The health of your customer experience is vital for the health of virtually any business. But discussing it with senior executives can be a daunting topic for many of the mid- to senior-level leaders with whom I’ve talked. There may not be publicly filed financial reports or flashy ad campaigns to present. But believe me, this is one conversation worth having – no matter how difficult it might seem.
How else will you ensure that you and the executive you report to are on the same page regarding the role customer experience plays in your company’s strategy? Or how execution on your target experience shows up in your organizations business performance? It’s not enough to simply agree that happy customers are good for business. Your senior executives must:
- See the direct link between your customer experience and your financial performance
- Share a definition of customer experience that sets direction for your firm
- Support a champion inside the organization who’s responsible for customer experience strategy (you!)
- Install a process and metrics that demonstrate whether customer experience efforts are effective and adding value
- Build a culture that values customers
So, how do you go about holding a conversation with the executive you report up through? As you set out to earn support, or for your first step or your next step toward strengthening your company’s customer experience, here are a few steps to help you prepare:
In February, I wrote a post that triggered a bit of a debate. I posed the question, "Exceeding expectations or solving customer problems: What's more important?" You may have seen it here, on Customer Experience for Profit, or over at CustomerThink where my blog is in syndication.
The post was inspired by a Forbes article by Robert Passikoff of Brand Keys entitled, "The Final Frontier: Customer Expectations." My post received more than a dozen comments from customer experience and brand thought leaders Robert Passikoff, Bob Thompson, Hank Barnes, Ian Williams, Maz Iqbal, Joseph Michelli and David Jacques. Comment after comment we see that both are important. And I shared a belief drawn from many years of work at Aveus: a need must be solved before a delightful surprise translates to meaningful value.
Last week I caught up with Stan Phelps via Skype to continue the conversation. Stan crowd sourced 1001 examples of brands that deliver something unexpected, and created What's Your Purple Goldfish?, so no surprise - we had many ideas to exchange. Here is Part One of our discussion:
In case you missed it, Larry Downes wrote a Forbes article in January titled, “Why Best Buy Is Going Out of Business…Gradually.” He caused quite a stir.
I have seen quite a bit of conversation and research of late regarding the need for, or fast growing presence of C-level leaders accountable for customer experience strategy and objectives. I’m guessing many of you have as well.
This week we look at perceptions about customer experience held by different leadership levels of the organization. You've heard about the digital gap. The income gap. The political gap. Is this the leadership-customer-focus gap?
Post number 3 in our new stat of the week series. Some really great discussions triggered here and on twitter. Join us! Here's this week's stat: Just 43% of leaders in wholesale companies say there is a definition of customer experience that's well understood definition across their organizations. This industry group is the only one in our study that holds a higher proportion of organizations that don't have a well understood customer experience than those that do.