Rethinking the ROI of CX

Articulating the return on investment (ROI) of Customer Experience efforts is a recurring theme among CX professionals.  As I moderate panels on webinars and sit as a guest on podcasts, listen to my peers talk, and read articles, I hear the questions all the time:  How do you define the ROI?  How do you sell CX to leadership?  I’ve even written about it myself on several occasions.

I know some of my fellow CX consultants go so far as to use the ROI of CX as their calling cards…not only engaging in the discussion but also leveraging it as the heart of their pitches to clients.  Some make bold promises and predictions, and some are simply advocates of the idea that you’ll boost your business results in some undefined (and sometimes not so undefined), yet unambiguously wonderful way with a dose of CX.  Now, of course, some are more circumspect than others, but there certainly seems to be a trend toward using things like revenues, sales, and market share as the driving reason for engaging in CX endeavors. (more…)

By | 2021-08-17T16:09:15+00:00 August 17th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, ROI of CX|0 Comments

Set your CCO up with authority

Recently I wrote about a friend of mine, a Chief Customer Officer who was struggling with breaking through to her leadership colleagues the importance of taking action to improve the organization’s CX.  Her frustration, I surmised, was rooted mostly in a lack of support from her CEO, who, although her heart was in the right place, hadn’t strategically lined out the proper role of the CCO and set those expectations in the first place.  While that was a pretty specific instance, I’ve actually heard from a couple others who share a similar experience, so I figured I’d make a more general post about the proper care-and-feeding of your CX executives.

The advent and popularization of the role of the Chief Customer Officer is a great thing.  I’ve certainly entertained initiations to be one myself, in fact, and do some work as a Fractional CCO.  I’m grateful to see the excitement many business leaders are showing in the importance of CX in their organizations, and dedicating a role (and a staff and office) to Customer Experience goes a long way toward putting your money where your mouth is.  But it can also be a hollow gesture if not properly executed and expectations not sufficiently set.  So here’s a quick rundown of not why or that you need a CCO, but rather, how to install one: (more…)

By | 2021-08-11T15:40:20+00:00 August 11th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments

Are we conversing?

I spent the last three weeks on Reserve status with the Air Force. It’s an exercise I anticipate and enjoy every year, but it inevitably gobbles up a lot of my time when it rolls around. As such, I’ve been a more passive observer on LinkedIn, Customer Think, CXPA, Twitter, and other forums in which I usually participate more actively. The experience has been enlightening this year as I deliberately went through a lot of articles I’d saved and only now got around to reading, followed up on some messages, and felt more free to drop in with comments here-and-there. (more…)

By | 2021-08-04T18:52:42+00:00 August 4th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments

Just stop with the KPIs already

Okay, so this is going to be controversial.  Scandalous, even.  But I’m going to come right out and say it:

Please stop with the KPIs.  Just quit it already.

Whether you’re using NPS, C-SAT, CES…whatever it is, you’re only hurting your own CX efforts.

And I’ll tell you why:  Because you’re not getting anything out of it.  Not out of your top-line metrics, at least.  If I ask you what your NPS tells you, you can probably go on about Customer loyalty, likelihood to repurchase, share of wallet, and many other great things that have come out of white papers and case studies over the years.  That’s awesome, and I’m sure the entire leadership team is intrigued.  You may have even validated those academics with evidence from your own organization. (more…)

By | 2021-06-30T14:56:25+00:00 June 30th, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Measures & Metrics, Process Engineering, ROI of CX, VoC|0 Comments

Is fear affecting your decision making?

Way back when I decided to leave active duty I took a friend, a fellow captain, to the informational meeting held by Cameron Brooks, the placement company that went on to help me land my first post-military civilian job. We had each been in the Air Force for about a decade, and I think he was just curious about what they had to say. We met up after the presentation and he was cool to the idea of making the move. I asked him why and his reply was so stark and simply stated that I remember it today: “I don’t know anything else.” (Any other life than the military, he meant.)

Now, since those days we’ve fallen out of touch so I’m not sure if his decision was the right one…only he can make that call anyway. Today I imagine he remained in the service, and now likely retired or is near it. What I do know is that my friend’s fear of doing something new kept him from jumping from active duty into a new civilian career…kept him from making a move based on analyzing an opportunity.  Not to disparage his choice—ultimately perhaps he’s better off—but fear was his driving factor. (more…)

By | 2021-06-22T15:35:32+00:00 June 22nd, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, Leadership|0 Comments

