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Here’s why CX programs fail and how to avoid the 3 most common mistakes

Implementing CX programs is like any other organisational innovation. It all starts with good intentions, but too big of a scale or too narrow a scope can both miserably fail to prove any value to the organisation. Here are our most important considerations when deploying a CX program, so it doesn’t come all crumbling down after just a few months.

1. The program starts at too big of a scale

Too often, CX teams prepare an ambitious plan that spans across markets, business units and touchpoints. Later on, they are forced to scale down by internal pushback or lack of value proof to upper management. Instead of investing millions in global initiatives right away, the better approach is to start small and then scale progressively.

Treat CX implementation just like a startup:

#1 Start with a small scope – a single market, business unit or touchpoint

#2 Collect customer feedback and implement improvement actions

#3 Measure the impact of improvements and their ROI

#4 Extract learnings from the pilot programs

#5 Slowly scale the program and benchmark against the initial ROI

2. The company becomes obsessed with a single metric

The best and worst advice you can probably get is to focus on a single all-encompassing metric. The general rule in business is that high-level metrics are good to follow progress on a daily basis. However, customer experience is too complex of a process to be described by a single metric, like Net Promoter Score (NPS). The typical customer has various real-life interactions with your business. A relationship between a consumer and an organization is dynamic and its fluctuations cannot be captured by a single metric, reported on a quarterly basis.

Yet, the C-suite wants a simple story. Line managers want to be able to benchmark employee performance against a tangible outcome and assign bonuses. Product development and marketing managers want to distil customer knowledge into insights for the next launch or campaign.

Is it possible to transform the complex understanding of the customer into a picture that is easy to follow without losing the important nuances? The best programs usually streamline reporting through dashboards that provide a near real-time picture of customer experience following various benchmarking indicators. The real value of a single source reporting tool is that it provides insights and prescribes actions tailored to the user level (branch, region, division, etc). The main philosophy behind it is that everyone gets information about what they can influence. C-level managers can follow the bigger picture, while line or branch managers get guidance on local improvements.

3. Missing out on crucial opportunities to initiate strategic and tactical improvements

The greatest value of customer feedback accumulation lies in its potential to power transformative action. But in order for a company to become customer-centric, as the buzz phrase goes, improvements have to cover all organizational levels. The most effective CX programs do not only focus on improving customer-facing operations. They adopt a wider approach to improve operations and innovate from within. Here are the most important steps to ensure that customer experience improvements are not only superficial:

#1 Set targets

Although focusing on one metric can harm your CX program, setting one customer-related target to all departments is a good way for people to adopt and internalize a customer-centric view. When setting targets it’s very important how you formulate them. But don’t et business units only strive to reach a certain KPI. Instead, set them up with specific improvement actions to implement. This way you will make sure the organization does not only focus on short-term items that will improve customer satisfaction immediately but also on long-term initiatives that might yield improvements further down the road.

#2 Make sure customer experience is an integral part of the company’s mission, vision and strategic objectives.

More and more we see large multinationals mentioning CX in their official visions or missions, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Each strategic move needs to be evaluated based on its impact on customer experience or, even more importantly, the CX program needs to inform management what those strategic moves need to be.

#3 Start changing within.

Changing the company culture has always been a challenge because executives often find it difficult to define what “company culture” means to start with. The environment in which the enterprise operates, the organizational values & ethics, the goals & objectives, the corporate social responsibility efforts and even the core business model are all elements of the culture of the company. A simple first step would be to use the internal communication channels to constantly reinforce the message of how important customer satisfaction is. Explain to all coworkers why a CX program is being deployed and what its objectives are. State clearly that your organization is now striving to become a customer-facing one and imbue this ambition in the company mission and vision.

#4 Take everyday decisions with the customer in mind.

While big strategic changes and a customer-centric vision will definitely elevate your organisation in the long term, incremental change happens step by step with every small decision taken every day. Successful CX programs work because they are able to influence tactical decision making on a daily basis. Encourage mid-management to go back to the insights about customer experience when looking for answers to questions like:

–             Where should I improve first?

–             What matters the most to my customers?

–             Why is my servicing failing to generate repeat purchases?

–             What should my next action be?

Ready to implement your CX program at all strategic and tactical levels? Talk to our team.

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