To build support and consensus around the practice of customer experience, I often tell my coaching clients that the very first thing that you must do is: you’ve got to ring the money bell. Recognize that, at the end of the day, we are all here to grow our business—and that’s what your C-Suite cares about.
Leaders should do the following three things when you take on the responsibilities of a chief customer officer or head of customer experience.
As a CCO You Must Create One Version of the Truth
Bring the CFO, CMO, CEO—all the alphabet people—and do the customer math. But the key is to do a common version of the math. What’s the volume and the expected value of incoming customers? That’s how good you were at acquisition. But we also have to understand: how many customers did we lose? Volume and value. Because one in is not equal to one out.
Let’s say you’re selling five product categories. Each one of those product categories is going to present their math differently and roll up their red, yellow and green dots based on how they’re doing in their category. But the CEO needs to care about the big picture; as an enterprise, are we earning and keeping more valued customers than we’re losing?
Once we have this number, we can then think about the human whose life we impact, and we can get our leaders pounding their hands on the table and going, “Why, why, what happened?”
That’s where all these other things we know about—the journey et cetera—become a part of the blueprint for telling the story of the “why.” But we often jump to the story, and we don’t acknowledge the business imperative, which is the growth part.
Look at Impact in Real Terms
Here’s the other thing: I want people to answer the above question in whole numbers, not in retention rates because retention rates give you a false positive.
I also believe we need to take people off the spreadsheet and we want to give people a little agit—a little sick in the belly.
For instance, if we brought in 100 customers, show your executives: what is the expected value of those customers? But in that same quarter, did we lose 55 customers? What were they worth? What if they were worth three times more than those hundred we brought in? Or what if 40% of them downgraded what they bought and were now worth less?
Unite Your Team with this Board-Level Metric
My mantra about this measurement process is: clunky is good. You’re not going to have it all perfect. That’s why you must get the CEO, the CMO, the sales guy, and definitely the CFO at the table so they have a voice in building this metric with you. They need to be your partners, because ultimately what we want is for this number to be a board-level metric.
The other cool thing about this metric is that you can’t cross-tab your way out of it. You can’t beg for a better number. And you can’t refute the validity of the customers answering your survey questions, which are all the things that happen in our traditional measure.
In other words, it gives all of your leaders a common “talk track” to say, “As a result of the experience we all delivered, did we earn the right to grow?” Because two things have to happen to get the kind of buy-in that will move your customer experience forward: It’s got to be simple. It’s got to be irrefutable.