Keeping up with your professional network

One of the things that makes being an independent consultant different from work ‘on the inside’ is that doing things like keeping up with LinkedIn and other ‘work-related’ social networks is actually part of the job.  While it may seem a luxury to be able to find cool stuff here or find out about promotions and career moves of connections, LinkedIn and other such platforms are bread-and-butter.  It’s where we connect, sometimes where we find leads, and always where we share our insights.  If you’re not in this sort of business, LinkedIn may be something you rarely even think about or a site you hardly ever visit.  I know that, in my last corporate incarnation, I had several colleagues who never used LinkedIn, some of whom didn’t even have profiles.  I had one co-worker who insisted that she never used it because she didn’t want to give the impression to the boss that she was looking for work (she wasn’t, but still, her reasoning went, why give anybody a reason to think so?)  If you’re not as active as those of us who live and breathe business networking but still want to find a good way to stay in touch, below is an article I wrote a few years ago while I was working full-time that I think still stands up.  I’ve updated a couple of spots and of course, edited it for clarity.  Enjoy. (more…)

By | 2021-06-16T15:42:31+00:00 June 16th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, Leadership|0 Comments

Don’t abandon your Chief Customer Officer

I was recently speaking with a friend who’s a Chief Customer Officer.  She was in good spirits but nonetheless was lamenting a bit about her colleagues:  “It’s like I feel I have to defend my existence sometimes,” she said.  Oh, boy, have I been there.  My career has included time within PMOs, BPM/BPI organizations, and of course CX.  Some organizations approach these sorts of disciplines as nice-to-haves, often because it’s fashionable to put effort (or appear to do so) into these sorts of things.  At the end of a lean quarter, or if temporary business enthusiasm simply starts to ebb, you find yourself on the chopping block.  No matter how poorly sales go, it’s never sales they come looking to get rid of.  But our sorts of ‘ancillary’ organizations are often in the crosshairs.

Fortunately, my friend didn’t mean it that way.  She didn’t feel her job was on the line or that her team could be cut because people didn’t see the value.  That’s a relief.  But more frustrating for her was that she found it difficult to gain traction and buy-in for her CX improvement efforts.  She has the support of her boss, the CEO, who often speaks of the importance of CX and why having a Chief Customer Officer is so valuable.  But whenever she attempted with her peers to institute a change or to improve something in what they did in order to improve their CX, she ran into continual pushback. (more…)

By | 2021-05-04T14:56:20+00:00 May 4th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Jobs, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering|0 Comments

For CX, Where is not as important as What and Why

Where a CX function is located within a company is a frequent discussion topic among CXers.  I’ve been thinking about this recently and, while obviously each company is unique and every situation different, it occurs to me that where a CX function resides isn’t nearly as important as is what it’s chartered to do.

But if I could get all Simon Sinek-y here, naturally the greater question still, is the Why.  Let’s look at the charter of what your CX organization should be in the first place, then we can start to look at what difference it may make as to where it’s located.  The why should drive the what, and therefore, the where will really just be a slight tweaking and refinement of range of influence. (more…)

By | 2021-03-30T15:13:13+00:00 March 30th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Jobs, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments

Don’t let your most valuable resource go

I’m blessed to have been recruited to work in the field of Customer Experience.  I came to the practice of CX via Process Engineering (Lean Six Sigma, or LSS).  Using PE to better our CX is an incredibly fulfilling use of a legacy approach to improving what we do.  Years ago, before I was involved in CX, I saw how, sadly, PE was often used to ‘find efficiencies’, which usually meant looking for redundancies and people to fire.  Back in the day, I mortified my then-boss when I posted the following article to my professional network about why that’s a bad idea.  Somehow it didn’t get me in trouble (too much).  I recently re-read it, gave it some buffing, and present it to you here today.  Plenty of organizations still use PE organically simply to reduce resource use and eliminate waste in their business processes; a noble endeavor as well.  Regrettably, the trend still exists to cut people as a spoil of those improvements.  For those who aren’t yet using PE for CX purposes, perhaps this can still resonate with you.  Enjoy.

 

One of the things my colleagues and I emphasize when we educate our partners about Lean Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement is that it shouldn’t be used to reduce headcount. Some managers and executives I train think that new-found capacity after a process improvement is made is a good opportunity to draw down. Here are two important reasons why that’s a very bad idea: (more…)

By | 2021-03-01T16:33:25+00:00 March 1st, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering|0 Comments

Don’t tell me you love me

A few years back I was at lunch with a mentor and there was something we needed or wanted that we had to ask for.  The waiter replied somewhat along the lines of:  “Well, we’re not supposed to do that, but I’ll go ahead and do that for you.”

We thanked him, but after he walked away, my mentor turned to me and surprisingly said, “what poor form for him to say that.”  When I asked what he meant—after all, I was glad he’d singled us out for special attention—he explained, “so what, now we’re in his debt?  Like he’s done us a favor?” (more…)

By | 2021-02-25T16:39:46+00:00 February 25th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments