This guest post comes from Darin Byrne, Senior Director of Professional Services at Wolters Kluwer.
As the summer goes on and the Fourth of July approaches, I’ve found myself thinking once again about the principles that our nation was founded upon. I am reminded that the signing of a document, even one as revered as the Declaration of Independence, was such a decisive point in our history – actually in the history of the world. And I’ve been pondering even more broadly about all of our governing documents, from the Magna Carta to the Constitution: how they came about and how they still affect us today. We agreed amongst ourselves what our goals were, how we would operate as a country, the checks and balances we would put in place to achieve our goals, and then we wrote them down and implemented them, and – even more amazing – we continue to adhere to them today. It really is pretty amazing.
And that, of course, got me thinking about what I do every day. Because, much as we might like it to be true, a bunch of people don’t just show up to work and decide individually what they’re going to do all day—we need guidance in the way of a set of goals and principles. And while a so-called “benevolent dictator” might rule in some companies, the truth is that this is not a sustainable model for a business. In order to achieve your company goals, you have to have guiding principles, an overriding plan, and people to maintain and carry out that plan—that is, governance.
In my own work with Customer Experience, I’ve found over and over again that governance isn’t just helpful—it is essential. You can do things like gathering Voice of the Customer without it, but if you’re not consistently trying to hit some kind of a target within a defined set of principles, you end up just wandering around, instead of focusing on achieving a specific goal. You can start with that initial goal of implementing CX, but you have to connect that back to a structure of governance that can approach your CX goals from a standpoint of strategy and prioritization.
It is essential to implement governance at the start of your CX journey. One of governance’s primary functions in an organization is to assess whether you have the resources and ability – and willingness – to achieve your CX goals. You don’t want to get halfway into a project and realize you don’t have the resources to complete it—or realize that the project won’t actually help the problems you’re having or the things you’d like to improve. If you have governance in place at the get-go, they can and should be able to see, from a high-level perspective, both the organization as it is and the organization as it wishes to be, and will therefore be uniquely equipped to chart its journey from one to the other.
Simply put, you cannot have a successful, long-term CX program without governance to oversee and provide the structures for implementing it. We are taught in school the significance of the thirteen American colonies coming together as a union, stating their agreement to be governed under the system of principles and rules defined in the Constitution, and we would do well to remember that the same principle applies to organizations. Individuals making ad hoc decisions can never be as successful as those same individuals working under the same principles and as a unit—and the way to achieve this unity is through governance.
Throughout Darin’s career, he’s had one consistent mission – for his customers to have the best experience they’ve ever had. In Darin’s current role as Senior Director of Professional Services at Wolters Kluwer, this mission has not only led to high customer advocacy scores, it has also enabled double-digit annual growth over the last eight years.
Darin’s career in serving customers included a variety of responsibilities at Convergys, a leader in providing unparalleled care for its clients and their customers. But it was his first job as a teenage summer camp counselor that ingrained in him the value of an excellent customer experience.
Darin is a lifelong learner and committed to professional craftsmanship. Along the way, he has studied and applied proven disciplines to achieve results, earning credentials of Project Management Professional, a Master’s Certificate in project management from George Washington University, Certified Customer Experience Professional, Convergys Certified Business Consultant, and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. Darin is a member of the CXPA and serves as the Chair of the CX Council for his business unit at Wolters Kluwer.