One of the roles we, as CX professionals, play, is that of change agents. I realize that’s a term people toss out there when they want to seem important or progressive in business, but when you think about it, one of the core jobs we have is to challenge people to take a different perspective; that of the Customer.
In fact, a Process Engineer who used to work for me would say all the time that we need to ‘take off our corporate hat and put on our Customer hat.’ It was a great metaphor, and we even had hats made up for the entire CX team that read “Customer”, one of which I still have on my desk at home.
Our role as advocates for the Customer play a huge part in driving that perspective within our organizations. Engineers are going to work on engineering, finance is going to work on money, and supply chain is going to work on logistics. Our job is to stay focused on the Customer, and a big part of that focus is our challenging our peers in other parts of the company to also infuse a bit of that perspective in the work they do. We’re constantly imploring people in other divisions and departments to approach their work not simply from their own expertise, but consider how what they do impacts the Customers down the line.
As such, a big part of our responsibility is to bring other people along and invite them to think differently. Some folks—especially in the Process Engineering part of our work—even get certified in various methods and practices around change management as a discipline and a skill.
It’s surprising, then, to see how resistant some CXers are to change. All too often CX professionals fall into ruts regarding perspective and how we do our own work just as easily as everybody else in our company. While CX isn’t as old a profession as, say, Project Management in general, it’s been around long enough to have developed some standard structures and ways of its own. While best practices can be very valuable, and it’s great to learn from others who have come before us or are in the CX trenches with us, it’s also important to recognize the risk of succumbing to groupthink and not be creative or curious enough in how we do our own work. Just because it’s part of our job to challenge everybody else to take a new perspective doesn’t mean we’re not also vulnerable to the same human tendencies of comfort and security ourselves.
For example, Do we think deliberately about the ways in which we approach CX? Why do we ask the same questions on surveys? Why do we compare our NPS with those of our competitors? Do we really think putting up banners around the place constitutes “CX culture”? Are we approaching CX in the same way as our competitors do, even though they have a completely different Brand Promise?
Lean Six Sigma specifically, and Process Engineering in general, are all about changing stuff and altering our worldview and not being satisfied with “that’s how we’ve always done it.” Black Belts and other PE practitioners will say that sometimes just getting people to come along with an improvement can be harder than making the improvement itself. But some of those LSS BBs and MBBs are the worst if you go off script and don’t follow their doctrinal diktats…I know, I’ve worked with them.
Sometimes, when I look across the CX space, I see the same reticence to change. If NPS looks like what everybody else is doing, that seems to be good enough for some CX folks. It was the same thing back when C-SAT was all the rage, and it’ll likely be the same with the next CX KPI. And it’s not just about surveys and metrics. As change agents ourselves, we need to practice taking our own medicine and think differently not just about how other people approach Customer Experience, but also how we, as representatives of the field of study, perform our jobs.
The market is constantly evolving, we say. Shouldn’t our approach to CX do likewise?