Armed forces

How to enlist a volunteer army to drive CX change


Customer experience teams are often small. So if you want to drive change and align the business on CX objectives, you'll need to find creative ways to spur action that permeates your organisation.

12th Jan 2021
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One thing about being in CX – you’re unlikely to have a huge staff. Typically, that’s deliberate. CX doesn’t – and can’t! – own the entire experience. That’s what all those other departments do. Your role is to influence them, and align the entire organisation on CX objectives.

We recently conducted a survey into journey maturity in partnership with Usermind and Megan Burns, and what we found was a pretty even split: 30% of organisations have either no one working full-time on CX, or just one person; another 36% have 2-5 people in their CX programme; and 31% have six or more CX team members.

Strength in numbers

This leads right into Kotter’s fourth step in change management: Enlist a Volunteer Army.* Excellence requires many hands. There’s no way a small team can directly influence every touchpoint and interaction. You have to find creative ways to spur action that permeates your organisation.

In our interviews with CX leaders, we found the most effective ones have engaged front-line staff on CX objectives, creating a sea of advocates who support the program and its aims.

Utilizing a second change management model – Prosci’s ADKAR – only strengthens your chances of success. To build your volunteer CX army, make sure your communications are compelling, so that recruits are:

  • Aware of the CX programme.
  • Desire to join it.
  • Know how to support it.
  • Are Able to support it.
  • And have their support continually Reinforced.

To accomplish this, you’re going to have to move beyond PowerPoint to engage your broader employee community. Fortunately, there are many tools in your CX tool belt that can help with this.

Strategies that work

I’m a big fan of customer rooms. (I wrote about Prudential’s a few years ago.) A customer room is a very visible way to share customer needs and influence your army, especially when it’s paired with a pledge to support customers. But don’t let just anyone sign the pledge – commitment science shows you’ll be more successful if you make your employees earn the right to sign!

Videos are another highly effective tool to engage the masses. Viewers take in videos on a different cognitive level, making them one of the most potent ways to build empathy. Even better is to bring in a customer to talk with teams face to face, though due to COVID-19 concerns, you may need to do this virtually for the time being.

I’ve interviewed more than one employee who is still talking about the incredible impact of a customer visit that happened three years ago. This is notable for two reasons: it speaks to the power of customer visits, but it also highlights their scarcity. Stop missing out on this opportunity and start benefiting from its impact.

Extend your reach

As you and your small team (if you have even that) work to engage silos, creating a volunteer CX army is a terrific way to generate excitement for change, amplify your efforts, and enhance your influence.

Driving customer-focused change can be a lonely job. But it doesn’t have to be.

What are you doing to build your army of CX advocates?

*Change management geeks may notice that Kotter’s original Step 4 was “Communicate the Change Vision” that was created in Step 3. Over the years, he’s revised it.

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