Riding the wave: Advice from finance to maximize the impact of your CX program

Recommendations for getting finance alignment and support to meet your CX goals in 2021.


Christine Rimer

February 5, 2021

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The start of a new year is the perfect opportunity for goal-setting. An organization’s ability to align their functional teams around common goals and metrics to deliver results for their customers, shareholders, and employees means that every employee is rowing in the same direction.

In January, SurveyMonkey’s CX Leader community kicked things off by discussing our organization’s customer experience objectives and key results during our monthly roundtable.

Given 40% of CX leaders say their top barrier to accomplishing their organization’s customer experience goals is “a lack of resources,” we invited SurveyMonkey’s Vice President of Strategic Planning & Analysis, Justin Coulombe, to join the discussion to share his recommendations for CX leaders to get the resources they need to improve their customers’ experience.

Here, I’ll share the key learnings from the discussion, including top recommendations for getting the finance team to support efforts, and the results of a benchmarking survey the CX leaders completed.

CX goals and measurement

When it comes to our 2021 customer experience goals, 70% of organizations are focused on improving CX while 62% are trying to improve their customer centric culture. Another 52% of CX leaders say the pandemic has increased their focus on the digital customer experience. 

As for measuring improvements to customer experience, 87% use customer feedback while 55% tie their CX goals back to customer retention.

Growth governs

Finance leaders like Justin are deciding where to invest to drive sustainable growth.  When considering a CX leader’s resource requests, finance leaders are often weighing the funding of CX programs alongside requests from sales, marketing, and product development—all with tangible growth benefits. 

Engaged, happy customers drive growth. CX leaders are often closest to customer sentiment. Pick a leading indicator (like NPS or customer engagement) and demonstrate its impact by correlating it to one of your company’s core growth metrics (like customer retention).

Simplicity sells  

In addition to demonstrating how your CX program will drive growth, your CX program should be anchored in simplicity. Finance leaders like Justin love a single compelling metric that aligns cross-functional teams to achieve a singular objective. “A simple metric that we can integrate into the operating rhythm of the company is the holy grail,” said Justin.

For example, SurveyMonkey’s objective to transform customers into champions, measured by a world-class +50 NPS, aligns business leaders to understand NPS key drivers and prioritize investment to make improvements that move the needle for NPS which is a leading indicator for customer retention and advocacy.   

Conviction convinces  

In addition to demonstrating growth with clear objectives and metrics, finance leaders are also looking for conviction. Just as venture capitalists evaluate the leader’s ability to execute the business idea before they invest, an organization’s finance leader is evaluating the CX leader’s conviction and track record as a leading indicator of whether they will deliver the results they are promising. When making bets, a finance leader is weighing their odds for a positive return on their investment—so be sure to spend time on your data-driven narrative. Now that’s powerful.

Ride the wave

Justin’s final advice was to think twice before running your CX program as a separate program versus “riding the wave” of your business partners’ goals and operating mechanisms. By aligning your customer feedback program to your business and functional leader’s goals to drive growth and innovation, CX leaders can leverage annual and quarterly processes and meetings to socialize customer insights and drive cross-functional action to improve your customer’s experience. 

If you can align your initiatives with your businesses’ goals the way a surfer aligns their board with the wave, you’ll have the momentum you need to deliver meaningful business impact.  In closing, Justin advises that you “align yourself to the business leaders that are looking long term and want to join you in the fight for game changing initiatives that improve your customers’ experience.”

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