A key step to improving the customer experience is to assess your current CX performance. So how and when should you do it?
The perennial problem for a customer experience programme is putting plans into action that can last the distance.
Take DHL as a case study. Back in 2015, its then-vice president of customer experience, Kim MacGillavry, explained to MyCustomer how difficult it was to shift its proposals for CX improvement from the meeting room to the real world:
“We came to the point where we said we've done our homework,” said MacGillavry. “We've worked out together what the customer-centric processes are and how they need to work.
“Once we concluded that and we figured out the blueprint for the organisation, we then had to bring that into the organisation - the hard part.
“It's exactly at that juncture that we said, ‘OK we figured everything out, we go from theory now to practice. We go from design into implementation. Before we do, let's do a stock take on how ready we really are."
This stock-taking phase is crucial to any customer experience programme. As MacGillavry adds, customer experience is an ongoing process of refinement, requiring a continual assessment of your business’s maturity along the road to success. Therefore, a key pathway for many brands to consider in the process of ‘stock-taking’ is a CX maturity assessment.
In DHL’s case, a maturity model was devised in-house and involved a short survey for board members and leadership teams, which was then discussed in order to evaluate gaps between their brand perception scores that indicate where they want to be and their assessment scores, which indicate where the company actually was heading.
“Drill down on the gaps and agree on concrete measures to close them,” says MacGillavry, in light of DHL’s experience undertaking of a maturity assessment. “Get the message across that if there are major gaps between their belief and self-assessment or between managers and employees the chances of being successful at implementing a CX programme are unlikely.”
So what should a maturity assessment include? InMoment’s VP of communication, Lisa Davies, who herself has been a key figurehead in developing their assessment survey for other brands to analyse their CX maturity, suggests that a common assessment comprises of four key assessment areas:
Cultural: Organisational alignment, people, and culture.
Technological: Customer listening and technology.
Analytical: Customer intelligence and action.
Business value: Measurement and ROI framework.
Within these areas, the questions can often be subjective and can therefore require tweaking depending on the organisation, however an example of the question sets a brand wants to ask of its CX approach might be:
Does your brand vision and purpose align with your customer experience approach and attitude?
Do you have a documented CX vision that is shared across the whole organisation?
Have your leaders been trained as champions of your customer experience and are they leading implementation of CX strategy?
Are there defined processes for implementing operational improvements based on customer feedback and insight?
Is customer feedback and intelligence shared and discussed cross-functionally and across the wider organisation?
Is there is a cross-functional group responsible for CX governance?
Are you using a customer relationship management (CRM) system in management of CX programmes and end-to end engagement?
Have you adopted and are you currently utilising predictive analytics to pre-empt the customer from having a negative experience?
Do you have and are you utilising a customer feedback and/or Voice of Customer platform?
Does your organisation provide dashboards and reporting to employees that provide customer intelligence and insights?
When customer feedback analysis uncovers a problem, does the company follow a clear process for developing solutions?
Have you embraced a scoring system to drive the right behaviours across the organisation?
As a company, do you measure lifetime customer value and link this to outcomes/commercial success?
Is the entire company aware of the business value of achieving your customer experience vision?
Do you have buy-in from finance on the metrics that will be tracked to calculate the value of improving CX?
Does your organisation have short-term and long-term CX goals?
The end goal of asking these questions should be to establish how equipped your organisation is for implementing a rigorous change programme in the name of CX. However, the question set should also be tailored to your organisation, and be answered by the right stakeholders, as CX Pilots explain in their work on CX maturity models:
“How confident are you that you have a comprehensive examination that tells you exactly where your organisation was and were it needs to go? Chances are, you aren’t quite sure of the value of the outcome.
“Are you left with a measure that helps you know what to focus on, first…last? Is it helping you isolate the vital few vs. the trivial many? Are the people who are closest to the customer experiences, those on the front line, contributing to the assessment? Does your leadership feel the importance of their involvement? Does finance understand what scaling more positive experiences can yield?”
MacGillavry believes that ultimately, brevity is important. “At the end of it [in DHL’s case] we felt we had a very short questionnaire – because it is short in comparison to other maturity models – but one in which the questions are so well tested and synced that there is no need for further questions,” says MacGillavry. “Those questions alone provide you with a very good steer on the areas where you’re good or not good enough in order to do this.
“A maturity model offers leadership teams a good insight into the gap between where the company is and where they want it to be. It also dissects each dimension into the concrete things that it can - and should - do to improve and close the gaps. This is therefore a useful tool for customer experience executives and practitioners to guide them and their leadership through the change process.”
Take InMoment’s customer experience maturity assessment here
Read more about DHL Freight’s CX maturity model here
Chris is Editor of MyCustomer. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News. He joined MyCustomer in 2014.