How to Link Your Customer Experience Program to Business Outcomes

money mechanism with gears

I recently attended the CXPA Conference in Atlanta, where I learnt that if we really want to obtain management’s long-term commitment to CX, we need to “Be Like Bob” – Bob Johnson, that is, President and Chief Service and Information Technology Officer at Sprint.

Bob was the keynote speaker on Day 2 at the conference. His presentation was refreshingly candid:

  • “There are no silver bullets in Customer Experience,” Bob explained. “It’s a lot of hard work. Stick with it!”
  • Better yet: “Sprint is in the business to make money. If you improve the customer experience, you also have to prove it has an impact on the bottom line.”
  • “Make sure that your CX efforts have a direct impact on the bottom line.”

And there it is, short and sweet, a CXO’s advice. In Sprint’s case, to show the impact on the bottom line, the company needs to directly link its customer experience program to reducing churn and influencing switching behavior. In your case, it might be linking CX to greater share-of-wallet, or something else.

As CX professionals, our mission is to ensure management’s long-term commitment to Customer Experience. Our programs must have a direct linkage to tangible business outcomes.

Here are three ideas on how to get started…

  1. Focus on the operational metrics most closely aligned with your overall business outcome: In Sprint’s case, that operational metric was churn. For others it might be share of wallet or total investable assets. Or something else entirely. In any event, make sure your CX metrics are closely linked to how your organization actually creates greater revenue!
  2. Intimately understand the pathways your consumers or customers take: What criteria do customers use to make decisions in your industry? What are the steps in their purchase process? What are the points along the pathway where you can effectively sway potential customers? To address your desired business outcomes, you will need an overall strategic model that can effectively answer these questions (and more).
  3. Dig deeper into any gaps along your customer journeys: Where are the pain points in the customer experience? Where are the moments-of-truth that we can leverage to create more consistently great experiences? You need an “outside-in” approach, developing deep insight into your customers’ journeys – how they see the experience, their pain-points and their moments of truth, in both rational and emotional terms.

Exceptional experiences are possible with the right strategy, the right understanding of your customers’ journey, decision pathways, and a direct linkage to real business outcomes. So when it comes to Customer Experience, everyone wants to find that silver bullet, but as Bob says: “Stick with it!”

Bill Dunn is CMI’s director of business development, with a focus on CMI’s customer Experience practice. Bill assists clients in achieving strategic differentiation through trust-based marketing, customer experience and advocacy.

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