Growing up in the cable industry, I ran specific operational teams and was responsible for developing customer experience design capability within Virgin Media. As an operational leader life is tough but it’s also more straight forward. You own your team, your budget, and your operational strategy. You can make decisions and stick by them to lead your team in the direction that works for the company. Once you become part of a central team that is doing something different and new, life gets even tougher. You have to influence people like the ‘operational me’ to support an initiative and try something new whilst their day-to-day operational pressure doesn’t let up.
So how do you gain traction for your new CX team or new CX initiatives in year 1?
From my personal experiences here are my 5 top tips for success
Advocacy from the top is critical. If focus on delivering an irresistible customer experience aligned to your brand is important to your business then the Directors and CEO should be evangelists. Without that support, initiatives will be undermined quickly and people will return to what they feel comfortable with or where their day to day pressure exists.
Find willing volunteers to support your first project. Find someone in the business who likes taking risks, trying something new, is looking to make a personal impact or simply someone with a challenge you think you can help resolve. Use their energy to deliver your first project. Once you have been successful and have proven results, you then have a strong advocate who will provide positive word of mouth and a great story to tell to others who are more cautious.
A large proportion of the team must have an operational background. Why? Having ‘been there and done that’ provides you with the ability to talk in their language and gain their respect rather than confusing them with fluffy babble. It’s likely that you will already have a relationship from your previous role too. This also gives you the ability to empathise with your colleagues when the day to day pressures hit in the middle of your project. All incredibly valuable.
Introduce a measurement tool gradually. It’s very tempting to introduce a measurement tool and to start assigning 20% of the annual bonus to it straight away. That is a high risk strategy. It has the potential to alienate people and get you off on the wrong foot. A better approach is to set the system up and then present the feedback, through the eyes of your customers, to the teams it relates to. Make observations and even if you think you know the answer wait until they come up with them. You’ll get far greater buy in. We would of course recommend our Brand Alignment Monitor (BAM) because it measures your brand and customer experience from your staff's, customers' and prospects' perspectives giving you clear, actionable insight. For more info about the BAM see Gary’s blog.
Collaborate by taking people on the journey with you. This is the simplest and one of the most effective tools in your toolbox. Don’t sit behind closed doors and come up with the answer, involve people, especially those you would rather not involve! By involving people in the development you will bust silos and get people engaged. They will also see the output as their own work (which of course it is) and will be behind its delivery because they are implementing their own stuff.
Focusing on my 5 top tips will give you a much higher chance of CX traction and success in year 1. If you want to chat about any of them and my experiences, please feel free to get in touch. Good luck!