Don’t Ask How to Get Executives to Care About Your CX Program; Ask Instead How You Can Support Your Executives

I go to a lot of Customer Experience (CX) events. Although I learn a lot of new things, I also hear some common concerns throughout all of them. No matter the venue, you can be certain that somebody in the audience will ask a presenter, “How can I get executives to care about customers?”

That’s the wrong question. Believe it or not, your executives actually do care about your customers. These are smart people, and they know that pleasing customers is the secret to success.

They simply don’t care about your so-called “customer experience” program.

Your executives got to their existing level without your NPS surveys and charts, and they didn’t need a journey map to become the COO. So, why do they need it now? They’re too busy solving problems with churn rate, high costs, and share of wallet. These are the KPIs they care about – not some new-fangled “customer effort score.” Trying to add one more KPI on their plate is frustrating for both of you.

Instead of trying to make your executives care about you, start by showing you care about them and their problems. That’s how you get a seat at the table.

I’m writing this while flying back from an Action Workshop with WPS Health Insurance in Madison, WI, because I’m inspired by the deliberate approach used by their CX team.

They contacted me a year ago because they were starting their CX program and knew that a journey map would help inform their approach, but they didn’t know where to begin.

Where should they begin? That’s the right question to ask. As a B2B2C company (or even a B2B2B2C, since they may go through agents and employers before the end customer), there are many customers they can map – agents, employers, employees, Medicare customers with different plans, government program members – each with many different journeys.

Rather than guess, they knew they needed to be strategic in their choice since this first journey would establish the success of their program. So, we worked with them to build a very deliberate approach. We started by reviewing all the data we could find – operational data, strategy decks, syndicated data, survey scores – anything that would speak to customer opportunities and challenges. Next, we interviewed their top thirteen leaders to find out their concerns and strategies, which led to more data to review. Finally, we met with their CX team and their top four executives to review the data, share several options, and align on the final journey to map. This ensured that their journey mapping – and by extension, their CX program – was focused on supporting the executive strategy. Just as importantly, we agreed on the KPIs that the executives would review to determine the success of the initiative.

While the resulting customer and journey are proprietary, I can share a small spoiler: the KPI they selected wasn’t a survey score, but instead a business metric. As it should always be.

Unfortunately, this deliberate approach is rare. Most companies are in such a rush to start their journey mapping that they don’t take the time to establish the right focus.

This is why I’m confident that WPS will be in the minority who successfully drive change from their journey mapping. Rather than trying to get the executives to focus on them, they instead took the time to ensure that they’re focused on solving the executives’ problems.

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