Five telltale signs you're not fully embracing the benefits of your customer experience teamby
Organisational focus on customer experience is growing but are you making the most of your CX resources?
According to Zendesk, companies started in the past five years are 63% more likely to have a chief customer officer and findings from the likes of Gartner reveal that more than two-thirds of companies now compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from only 36% in 2010!
Despite this eagerness to put customer experience on the podium it deserves, there are still a vast amount of companies wasting their valuable resources by failing to truly embrace what their customer experience team can do for them.
Here are five telltale signs to find out if you may be one of them.
1. Your customer doesn’t have a seat in the boardroom
I’m not talking about a physical seat for Mrs Customer to sit alongside your executive team (although for some that works!), think more metaphorically. If you’re not talking about your customer in the boardroom then something is going wrong - executive meetings without ‘customer’ influence are like episodes of Friends with Ross missing... lacking.
Your executive meetings are where key decisions are made and important topics discussed - that can’t happen successfully without customer insight to hand. To that avail there should be someone in that room acting as your customer advocate, voicing customer opinions and bringing customer insight to the table which should steer decision making.
2. Services and products are designed without customer experience collaboration
It isn’t uncommon to hear of departments working in silos but it’s quite scary when you see design teams working without the support of the organisation's customer experience function. This is a classic example of ‘I know the customer best’. Now this isn’t to say that design teams aren’t good at user research or user testing, and it isn’t to say they won’t take into consideration customer ‘wants’ - it is to say, however, that your customer experience team has a vast amount of holistic insight to share which could be hugely beneficial to the design process, so why not engage them?
Customer-centred design should feature heavily whenever new products or services are being developed. Bringing more people into the design process can create friction - with a persistent need for fast-paced and agile progress, adding another cook in the kitchen can be a point of contention - but that friction can also be a game-changer. Having a prominent ‘Voice of the Customer’ throughout the design process can steer you away from deadends sooner.
3. Operational success measures don’t feature customer metrics
KPIs, SLAs, OKRs….. There’s no end to the acronyms that help us keep an eye on how well we are all doing. I’m personally a fan of operational success measures when they are used to support performance, and even more so when they help us understand and improve the customer experience.
Why do I like customer-focused metrics so much? Because the more your company’s attention is focused on outcomes important to your customers, the better your company will perform on outcomes important to the business.
NPS alone just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore, you should have a comprehensive selection of customer-focused metrics that provide a holistic picture of how well you are meeting customer outcomes. Think first-time resolution, average hold time, % of channel hopping, CSAT, employee satisfaction, CES and more. Create your own Customer Experience Index that gives you a clear and full picture.
4. Non customer-facing teams don’t see that part they play in the customer experience
Finance, IT, the office caterers - all typical examples of the teams who don’t typically have a direct touchpoint with your customers and who may not see the part they play in creating your customer experience. But if Bev from finance doesn’t sign the wage cheques in time, Sarah from IT knocks off the VPN and Dave from the kitchen puts salt instead of sugar in the Jam Roly Poly you will have customers without compensation, remote employees who can’t access the server and an unhappy CEO with a salty pudding - all of which equal bad employee experience and as a result a bad customer experience.
A great customer experience team will embed themselves across the entire organisation and work with all departments - helping them to see exactly the part they play. Your CX lead will develop a collaborative customer experience strategy, one which is bought into, understood and influenced by all.
5. Your customers' voice is quiet
Organisations on a journey to customer-centricity often have at least one thing in common - they are pretty good at collecting customer feedback. Getting a shiny new Voice of the Customer (VoC) platform and setting up some customer listening posts is one of the first things to typically occur and shouts “Hey, we’re listening!”. But are you?
A couple of things can commonly go wrong here. The feedback starts flooding in but without a structured way of managing the insight, the insight becomes overwhelming and gets left in a VoC black hole. Or, the insight is utilised to some degree but is shared with only those of privilege. Both scenarios result in ineffective VoC programmes.
Your customer experience team should be empowered to use your customers' voice to influence activities occurring across the organisation - it’s almost a given that frontline teams should be hearing customer feedback on a daily basis but it’s equally important that the customers' voice is heard loudly everywhere. Great feedback is motivational gold dust and insight (positive or negative) is the catalyst that sparks change so make the sharing of insight a big part of your regular communication framework.
Having a dedicated customer experience lead or team is an incredibly valuable asset, just make sure you aren’t wasting it.
I spent over a decade in the not-for-profit sector, supporting organisations with the most vulnerable customers to deliver a beautifully curated experience. I then spent two years working for Europes second largest credit management company driving their Customer Experience Strategy forward within a fantastic leadership team. Here, I became a...