The Basics of Establishing and Operationalizing Your CX Foundation

Episode 137


In today’s episode, I explore the basics of establishing a core CX foundation for your organization with Darin Byrne, Vice President of Client Experience and Delivery at Wolters Kluwer, a global provider of professional information, software solutions, and services for clinicians, nurses, accountants, lawyers, tax specialists, and finance, audit, compliance, and regulatory sectors.

Darin and I chat about customer experience as a mindset, and how he was able to define and frame his role in a way that provided clarity for the rest of the organization to understand. This conversation is great for leaders interested in learning how to develop a solid base for customer and employee experience within their organization and then expound upon that framework. 

Get Senior Leadership to Understand Your CX Plans

When Darin came into his role as VP of CX and Delivery, the CX department already existed. But he had been working at the company for 10 years already and saw this as an opportunity to truly make some changes in the company and overhaul the CX program. He knew that there were a lot of support teams that he’d be able to leverage to get the work done and pulled them in to start getting everyone on the same page. How did Darin start? Like many other leaders in this role, he began collecting VOC data, NPS reports, complementary data, and spent time talking to people in his department. He pieced together critical “to-do” items that his team needed to have on their roadmap in order to make the customer experience better. He put together a one-page roadmap and brought it to the senior leadership team.

How did he present the journey map to leadership? Darin understood the importance of uniting the team, so he laid the groundwork for the plan before presenting the full journey. He shared his research and external knowledge from sources like CXPA (of which, I’m a co-founder), Forrester, Temkin Group, and others. Darin also showcased the practical impact of CX benefits to further support the framework for laying down the groundwork.

  • Established an internal CX council and governance. From here, it was uniting the functional silos into the same room to understand where the business was, how they were doing, and where things could be better.
  • Develop a CX charter. With his council, Darin and the team began planning for how they were going to operationalize CX going forward.
  • Understand tracking metrics. Darin and his team started looking at how system availability, service, average speed to answer, call quality, etc. impacted customer outcomes.

Ultimately, Darin found that once senior leadership was really committed to focusing on a customer-centric agenda, they were able to take on more of the work from the CX council and drive the agenda forward. With this new commitment from the senior leadership, Darin and his team have been able to get their CX efforts on a regular cadence. Every year they conduct an NPS study, they started an advisory board for one of the customer segments, and are chartering key initiatives for improving CX in 2019.

Showcase the practical impact of CX benefits to your leadership team in order to further support the groundwork to get it started. #CustomerExperience Click To Tweet

Create Organizational CX Cadence

Darin explained that having a regular cadence for operations helped them stay on track when it came operationalizing their CX efforts. This meant, staying on track with how often senior leadership team should meet and the specific topics they were going to address according to the type of meeting they were holding. Darin and his team now have a better understanding of KPIs they need to report on and key initiatives to monitor; they also have an improved system for initiative accountability and reporting. 

With this new cadence in place, Darin and his team have also been able to focus on improving employee experience. For instance, they created a reward and recognition program to honor employees whose actions line up with the company’s mission statement. And there’s also a peer-to-peer recognition program that allows individuals to nominate their peers for helping them, or helping the customer in a way that’s truly remarkable. These programs help keep the employees engaged and lets them know they’re making a difference. 

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Darin says:

  • “I’d say when I started this five years ago I was in a hurry, right. It was like, gosh we have so far to go and I want to get there right now. What I have now is a better appreciation for the long view. I can look back and see the evolution that we’ve gone through, and I can really appreciate not just how far we’ve come but also that the time that it took was necessary.”
  • “I think it’s good to have a sense of urgency but realize that it will take some time. Give it time to evolve, let some of those things bake so you can move onto the next step. You don’t get ahead of yourself, just realize that you have to have a long view, you have to really look at, you know, we’re going to try to transform the company over the next three years or five years, and have that sort of a time perspective for what you’re trying to accomplish.”
Have a sense of urgency when it comes to CX, but realize that it will take some time. Give it time to evolve, let some of those things bake so you can move onto the next step. #CX Click To Tweet

About Darin Byrne

Darin Byrne has been Vice President of Client Experience and Delivery at Wolters Kluwer since 2017, improving employee engagement and customer advocacy. Byrne previously served as Senior Director of Professional Services and Senior Director of Product Planning at Wolters Kluwer. Prior to that, he delivered mission-critical customer solutions at Convergys. He is currently chair of the board and financial literacy instructor for LION Community Enrichment Programs, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Byrne holds a BS in Systems Analysis from the University of Dayton, Ohio, and MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.


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