Everything you need to know to succeed in customer experience

What it really takes to succeed in running a cross-functional CX program.


Chris Boeckelman

June 24, 2020

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The ultimate goal of any holistic CX program is to provide visibility into the customer experience—by collecting customer data and insights—enabling intelligent action that drives change where it matters most. 

The best way to do this is by producing a cohesive CX dashboard that clearly shows you what is going on with your business in real-time.

CX dashboard refers to a central hub where all customer feedback and insights are collected and accessible to teams and stakeholders within the organization.

There are three organizational scenarios for achieving this goal.

1. A CX leader that engages cross-functionally 

This means there is a dedicated customer experience leader or individual who has been tasked with managing the organization's entire customer experience program. This leader must first go to each department and identify the key touchpoints that need improvement. Then, they need to implement their findings in a way that will optimize the entire experience across the customer journey. 

2. A cross-functional CX leader

In this scenario, there is one customer experience leader that manages and organizes the customer experience strategy for each department, systematically overseeing the key touchpoints they are responsible for in a consistent manner. All customer data collection and analytics owned by this leader rolls up to the customer experience dashboard, aka the central hub for customer data.  

3. A dedicated CX team

A dedicated CX team identifies the customer experience touchpoints and creates a system for systematically managing them, and rolling up the data to the cohesive dashboard.

To get to the point where you have an all-inclusive customer experience dashboard fueling your customer experience program, you’ll need to prioritize a series of key elements. 

The real-time aspect of collecting feedback is extremely important. Customer opinions of an organization can be solidified in moments or via one poor interaction, so seeing the customer data as the interactions are happening is key to proactively managing the customer experience.

Real-time is a concept that everyone is aware of, but actually making a real-time CX program involves a lot more work. 

To accomplish a real-time view of your customers’ sentiment, customer experience programs need to be automated. Meaning, to understand the quality of the experience, feedback needs to be collected in a transactional manner, after key customer interactions and according to best practices.  

This real-time feedback is the lifeblood of your CX dashboard.

But just collecting feedback isn’t enough, you also need to act on it, for both good and bad experiences. And asking an employee to do something is one thing, but guaranteeing they do it is another. 

You need to explicitly assign the follow-up on these survey responses to the correct individual with the right level of seniority to show your customers you take these things very seriously, and also have confidence that they get done at a high quality.

There is a ton of nuance to these programs.

One of the most important things to always keep in mind, if the act of collecting feedback itself needs to be a positive one, or at the very least not negative. 

What does this mean exactly? 

Surveys should be as frictionless as possible, they should be respectful of people’s time, they should be easy to take, and they should look professional and modern. You should survey customers when and where it makes sense for them—if your last engagement with them was on Live Chat, that’s the channel you should use to gauge their experience. If any of these elements are missing, it's very possible the pure act of collecting feedback itself, will be a negative one for your customers.

The next part is actually asking questions that are valuable to both you and the customer. Typically there are two kinds of questions: satisfaction questions (NPS & CSAT) and difficulty questions (CES). 

As you look at your touchpoints you need to decide which bucket they fall into. Is this a touchpoint where the priority is the quality of the experience and whether it was good or bad? Or is this a moment that could involve a lot of friction and we should determine if we need to make it easier to accomplish?

Balancing the effortless experience with the quality of experience is what world-class CX leaders strive to accomplish.

Additionally, it is really easy to get excited and start sending out surveys after every touchpoint you have with a customer. This is honestly, not the worst idea in the world, but you need to make sure you don’t over survey people. Implementing throttles, timing, and limitations to guarantee you are respectful of your customers’ time is extremely important to prevent survey fatigue. 

Finally, these programs need to be always-on. You should be able to set them up once and see data flowing in constantly with little or no daily maintenance. 

Most organizations are lucky to have one CX leader, let alone a team, which is why it's important to keep the calories to manage these programs as low as possible. People’s limited time should be spent on actually taking action and improving the experiences, not maintaining the programs that collect the feedback.

The real key to making these programs successful is creating a culture that cares about customer experience. This is a cheesy thing that probably all CX solution companies say, but there is actually a rather systematic way of doing this.

Each team is typically responsible for some portion of the customer journey and some subset of customer touchpoints. Clearly defining this ownership, and understanding how these moments play into the success of the department, helps to create cross-functional alignment which can be rolled up into the customer experience dashboard. 

Ask, which pieces do the Service, Marketing, Product, Sales teams own? What metrics should they be looking at? How do they align with the dashboard?

Ideally, you get to a place where everyone feels ownership of the customer experience, but the great part about running a holistic experience program centered around a cohesive CX dashboard is that a company can start anywhere. Any department can be the champion, or it can be tops-down from a dedicated customer experience leader.

In the end, the greater the alignment you can achieve across departments, the more successful you will be at having a world-class customer experience.

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