In a recent meeting of minds, Customer Science and Matchboard were joined by customer experience leaders from Avant Mutual, Rawson Group, and the NSW Department of Customer Service to breakdown their experiences in reinventing Customer Experience.
The case studies each reiterated the essentials for a successful, and permanent CX transformation while also providing a unique perspective.
Here’s the full event or read on below for our perspective on the key themes that emerged:
A case for transformation, even when there is no burning platform?
Avant Mutual were facing a problem, while they were already a very successful company with good customer experience there were clear signs of problems arising in the future. This provokes a question: How do you build a case for CX transformation in the face of content executives and a pre-existing high standard of customer experience?
The key to successfully building a case centres around how you present the need to transform. Firstly, that’s in ensuring credibility. Credibility comes from data collected from not only members and customers but also staff. Utilising the voice of people who work for the company and being in touch with their familiarity with the customer experience helps create a story that is fail-safe.
Tangible outcomes are equally important. Translating CX improvement to revenue drives the perception that better customer experience directly leads to better business outcomes. Ideally, the outcomes should be tangible enough that every staff member knows what experience is being supplied.
All of this can be summed up simply in one word: communication. Clear communication is the single most important factor in building support for CX transformation. The inclusion of consultants to assist in framing the importance of CX transformation in corporate, and understandable terms can be the difference between a content business and CX leaders.
Less is more & saying no
Customer experience could often and quite easily be mistaken for simply keeping the customer happy, however you can. Rawson Group shared on two potentially dangerous misinterpretations of good customer experience; lots of options, and always saying ‘yes’.
There is such a thing as too much choice. In their case study, Rawson Group shared their experience in embracing the attitude of ‘less is more’. The logic is there, by having an option for everyone no one gets left out and everyone can get what they want but, playfully likened to a young child in an ice-cream store, too many options can lead to decision paralysis in customers. Something which inevitably leads to poor customer experience and, in turn, an unprofitable business. Cutting down the options presented by ensuring everything has a reason for being rather than attempting to cater for every possible customer on the market improves conversion rates from deposit to sale and improves the quality of marketing while reducing costs.
Everyone’s familiar with the phrase “the customer is always right”, but saying ‘yes’ to every change a customer makes can lead to poor outcomes. This is the second change Rawson Group outlined; taking back the power of “no”. Needless to say, this isn’t blindly and outright denying what the customer wants but rather limiting changes made by the customer that may eventually lead to worse CX. Positioning yourself as the experts projects a credible voice and makes operations more streamlined while reducing errors. Identifying what the customer prioritises; speed and cost, or customisability can improve operations and CX further. If speed and cost is more important, recommend sticking to the options prepared by professionals and experts. If customisability is more important, perhaps a bespoke, more expensive service.
Challenges in leading a CX team
The NSW department of Customer Service presented the challenges that can be faced by a small CX team in a large, complex environment while assembling journey maps. Despite many advantages in their favour, such as a clear purpose, a desire to improve CX within the top of the organisation, and access to consultants the team faced a series of forces disrupting the process including the complexity of the project, a lack of consistency, and low engagement.
However, the opportunity provided a number of major learnings that are applicable no matter the transformation. Firstly, where CX sits matters. The placement of the team and project is critical to how outcomes are absorbed. Secondly, in the case of journey mapping, it is critical to have a core team of people who have been through the journey themselves and can interpret them correctly. And thirdly, being able to go forward quickly and provide tangible benefits.
Keeping change embedded and the success of the Chief Customer Officer
Once a change has been made a new challenge presents itself; how do you make it stick? There are three main areas to look at. To begin with, it’s building a CX function within the organisation. Whether it be an individual or a small team of people, the main responsibility of this function is in capturing the voice of the customer, turning that into insight, and driving tangible improvements across the organisation.
Without capabilities, these teams will not be able to perform. There are three approaches to fostering this in an organisation, referred to as spread, sprinkle, and carve. The ‘Carve’ approach refers to running a centre of excellence directing projects through them. This has the advantage of high levels of expertise however, can be expensive to maintain. The ‘Sprinkle’ approach involves the use of external resources for specific projects. Similarly to the ‘carve’ approach this provides a high level of expertise but can be tricky to sustain. The ‘spread’ approach involves building the capability into the whole organisation. This approach means there is a general level of expertise throughout the business, but without the advantage of the latest industry and expert thinking.
The emerging role of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) is a great way to build accountability at the top of an organisation. The challenge is ensuring the scope of the role is right for it to succeed. Simply having a dedicated CX function has the benefit of a clear and dedicated purpose but can be challenged in a lower budget and higher dependency on other executives. Embedding the CX function into various others presents their own unique benefits and challenges. For example; embedding it with marketing seems a natural pairing, with marketing setting the brand and expectation with CX delivering it but it might face a similar budgeting issue.
No matter the approach, the success of the CCO role needs the highest level of sponsorship and visibility, a clear strategy and vision, clear success measures and targets, the ability to make changes to customer facing teams, a team able to work cross functionally, and appropriate funding to deliver change.
We love bouncing around ideas on these topics so reach out to Colin Smith our resident Digital and CX Transformation expert to discuss further.