Getting organisational buy-in for CX: How to identify and engage the outliers


If heads of customer experience are to make their CX programmes a success, they need to not only engage the advocates in the organisation, but also the outliers. 

13th Sep 2022

In doing this work, you might find people who feel they were already doing part of it, who don’t understand your role, or who feel like “you’re getting in their stuff.” That’s natural!

What we need, as we lead the work and as we unite ourselves as a group driving the organisation toward a way of improving lives, is to understand who’s an advocate and who’s an outlier. Not to name names or build a list, but to understand how to bring the outliers in, how to hold them closer, and how to understand why they’re outliers.

Let me give you an example.

I’m working with a client, bringing them through my maturity map framework, helping the organisation and the leaders understand what they’re doing today, how they’re doing it, and how it’s actually not supporting customers’ lives.

We’ve identified a couple of really specific customer experiences that are not great for customers. We’ve done the work to bring the leaders together, we’ve created a consensus around some actions, and we’ve even renamed those actions from a customer goal point of view.

Understand the reason they're outliers

In doing this work, several people are sitting on the fence, and so we’re trying to understand what their issues are. Three or four others really don’t want to participate in the work. What’s interesting is when we found out why they don’t. There were several specific reasons.

Number one, they felt they were already doing the job; they felt they were leading the work already and that this was something inadvertently being taken away from them.

Offer to co-lead the work

What we’ve done with those folks was offer to co-lead this project with them. Immediately, as we made that shift, we moved these folks from being outliers, not yet to being advocates, but they’re moving in that direction. By giving them what they thought was their power taken away, we’re building a bridge.

Now they’re co-leading this work with us and it’s shifting everything.

As we do this work across the organisation, it’s important to understand not only the people who are gung ho - because we tend to gravitate toward those people - but also to understand why someone’s an outlier.

It may not be just that they’re a curmudgeon; there may be real fundamental reasons. They may feel that it’s financially a problem or that it’s operationally not correct. By getting to the bottom of what’s driving people and their outlier-ness, their not wanting to get on board, we can find a way to bring them into the work. If you don’t, at the end of the day, what we know about this work is - so much of it - is about the underbelly.

If you don’t understand what motivates the outlier and why they’re being that way, you’re going continue to build a community of outliers, and it will consistently get in your way of moving the work forward.

Here’s your takeaway:

  1. Know the outliers and the advocates.
  2. Understand the reason why someone’s an outlier. Get to know their motivation.
  3. Give them a spotlight; invite them to co-lead the work with you.

I guarantee this will start shifting people to wanting to be a part of the work!

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