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Don’t Just Drive CX Success, Sustain It

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 09/24/2020
sustain acceleration

We’re in the homestretch of my series on how to apply John Kotter’s change management work to customer experience! The penultimate seventh step, Sustain Acceleration, is an important reminder that you can’t rest on your laurels.

As Kotter writes in 8 Steps to Accelerate Change in Your Organization: “So you’ve had a few wins. It can be easy to lift your foot off the gas pedal after experiencing some success. Instead, this is the time to press harder and use those wins as momentum to further fuel the change.”

Focus on the real goal

The most frequent cause of inertia in CX programs is a focus on survey reporting that’s yielding numbers that just won’t budge. That’s when it’s time to face your very own Moment of Truth and discover whether your CX program is really about driving customer-focused change, or simply reporting about the customer experience.

In other words, are you here to create reports or to inspire your troops to something greater?

Great programs build their infrastructure around educating, promoting, and training about customers. Certainly those efforts might incorporate surveys, but they are just a small component – a pitstop, not the destination.

And while those leaders might not like flat survey scores – who does? – since they’re focused on their end goal, those numbers are merely a minor annoyance. Their “true north” is improving outcomes for both customers and the company.

Some of my favorite CX leaders couldn’t tell you their current NPS scores if you paid them. Because the only score that really matters is business success. When your customer experience truly improves – which isn’t necessarily when your survey scores say it does – your customers reward your business by buying more, becoming less expensive to serve, and referring others.

The bottom line? Your customers can’t give you a survey score higher than a perfect 10, but there are infinite opportunities to improve your business success scores.

The sky’s the limit

The key to sustaining results is what you do after you see the needle start to move.

Let’s face it, launching a CX program can be daunting. There’s so much to address that it’s hard to avoid boiling the ocean. A best practice is to find a specific problem to solve, for example, one specific journey that is broken. Starting with a smaller playing field also helps you develop your skills before you tackle larger issues.

To gain traction for and, better yet, accelerate your smaller-scale CX success, you should have your executive champion share with others how CX has driven her business. Get her to tell your story. Then use this to expand your efforts. Move from reactively fixing journeys to proactively creating great experiences.

Remember: great companies don’t fix pain points, they recreate the experience for an emotional outcome. And that outcome, not survey scores, drives tangible business results.

That’s the “true north” you want to aim for. Even the best companies can hit a wall on survey scores, but if you keep the pedal to the metal, you’re never going to run out of opportunities to improve customer and company outcomes.


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