The Best CX Leaders

For those of us who’ve studied CX for decades, seeing it featured as a “new topic” is a little jarring. It seems every business article now mentions the customer’s journey as if that’s a new revelation. “The journey is just as important as the product!” Wow! (Who knew!?) Now leaders worldwide are resolving to improve CX. Yay! But here’s the thing: Few actually understand what the best CX leaders do with this knowledge.

Those of us who know what works and what doesn’t need to share their knowledge. You see, most leaders want to show customers they care, but many aren’t sure how to do that. It’s time to help our colleagues, employees and even our bosses understand! They need to see why customer experience isn’t just a catchy phrase.

Being customer-centric means so much more than just talk. It means real action every day.

What sort of action? That seems to be the question.

The Best CX Leaders

1. The best CX leaders put themselves in the customer’s shoes.

However, they DON’T do it to sell more.

It’s critical to continuously evaluate the real experience of your customers. It’s better when leaders throughout the organization connect this to their roles, and not just the annual “customer summit.”

Leaders get so far away from customers in so many organizations. Leaders can regularly assign tasks like calling support, visiting a storefront, or ordering online- to themselves and others. First-hand customer stories help others internalize what needs to change. More importantly, it helps them decide what to do about it.

Many leadership teams only explore the buyer’s journey, not the overall customer journey. They focus on one small part of the entire experience. And they set the tone for the focus of their organization. So once they obtain the customer, the focus is no longer there! Leaders should care about the entire journey simply so others do, too.

2. The best CX leaders collect consistent feedback.

But they don’t think there is only one way to do so!

ANY consistently measured score, whether it’s Customer Satisfaction (C-Sat) or Net Promoter Score (NPS), or some combination of things, is better than nothing.

If you can track scores on an ongoing basis, you can discern what customers are trying to tell you. Is that C-Sat score going up consistently? Yahoo! Then, look at why so you can continue to deliver. Is that NPS score declining in the same month every year? Then that might tell you about a cycle of unhappiness you need to correct.

There is no perfect metric.

There is no one-size-fits-all here. Sometimes overly enthusiastic new customer-centric champions become enamored with the idea of that perfect metric. Compelling case studies about how it was used make it seem attainable. This is when the leader announces “let’s use NPS!” and changes how their team measures customer experience. Then comes another case study about one company’s success using C-Sat exclusively… So the same leader wants all the language and reports to reflect C-Sat instead!

Most leaders have good intentions. However, the results will not be helpful if you don’t track the ups and downs of a given segment or experience. There’s no crime in adding different methods! But jumping from one to another whenever the mood strikes leads to disaster.

Customer experience, like any part of business, is about constant improvement. Therefore, the only way to know if that is working is to find a way to measure it repeatedly.

3. Instead of talking about CX internally, the best CX leaders educate.

Educate your teams to embed and embrace a focus on delivering exceptional experiences. That means discussing the desired outcomes and specific actions around what CX really means.

It’s great that your Customer Insights Team is privy to the reports. It’s great that they understand those numbers and how they reflect the work they do. But what about the other teams? They continue operating in the dark about how their activities directly impact the customer experience.

Education takes time.

Education takes commitment, so don’t give up when people don’t “get” the concept of customer experience! Show them and help them understand.

Talking about becoming customer-centric or tossing out NPS results is not educating. Your organization may already have a history of embracing buzzwords temporarily without attaching them to real actions. People do get cynical. They do nod along in meetings when leadership announces the next big idea. But they forget about it three minutes later when it’s time to start their “real work.”

Don’t let customer experience become a buzz word.

Live up to it by doing the work, then continue to live up to it by tracking real results.

Think of customer experience as a verb, because it’s about action. It is not a nice-to-have aspect of business. The customer experience is a must-have focus for every organization.

Everyone wants to deliver those magical customer experiences that seem so easy and effortless to others. But it takes some heavy lifting, some determination and some serious business acumen.

You can do it! It’s time to stop talking about customer experience, roll up your sleeves, and get to the real work done.