We had a great discussion on LinkedIn a few weeks ago about the disconnect between customer experience and leadership. This post kicked things off:
As I interview CX leaders and CEOs, it’s been fascinating (but not surprising) to hear the vast differences in focus.
CX people focus on survey results; their thoughts are on how to improve the experience in order to improve survey results. Since they often can’t track the survey’s impact on revenue, costs, or retention, they spend their time on what they can measure – promoters vs. detractors.
CEOs focus on the business, defined as improved revenue and decreased costs. Unless the survey helps them do that, it’s just an interesting tidbit to add to the pile of unrelated data.
COVID is a strong call to action for CX to show how they impact the business. Your CEO is making hard decisions on where to cut investment to keep the company afloat. If you don’t show how you’re impacting revenue or costs, leadership may find CX an easy area to de-invest.
The takeaway: Unless you can translate scores to dollars, you’re unlikely to get leadership’s attention.
While each part of the business has its own metrics, most represent tangible financial results: Sales obviously uses revenue; Marketing tracks leads, which lead to sales; and Operations quantifies cost savings. CX typically tracks satisfaction and effort – neither of which is tangible.
But just because survey scores don’t represent dollars doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Some leaders do care deeply about scores. But most leaders focus on what makes them successful: growing the business.
Your CEO isn’t trying to create more promoters. If she is, she’d create a referral program. She’s trying to get customers to spend more, order more often, and stay with you longer.
It’s your job to show her how you’re helping her to do that. Often it’s just a matter of connecting the dots…once you know which dots to connect.
One relatively easy way to determine whether your leadership cares about your scores is to find out whether they look at them when you’re not in the room presenting them. If they don’t, you’d better rethink your reporting.
One client – who ties their scores directly to metrics like product margin and share of wallet – had over 1,000 leaders and managers viewing their scorecard each month. It got to the point where, to save on licensing costs, they had to limit views to only upper management. Wouldn’t we all love that problem?
It reminds me of a quote by American theologian Thomas Merton: “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” This probably isn’t the circumstance Mr. Merton had in mind, but the concept still applies: make sure your ladder’s on the right wall before it’s too late.
Customer sentiment is critical. But stellar scores are not going to save a company with declining revenue. To thrive during challenging financial times (and make the most of boom times), your best bet is to climb the wall built on dollar signs.
Connect with me on LinkedIn to join future discussions!