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Investing in Customer Experience: How to Get Execs On Board

If you’re responsible for deriving more value from your customer or client experience (CX) initiative, or you oversee those who are, this article is for you.

Over the past few months, I’ve been working with a few new clients who are looking to focus on their customer service experience, and I’ve come to an important realization. WE CAN ALL BE DOING MUCH MORE WITH CX! And we should.

So, what’s holding some organizations back? My hypothesis is that conventional approaches to CX aren’t creating value fast enough, and a higher level of executive support is necessary to attain these higher levels of value creation.

Here’s an example to illustrate my point. I recently conducted an exercise with one of my clients, including members of CX management and executive leadership teams. I asked, “What does the organization wish to accomplish with strategic customer experience?” and “What outcomes do you need to see in the first 3, 6, 9, and 12 months?”

The answers that I received were common ones, including: “higher NPS scores”, “learning more about our customers through journey maps”, “launching a Voice of the Customer program”, and “making customers happier”.

But, this is not enough. Strategic investments in CX should yield far more and have a strong basis in finance.

Bringing the execs into the conversation

In order to set the CX program on the right and proper trajectory to accomplish more, it makes sense to convene all the powers in one room to establish what else is possible. Once we see what’s possible, it’s easier to establish how to calibrate desired outcomes with investment-necessary and develop a firm understanding about what it will take to get there.

When I first get CX management and executive leaders into a room, we discuss opportunities for the organization to build new competencies or create more value through CX — which initially results in a team arm-wrestle.

Typically, executives, who are one degree separated from the work necessary to achieve outcomes, lean forward and want to know why the CX program cannot work on multiple value drivers. At the same time, the person directly responsible for the CX initiative leans back and claims there aren’t enough resources to achieve multiple outcomes with current investment levels in the program. This is a healthy stand-off. Generally awkward, but always healthy.

I haven’t run into many executives who aren’t interested in new pathways to revenue or significant cost reduction. They simply don’t know that it’s achievable through their existing CX management programs. When we present ways to increase value from client interactions while improving the experience clients can have with the firm, most executives are willing to take that risk if it’s measured appropriately.

5 factors that impact CX success

I’ve found the success of most high-achieving CX management programs come down to five things:

  • Investment/support
  • Prioritization
  • Approach methodology
  • Designed accountability
  • Communication

Generally, the first two things, investment/support and prioritization, are the most confounding and difficult to establish. But they are the most critical.

The first step is to talk through what’s possible with higher expectations. When CX leaders are given more latitude and support, conventional levels of pragmatism tend to give way to more aggressive plans to create more value with smarter investments in CX.

To learn more about deriving value from your CX initiative, read “ CX Value drivers — CX Management’s Gas Pedal “.

Originally published at

Written by

Founder of, a service design firm that creates Relationship Design Tools for CX.

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