The Secret To Making Your CX Initiative A Success
The difference between your latest CX initiative being a flavour of the month buzzword with little effect and an embedded program that has lasting impact is good change management.
Change expert John Kotter defines change management as: “an approach to transition individuals, teams, and organizations to a desired future state.”
With most, if not all, CX initiatives the desired future state is for the company to be more customer-centric.
So what are the chances of your CX initiative failing? According to the Harvard Business Review (May 2000), about 70%. That’s right, less than a third of change initiatives make a difference.
So as a CX Manager, its important that you have a good grasp of the fundamentals of change management to be successful in your role. Here are some of the things you should be thinking about with any new initiative you’re planning on launching:
- Secure sponsorship. Any CX Manager worth her salt will tell you that without executive sponsorship your CX initiative is dead in the water. But it doesn’t stop there. Identify sponsors (I like to call them champions) throughout all levels of your organisation to help you influence and inspire others to change. These champions will be executives, middle managers, team leaders, and/or sole contributers that others can readily ask questions of and be motivated by. In his Eight Step Process For Leading Change, Kotter refers to this as “creating a guiding coalition”.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Behind gaining executive support, ensuring people are bought into your strategy by communicating with them is the most important thing you can do. Change management is people focussed. You cannot achieve business change objectives without altering the way people work and behave. So make sure you motivate people to want to change rather than forcing change upon them. That means communicating with them throughout the process. Before you initiate the change, ensure people understand why you’re making it (“communicate the vision for buy-in” – Kotter), how its going to affect them, when its going to happen, who they can turn to for help and what they need to do to support it. After the change, regularly communicate results and explain what supplementary actions are being taken to ensure achievement of the overall goal.
- Focus on results. What needs to happen for you to achieve your end goal? What targets need to be hit? Set clear, non-negotiable goals and then design incentives to ensure they are met. For example, a Voice of the Customer initiative might set Net Promoter Score targets for individuals, teams, and offices. There might also be targets set for response times for negative feedback.
- Continuously monitor progress. To ensure you are following your intended path, continually monitor the progress of your CX initiative once its been implemented and make the necessary changes if you find you’re veering off course (fine tuning).
- Generate quick wins. To demonstrate the value of your initiative and win over cynics, get some short-term runs on the board. This could be fixing broken processes that could be potentially affecting customer satisfaction, modifying salesperson behaviour to improve sales or even just publishing positive customer feedback.
- Identify and overcome barriers to change. These will usually be the employees who are most impacted by your initiative but other barriers to change may include processes, systems, technology, culture, and location. Determine what they are and then work to either neutralise or overcome them.
- Incorporate changes into the organisational culture. Adapt company KPI’s, remuneration and hiring policies to deeply embed your CX change within the company culture.
- Never let up. As the protagonist for change, people within your organisation will be looking to you for guidance and inspiration. Be dogged in your approach to making your CX initiative successful.
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill