Customer Experience Transformation Program for Beginners -Do It Yourself (DIY)

Fourth industrial revolution is the age of disruption and rapid change. Customer experience is becoming an important yardstick to survive and thrive. Research proves that there is a huge gap and enormous opportunities for organisations to make aggressive and transformative changes for growth in customer experience.

You can strive the change on your own in your organisation and create your success story like Amazon, Mcdonalds.

In our last blog, titled ‘Stellar Customer Experience’ we have briefly touched upon what you could still do in 2018 and make Customer Experience work for your organization. You can click here to read it again

The intent of this blog is to address the first section i.e.   a simple DIY (Do it Yourself) process for “Writing your own Customer Success Story” through an impeccable Customer Experience Management Program.

Some of the key points to keep in mind when we are starting on this journey is :

1.      The leadership is committed to the effort and driving this effort from front. This has to be Top – Down approach.

2.      There is a reasonable investment kept aside as you do not want this to be an exercise on paper. There is a contribution required with regard to time and effort, man power, logistics and most definitely right intent. It is also good to have a clear understanding of monetary funds we may want to keep aside for the initiative.

3.      This can be a success only if there is a method attached to the effort. You cannot treat this as one of the random project you picked to mark the ending of this year. It has to be supported with well designed program.

Once we have managed to take care of the key points stated above it is time to get to next level of strategic planning before we jump to being more tactful.

We all understand that Customer Experience is not the function of one department but cuts across all departments and transformations led by this initiative do tend to cross traditional boundaries. However, small the scope may be, it does effect the dynamics within the organization and may lead to critical issues that could fail the project even before you start. So how do we handle that?

 First things first. Lets segment our DIY CX Management Program into following steps:

Construct the Program Design

To run any program the first thing we need to make sure is there is an Executive sponsor to the program. This is a ‘go to person’  for any approvals or  executive decisions required through the journey. This also helps provide accountability and seriousness to the program.

Identify the program manager who owns the program and is single person accountable for the outcomes. Program manager that you identify has to be driven, with proven leadership track record and extremely focussed.

Once you cover the two basics and most important steps in the program design, the next logial step is to set vision and goals. Remember, while transformation stories can be very exciting and one can get easily get carried away setting ambitious plans. Please know you have limited time in hand of 90days or less and you want to take first steps to the program that are outcome based and it is absolutely fine to think of short term gains that are impactful but not necessarily boil the ocean. This is end of the year and your first take on the effort so it is absolutely fine to consider this as a pilot to probably bring positive change to one big problem or a particular function or segment of customer.

Once we have the clarity on vision and goals of this program it is right time to work through resource needs, Man, Machine and Materials.  Identify a task force that is going to take responsibility of this program from initiation to execution. These are your change agents and they have to be on the same page with the context of the business need that drives this program. Remember, these champions have to be self motivated, customer centric and teamplayers. The team members must be chosen from across functions and covering different job levels in the organization. Its better to invest little time identifying this core team. Considering this is end of the year, the environment is high pressure and you may not have time to work on sorting conflicts or team dynamics.

This blog from McKinsey gives good tips on how to go about setting vision

Scavenger Hunt of Data that leads to Customer Perspective

The pre-requisite of this step is that you have a few rounds of discussions and subsequent buy-ins/ approvals to the following:

-the vision and goal of the program
-Broad Timelines with responsibilities and accountabilities
-Expectations from various stakeholders

Now the stage is set for you to roll your sleeves and dive into real action. Remember this is a Customer experience Transformation Initiative and so the entire focus has to be Customer.  The terms like Voice of Customer, Customer Perspective, Customer Success, Customer Expectations, Customer Feedback, Customer Satisfaction , Customer Engagement should always play like violin at the back of your mind and driving force to look for existing data and information.

Some other guiding questions to begin work on ‘What data to look for’ are:

·         Do we know how our customers are feeling today?

·         Do we know how our employees are feeling today?

·         Do we see any trends in our customer shift?

·         What is our customer churn rate? Is that increasing or declining?

·         How does our customer incremental sales trend looking like?

·         What is the comparison of  new customers vs. retaining old ones?

·         What is our social media presence? Are we trending positive? Is there a decline in recommendations or reviews online? 

Getting answers to these questions will not only help determine the current quality of the customer experience, but will also form the basis of a business case to do something about it.

The idea is to diagnose and identify the “As-is” state of current customer experience by piling in all of your data together. Bring all the data together to create a one view of customer. Pool in all the insights , and explore various sources of data and information that is existing:

·         Customer surveys conducted recently

·         Data from service logs or customer issues register

·         Employee Engagement Surveys, roundtables insights

·         CRM/ Sales data

·         Verbatim or feedback from employees in customer service, sales, marketing, filed force or purchase and billing department

The three point effort required in this phase is Data aggregation, Data Analytics and Data Insights. To accomplish this, you will need resources specifically good in data analytics and one could use simple tools like Excel to derive findings in absence of any integrated data anlytics tool.

Putting up all the data together will support you to understand your customer experience current state. It should be further seggregated to identify the stages in lifecycle where the concerns are visible, the process and systems that are crucial to that stage and understand not just the product or service gaps but also the emotional needs that are not being met. In case you need help to understand customer life cycle click here

 It is better to bring the core team together and brain storm  on the findings from data and prioritise the opportunities. Generally the entry and exit points for customer in the life cycle are considered as most critical phases to look at or else apply the Pareto rule. Look for 20% problems that cause 80% of issues.

It is important you never loose a sight of resources you have in hand when you build the action plan. Now is the time to quickly assign the key opportunities areas to respective team members and ensure they get all support that is required.

Measure and Innovate

Once you have created the roadmap and used them to further set your near and long term goals. You need to create a system to measure and understand how far you are from your goal and how your customer experience is looking like. Customer experience should be measured like any business performance and should necessarily encompass your people, product, process and policies. Make sure that you have,

  • Identified process owners at various touch points along the entire customer journey(s)?

  • Created transparency and clarity to the employees on who the “customer is” and what constitutes an ideal experience at various touch points. This is done using regular communication modes like townhalls, emails or newsletters

  • A measurement system that captures key customer metrics. Keep it simple in the beginning and go with basic metrics  like customer retention score or customer churn rate, Customer/employee satisfaction score. There are definite  mechanisms put in place to capture these metrics and observe the trend over time for an engaged customer experience management.

  • The success of the program should be directly linked to the measurement system that supports delivering great customer experience along the whole journey. Note that the direct change in these measures  may not be visible in short time frame of 3-6 months but it is important to identify the impact each initiative under this umbrella of Customer Experience (CX) enhancement program will create over time around these metrics. So link every project with these metrics and monitor the progress.