How to build better customer experience governance in three stepsby
93% of leaders already have some form of CX governance in their organisation. However, less than half have a successful system.
Governance is a crucial element of customer experience (CX). Gartner defines CX governance as the set of intentionally adopted, formalised internal processes, policies and agreements designed to ensure the effective management of the customer experience across the business.
CX governance seeks to affect actions and decisions by setting operational standards, prioritising projects and clarifying responsibility or accountability for tasks critical to driving improved customer experiences.
According to the Gartner 2020 Customer Experience Innovation Survey, 93% of leaders already have some form of CX governance in their organisation. However, less than half have successfully implemented a system that includes authority over and permanent representation within each department.
This gap represents a challenge for companies looking to move from checking the box on CX governance to fully leveraging this critical capability.
Leaders looking to build an effective CX governance framework should consider the following three steps.
Step 1: Align on CX governance needs
CX governance practices support core business performance by enabling consistent execution and increasing the efficiency of decision making. Four main CX governance principles — create operational standards, check customer impact, enable cross-functional coordination and create enterprise visibility — support these two goals.
These different governance principles are related but operationally distinct. Organisations should assess their degree of need for each CX governance principle to help guide customer experience management efforts across their enterprise.
Step 2: Develop a CX governance framework
Once needs are assessed, gather existing organisational knowledge on governance from across the organisation and consider the specific mechanisms that will make up your CX governance framework and allow you to execute on the CX principles that align with your needs.
For the first CX principle on creating operational standards, convene a group of representatives from all business units and key functional teams. These individuals, sometimes tapped as business unit CX leads or “CX champions,” represent their respective functions and partner with marketing to ensure that proposed operational standards are acceptable given the responsibilities of their respective teams. For example, measuring CX and deploying Voice of the Customer (VoC) is critical for solid customer experience management, but it is often a highly variable practice across disparate functions and business units.
One business services company found business units measuring and reporting customer experience according to its own methods (i.e. different survey lengths, questions, scales, analysis and metrics). Marketing leaders saw an opportunity to help promote consensus by working with IT to select a single VoC technology vendor. The central CX team with the marketing function convened business unit CX leads to define a common VoC approach. The resulting consensus resulted in consistent CX reporting that increased the sharing of CX insights, improved coordination of enterprise-wide CX investments and allowed senior leaders to make apples-to-apples comparisons of CX performance across the business.
Step 3: Ensure enterprise-wide adoption
Although designing a framework of policies, procedures and organisational connections is critical to successful CX governance, equal consideration should be given to design principles that enable easy adoption of the framework by its participants. Successful adoption of a framework can be encouraged by focusing on three key elements:
- Inclusive representation.
- Ease of compliance.
- Clear participation benefit.
Successful CX governance adoption requires high levels of cross-functional coordination. In practice, some organisations empower a single central governance steering committee. Others will find that smaller, project-based steering committees are better suited for their needs. The benefits of a standing committee include institutional visibility and expertise while creating as-needed project-based steering committees can often ensure the attention and participation of critical stakeholders.
Regardless of what forms of CX governance your organisation creates, complex bureaucracy or decision rights for too many decisions can complicate adoption. Project teams need clarity on what decisions they can work to resolve on their own, using appropriate guidelines or priorities, and what small set of decisions should be quickly escalated.
While specific CX governance practices vary across companies, the overarching objectives should be to enable efficient decision making across customer-impacting initiatives and support consistent execution of those initiatives. Assess your CX governance performance gaps, create a customised framework appropriate to their organisational needs and ensure enterprise-wide adoption by gathering a representative group of stakeholders and empowering their active participation in achieving the CX goal.