Your company’s CX work will be successful when you take a stair-stepped approach to gaining leadership clarity and commitment to the framework. What you stand for as a company will shift over time as you embed the five competencies.
The Chief Customer Officer role will evolve as you progress through the phases of The Customer Experience Maturity Map. Years one through year three are what I call the “disruption and blocking and tackling years.” Embedding competencies into the organization will disrupt deeply rooted silo based operations and leadership.
Over time, the five competencies will move from being disruptive to part of business as usual. In this evolution, leadership and employee behavior will mature from requiring facilitation to developing natural skill sets that are relied upon throughout the organization.
Stage the CX Work of the Five Competencies
For each phase of the Maturity Map, I’ve identified actions and behavior changes as the competencies are being embedded. After year five, it is a matter of sharpening and improving these competencies for your organization. By their very nature, the five competencies are not a program, but rather a repeated cycle of one-company awareness, understanding, focus and united action. We are finding that it takes about three years for this to feel ‘old hat.’
Gain leadership clarity and commitment to the five competency framework or strategy. This work hinges on c-l-a-r-i-t-y. Executives need to understand with specifics the work that is ahead, both in terms of company action and their action, decision-making and behavior.
2. UNITE AND BUILD
Unite leaders and the organization in competency building and first round or experience reliability improvement actions. In this phase, two outcomes are important:
- Initiating the build of your 5-competencies.
- Taking actions that focus on and improve priority experiences.
Think of this as your beta version of this work. First, initiating your 5-competency engine means to begin the process of building your first ‘clunky’ version of each competency. Don’t get caught up in the trap that they must be perfect to get started. As you acquaint yourself with each of these five competencies and begin to customize them for your organization, do what makes sense in each to begin.
For example, when you start building your first version of Customer Asset Metrics, all the data may not be perfectly lined up or organized. Establish your first version of the growth or loss of your customer asset and key customer behaviors to watch — using the data you have now. The key is to begin. Then evolve from there. Don’t wait until the systems are all perfect. We almost always have to start asset metrics with at least partial manual manipulation of data.
At this stage, the competencies are part of how you do work inside your company. Your leadership team should be united in driving accountability by customer journey stage, rather than silo-by-silo. They have been an active part of the first generation of the five competencies, so there should be an appreciation of resources necessary to sustain the cycle they establish as part of the operation.
Employee teams should be trained throughout the company on the “Customer Experience Development- CXD” process for improvement. The five competencies should be embedded as part of building products, establishing services and conducting annual planning.
You are actively engaged in experience innovation and differentiation. You have tackled the majority of the irregular and unreliable customer experiences plaguing the customer journey along key touchpoints. This opens up resources for identifying and improving touchpoints for experience differentiation and innovation. The use of your Customer Room to drive one-company focus and investments should include leadership and all levels of the organization. Everyone should participate in stepping through the journey map and the lives of your customers. Use the embedded competencies at this point to commit to differentiating moments in the customer journey. Employees should be able to work top down and bottoms up, practicing the five competencies, to build these experiences.
Your company and people are differentiated in the marketplace by how you conduct yourself in business. The five competencies have been embedded into your business engine and are part of the way people work, are compensated and rewarded. Annual planning begins with an understanding of the growth or loss of your customer asset and the inflection points along your journey where opportunity exists. Experience reliability is managed. Leaders care about the process metrics that impact customer asset growth with as much rigor as they care about outcome metrics such as sales goals. You hire and enable employees guided by your customer journey framework.
The work of your organization has gone beyond fixing unreliable experiences to creating differentiated memories. Your business decisions consistently set you apart because they are grounded in improving customers and employees’ lives. You grow organically and through word of mouth. As a result, you earn an elevated position in the marketplace.
As you assess where you are in the maturity of embedding the five competencies, moving your organization from ‘Commit’ to ‘Unite,’ there are four tactics to engage or reengage your leadership and organization. These actions will help you gain traction and asset growth.
1. Establish focus on honoring and managing customers as assets.
2. Build a foundation in each of the five competencies.
3. Align leaders to focus on a few critical reliability areas.
4. Resist waiting to take action until everything is perfect.