Posted by Paul Hagen on October 30, 2011
“Customer experience is everyone’s business” is a mantra that I often hear from customer experience leaders. Of course, it’s true. The entire purpose of a company as an entity is to provide value to customers in exchange for a payment. Every activity that the company performs is part of the ecosystem that delivers the perceived value that a customer receives.
But connecting the dots to those behind the scenes from IT to logistics planners and compliance individuals challenges many customer experience leaders . . . as well as the leaders of those behind-the-scenes departments. I’m feeling this challenge poignantly right now as I prepare a keynote speech for Forrester’s joint Infrastructure & Operations and Security Forums coming up in a few weeks. Let me share a few pointers that I’ve gathered from customer experience leaders who helped guide my thinking:
- Translate the language. As customer experience professionals, we have built a vocabulary to describe the tools and methodologies of our practice in the same way every other department has created its own language. Customer experience leaders have to translate these practices into the beliefs and behavioral norms of the departments if they are going to change the way things are done. Change agent, champion, or customer advocate programs at firms like John Deere, Philips Electronics, Intuit, and Fidelity are great mechanisms to provide these translators.
- Use tools to illustrate the connection. Tools like customer ecosystem maps help leaders visualize the complex makeup of people, processes, and technology that support the interactions that matter most to customers. One large manufacturer used this kind of tool to entice engineers out of the specific aspects of data to see the bigger picture of what the maintenance staff at their client sites were having to deal with to fix equipment and get new parts.
- Tell stories to recognize exemplary behavior. Stories have the power to transcend cultures . . . witness the religions, mythologies, and great literature that have global followings. Stories help people make connections to higher-level ideals in their own lives. To create these connections, one bank required all staff members from contact center employees to security guards to tell a story about how they had positively affected a customer’s experience. Another company’s management team elevated to mythical status the extraordinary efforts of a collections department to understand its customers’ business cycles and change the way those activities happened . . . and in the process achieve among the highest Net Promoter Scores in the company.