Customer experience management is only for the determined: 70% of all customer experience transformations fail, according to research by McKinsey and Co. And of those failures, 72% can be attributed to employee resistance and unsupportive leadership behaviors.

Ron Ritter and Will Enger from McKinsey & Company outline three steps to align front-line behaviors with the overall customer experience vision, increasing the chance for your program to succeed.

cx customer experience transformationsSource: McKinsey & Co.

Based on the webinar presented by Ron Ritter and Will Enger from McKinsey & Company, as a part of CXWeek by Qualtrics. Click here for this presentation and others, all available on-demand immediately.

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1. Define your customer experience aspiration – What do you need to change?

Don’t skimp up front; this a process requires a real time investment. What is the experience your organization provides? Creating this factual view requires more than executives sitting around in a room writing a mission statement. You will need to speak with employees on the front lines. Talk to cashiers, ride operators, security. You need to see the experience as it’s lived between employees and customers.

You also need to learn who your customers are, not just analytically, but humanistically. It’s more than demographics. It’s the emotions they feel, the diversity at different times of day and year. Once you know your customers, you can prioritize the important drivers of satisfaction. Which customer journey matters? How can your customer experience competitively differentiate your organization? An airport that McKinsey worked with found that it wasn’t the slow TSA check-in, but the general slowness at the airport that was an issue. It didn’t matter if TSA was fast if they had to wait 90 minutes in another line.

2. Align your leadership by summarizing your aspiration in one sentence

Leadership sponsorship allows you to engage all the people in your organization with conviction. Find the most influential leaders and meet with them. This is time consuming, but it’s important. It will allow you to stay consistent with brand tradition as well as bring leadership’s influence in-line with the vision.

The same airport from the above example gathered its leaders for two days of face-to-face meetings. They created a safe space to debate and the various leaders worked together to turn the aspiration into a vision, a one sentence statement that defined what the airport wanted to accomplish:

“To delight and value each guest with the finest airport experience in the world”

3. Turn the customer experience vision into tangible actions

With leadership’s support, the airport was ready to deploy this vision to the front line. This is where 70% of organizations miss the mark. Simply telling employees the new vision is insufficient. You need to create mechanisms to apply the vision to daily operations, and these should be based on observable behaviors that mesh with the vision. This is exactly what the airport did:

  • Safety – Keep eye out for customers; make sure they feel safe at all times. This can range from children to adults.
  • Comfort – Traveling is stressful enough; make sure the airport is free of mental and physical stress. Pick up trash, and report areas that need attention.
  • Ease – Make the experience simple and courteous. Use appropriate body language and a calm voice. Eye contact and smiling go a long way.
  • Speed – Remove the perception of inefficiency and delay. Stop and proactively offer assistance to the next step.

To help make the daily principles sticky, the airport introduced an incentive and recognition program. Managers at the airport watched for and reported the observable behaviors. Each month, the customer experience team examines those reports, and winners are chosen and recognized in front of airport leadership. Patience is a virtue. These reports increased from just 10 per month to more than 100 per month in around 2 years.

Involve leadership and create daily activities to implement the vision. That’s how you avoid the 70%.

On-Demand CXWeek Webinars

Based on the webinar presented by Ron Ritter and Will Enger from McKinsey & Company, as a part of CXWeek by Qualtrics. Click here for this presentation and others all available on-demand immediately.