Your CFO doesn’t care about your customer experience (CX) surveys. She cares about the health of the business, and it’s unlikely she sees a direct link between your survey scores and the measurements she follows.
Meanwhile, your CEO is focused on your customers, but that doesn’t mean he cares about your surveys, either. As one business leader confessed to me, “I keep seeing these survey scores saying we’re doing great. Then I meet with customers who they tell me how frustrated they are. So I don’t believe in the surveys.”
By extension, that means he doesn’t believe in his CX team.
So by focusing on customers’ scores, you’re at risk. Forrester predicts that one in four CX pros will lose their jobs in the year ahead, because they aren’t showing business impact.
Measurements Beat Metrics
Metrics are survey scores – that’s what CX focuses on. We’re really into them. They’re nice and neat, and easier to collect.
Measurements are what the business cares about. But they are trapped in operational systems, making them messy and hard to nail down. Lost customers, reorder rates, order size, service costs, repeat business – those are all measurements with financial impact.
That’s where you grab your CFO’s interest. You’re at risk if you don’t tie your program into these measurements.
The Evolution of CX’s Trouble
I see this story played out repeatedly. A customer-focused leader introduces the concept of CX to the organization and builds a CX team. She believes in the power of CX, and the team puts together a survey system and introduces the Net Promoter Score (NPS) system or the Customer Effort Score to the company. All is right in the world.
Until that leader moves on. That’s when things get dicey.
The new boss isn’t steeped in CX philosophy. So she asks a simple question: “How does this impact the business?” And CX struggles to respond in a compelling way.
This happened to a friend of mine. Her boss was terrific, sharing the CX story throughout the company. She loved working for him. Then his position was eliminated.
His replacement met with her still-new team and shared that he didn’t really understand what they did. Furthermore, he said, “So, you have insights – so what? What are you doing to drive the business?”
Suddenly, my friend and her team were at risk of being among that 1 in 4.
How do you ensure you’re one of the 3 in 4 who will keep their jobs?
Or, better yet, how can you become one of the 25% of companies that are able to quantify CX benefits or achieve a competitive edge?
One way that we’ve seen work well is loosely based on the research shared in our book, How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer? Using Journey Mapping to Drive Customer-Focused Change. My co-author Nicole recently addressed this topic here, too. To do this:
- Understand what the business cares about. Look for the measurements that matter and find a meaty business problem you can attack.
- Identify a journey and customer that impacts that measurement. Start with a journey, because since it involves multiple silos, it likely involves handoffs, a common source of customer friction. It’s also easier to impact than the entire end-to-end experience, as I discussed here. One phrase that came up repeatedly when we interviewed successful CX leaders for our book was “boiling the ocean.” Avoid that pitfall by choosing a focused journey. Identify a clear business problem, then rally your leadership to conquer it.
- Form a team that can create CX impact, as we discussed here and here. Involve every silo that touches the journey, including back-end teams such as IT, Finance, and Legal.
- Involve customers to learn what’s really driving their experience, so you truly understand what’s causing the lost business or low reorder rates. And remember – you can’t create a customer journey map if you don’t involve customers in the process.
- Identify the measurements that matter in the journey. You may have started with a high-level measurement, but you’ll discover many more, such as wait time, number of interactions, and handoffs. Track these as you…
- Drive change. Identify what most needs to change and rally your teams around these problems.
- Don’t forget to record the CX impact you’re having on those business measurements!
It’s the last part that will keep you out of that 1 in 4 at risk – showing how you’re actually impacting the business. And then bring that back to your CFO, so she can validate that you’re truly driving value.
Customer experience has a tremendous ability to impact your business – there’s no shortage of data to demonstrate that on a macro scale. But that doesn’t give you a blank check. You need to show your CX impact if you want to continue to drive change.