Are you lacking headcount in your organization? If so, you’re not alone, and I want you to view this as a challenge and a test. You will need to establish, with tactics, what the work will be to garner headcount. Headcount allows you to have more order and structure within your organization.
You need it to have a better understanding of who does what in the company and how it trickles down to the customer experience. Ultimately, headcount affects employee experience which affects your customers.
When I start working with clients, we build a team for each competency during the first four to six months. These teams thrive when C-suite leadership plays an active role in guiding the build-out of the “beta” versions of these competencies. We typically divide up the leadership team, assigning them by competency. The goal is to set a target date for the first customer room meeting in which the initial version of each competency team’s work will be presented for the first time. The chief customer officer supports and coordinates activities to keep everything moving toward executing the first customer room.
Use Headcount to Prove Value for the Business and Organization
Earning the right to headcount focused specifically on customer-driven transformation is achieved when you can prove value for the business and organization. Simply stated, headcount is powered by results and the ability to communicate and engage leaders in seeing value in the work.
When the leadership team takes part in building the first generation of the five competencies (albeit a clunky version of them), they appreciate the scale and scope of the work. This workout provides clarity in appreciating and committing to permanent headcount and resources to continue building and sustain the five competencies customer-growth engine.
Once your first version of the five competencies engine is completed, the role of the chief customer officer and need for a team will be very clear. At this point, the decisions to be made are:
- Skills and headcount necessary to formalize the build-out of the five competency framework so it can be completed and repeated and refreshed every month, quarterly, and with annual planning.
- The decision will need to be made in year one regarding customer issues.
- New experience improvement teams will be assembled as leaders identify issues and opportunities to be addressed through the recurring customer room process, causing a constant need for these resources. Many of my clients hire skilled customer experience facilitators as contractors initially while they are learning the competency. Then, after they’ve been through several improvement cycles they then decide whether to hire people into these rose permanently or continue to contract.
- Over time, your resource needs will grow, as more ongoing experience projects will be initiated on an ongoing basis with the cadence of your customer room.
- You will be facilitating quarterly customer journey and annual planning reviews.
- Customer listening path inputs will increase.
- Your customer room audience may expand worldwide across multiple locations.
The key to headcount additions and what makes them successful is keeping leaders personally active, and as beneficiaries of what the five competencies deliver. By repeating the cycle of the customer room to drive accountability and one-company decision-making, leaders will have increased clarity and value for the role and team. Headcount to continue to provide these deliverables to the organization becomes easier to have approved when it is clear when the benefit is to stakeholders, their teams, and the company.