#CXin2020: Why success starts with robust leadership

Published date: 23 Jan 2020

CX doesn’t happen by accident. It takes planning, consistency, and most importantly, strong leadership. The alignment between what the customer wants and expects, and what the business wants and expects must be on point – and that direction can only come from those in the know.

How many times have we heard “we are going to put the customer first” be uttered from those in charge? They get excited about customer experience, and some are now finally putting money behind it with CX budgets now on the rise. However, when it comes to taking the next step, they get stuck on the “how”.

Incidentally, spending CX budgets ≠ progress on CX!

So, where do the problems lie? Where are the leaders of an organization going wrong?

#1 They don’t know what CX really is and where it fits

Delegation of CX management often ends up in one silo, be it operations, sales, or marketing for example, and often the focus becomes solely on operational efficiency. Rather than “customer experience”, the attention is turned on “operational excellence”, and that typically reveals that most of an organization’s action is not done with the customer in mind.

Concentrating on reducing time and costs in operations may improve the bottom line but it does not support the top line. Having said that, there is an opportunity here to capture the momentum of “operational excellence” by including and solving for the intended customer outcomes based on a defined, intended and consistent customer experience.

It is not surprising that for most organizations, customer-facing pain points cause the most problems. When the customer journey touches so many parts of a business, bringing together teams and conflicting priorities becomes the biggest challenge customer experience professionals can face.

#2 The hierarchy needs to change

Organizations need to be built to deliver successful CX but they are so focused on the profit, those at the top are not willing to take a step back and create the foundations for good CX. In the end, the business will suffer as customers turn away.

Traditional hierarchy within an organization means leaders (who are often far removed from the customer) pass down orders and traditional behaviors take over. Stuck in the “that’s the way it has always been done” mentality can lead to stagnant CX processes and missed opportunities to get it right.

However, those adaptable, agile organizations, with a flatter structure and more horizontal integration can be better positioned to hear their customers / colleagues and change together. They can see the bigger picture, where the customer facing issues occur, and adapt faster.

Changing the hierarchy can be a daunting process, no one is denying that, but without introducing an element of flexibility, delivering on CX goals for anyone in the organization will be a bigger challenge.

#3 Understanding ROI is a challenge for leaders

Investment in CX is expected to keep rising. The next task on the list is being able to calculate the ROI – something that is proving difficult to report (see recent article from David Hicks).

In order to get CX moving, there needs to be a focus on a trial and delivery approach to develop proof points and hard evidence in the organisation that CX drives improved performance.

Leaders have to lead from the front and spread CX across an organization, put in place a plan of action and deliver consistently – EVERYTIME. Support and tools need to be given to those delivering CX on the frontline.

Now the big question is – are you ready to lead your organization’s CX for a successful 2020?