t we have enough research already?

In today's environment, customer data is available from multiple sources. There is more risk of having too much customer data than too little. An even bigger risk is that there is customer research that has been undertaken and not acted upon. This can occur due to fragmented and disorganised data, hidden in separate locations and siloed systems. Pulling the data together, analysing it then acting upon it becomes overwhelming with the problem being too much data, information and ideas to address the issues rather than too little.

There is also the question of whether an organisation has the right kind of data and research including the answers to the questions of what customers are really looking for. Without the right information, rigourous frameworks and processes for synthesising it and prioritising ideas, organisations can be tempted to act on intuition, rather than solving the real customer problem.

Have a proven process ready to implement the right initiatives, not the ones that you assume customers will like, but rather those that solve customers most important problems.

4. Can’t we do this ourselves?

For a business to achieve true customer-led transformation, they must be prepared to take on insights that have the ability to challenge the organisation. With the escalating expectations of customers, they are no longer satisfied with the service that they were happy with 12 months or 2 years ago. To really understand customer emotions and motivations, often an objective and external approach is needed to deliver deep cross-category customer insight.

Understand that customers are comparing their interactions with your organisation across different categories and applying a “last app used” lens to assessing their level of satisfaction. Ensure you know before you start what expectations and experiences your customers are using as their baseline. What is their best last app used.

For CX projects to be valuable and drive business change, they must be able to inform organisations what their customers desire most and how they can help customers achieve these outcomes. Organisations must differentiate themselves with a customer-informed strategy that will convince customers to stay. If customers cannot achieve their desired outcomes, they will leave. To deliver a return to your organisation, CX projects must answer this question: If your organisation disappeared tomorrow, would you be missed?

Read the original article from Proto here.

About Damian Kernahan

 Damian Kernahan

Damian is the CEO of Proto Partners. To help Australian organisations keep more of their brand promises, Proto Partners pioneered the introduction of Service Design to Australian business back in 2008.

Proto is considered Australia’s leading expert on Growth as a Service, Service Design and Innovation and Customer Experience Management. The Proto team have written extensively for Fast Thinking magazine and co-founded the Australian Service Design Network. Our keynotes, Service Design Intensives and consulting provide clear growth strategies for brands and organisations that want to successfully transform their customers experience and in doing so transform their organisations growth trajectory.

Now, with a growing team, Proto work with some of Australia’s largest organisations to help them understand their customers and then help design a superior service and customer experience.

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