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5 stages to evolving your CX program through the maturity model

XM Institute Expert Isabelle Zdatny walks us through the benefits and stages of evolving your CX program through the maturity model.

What is a CX maturity model

A CX maturity model is a roadmap to help guide you as you navigate through the 6 core competencies of CX. Isabelle says that it is crucial for CX leaders to master these 6 competencies if they want to mature your CX program. These competencies help you to understand what you need to do to create a successful CX program, whereas the maturity model categorizes the level you’re doing them at.

What are the benefits of using a maturity model?

Isabelle explains that although there are many clear benefits to evolving a CX program through the maturity model, the main ones will help you:

  • Gain a clear understanding of the essential capabilities required to derive value from your CX program
  • Leverage an established framework to create internal alignment around the design and execution of your CX program’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Develop a structured approach to identify your program’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Create plans for making progress towards your goals

Stage 1: Investigate

“Organizations don’t become 100% customer-centric overnight,” explains Isabelle. They start off small. And by small, she means baby steps — usually not even accepting that CX is even needed in the organization.

At this stage your company is not focused on CX as a strategic opportunity. They don’t understand what customer experience is or what it could mean for the organization.

Key behavior

You’ll know that you’re at stage 1 in the process because the organization does not view CX as a differentiator, but may still invest in what they call ‘customer service’ or ‘relationship management.’

How to advance

“First identify your low-hanging fruit,” says Isabelle.

“Find your quick wins. Do you already have surveys deployed? Great! Go and look at the customer insights you’ve already collected.

“Have your employees complained about stupid rules that prevent them from helping customers? Fantastic! Now go and try to get rid of them.”

Then present your case to senior execs to get the support you’ll need to start making things happen, and the buy-in you’ll need to acquire resources.

Stage 2: Initiate

At this stage, leaders start to see the value of CX in the organization. They’ll start to explore the benefits of CX and launch small, isolated CX activities.

Key behaviors

Execs will start to engage with CX and want to learn about it. You may find that they create an ad-hoc group whose task it is to better understand what the organization needs to focus on to improve its CX.

How to advance

“Those who are on board should now look to build a wider understanding and cross-functional support of CX strategy,” says Isabelle. “Leverage any small wins you’ve achieved up until now so you can begin to more and more leaders on board.”

Stage 3: Mobilize

Congratulations! You’ve won hearts and minds. At this stage, executives now view CX as a strategic priority.

Key behaviors

You’ll know when you’re at this stage when senior execs consistently talk about CX and its value to the company. There’s now a full-time CX staff who collects and distributes insights to drive experience moments.

“You’ll start to combine X- and O-data to enable advanced analytics and ROI measurement.”

However, although they’re managing pain points at this stage, they still aren't going after the fundamental or systemic problems that a lot of times are the ultimate cause of these bad experiences.

How to advance

Engage employees across the organization in understanding and demonstrating good CX behaviors. The CX team need to work across functions to drive action and improve customer pain points.

Stage 4: Scale

This is where CX efforts start to move from just being about finding and fixing those isolated interactions, to redesigning and rethinking broader cross-functional operations and company culture.

Key behaviors

At this stage, you’ll find that the C-suite is visibly engaged and mandating changes. The CX team has cross-functional governance in place. It also actively uses CX metrics to measure progress in raising customer loyalty and the impact on the business.

“You’ll also find that the company will be investing in engaging the entire workforce in CX and integrating CX into HR processes.”

How to advance

To advance to the final stage of the CX maturity model, Isabelle says you must consistently use metrics and insights to improve CX and track the impact of CX efforts. “You must deeply integrate CX into your HR processes to reinforce excellent CX behaviors.”

Stage 5: Embed

At the highest level of your CX program, CX skills are engrained across the entire organization. “CX is now the basis for organization’s ongoing differentiation,” says Isabelle.

Key behaviors

At this stage the whole of the organization is aligned to the value of CX. CX metrics are part of executive scorecards. Impact on CX is a required criteria in project funding and budget requests. At this stage in the model, no one in your company should be saying ‘CX is not my job’.

How to advance

Now is not the time to take your foot off the gas, says Isabelle.

“Your CX program must enable the organization to continuously listen, propagate insights, and rapidly adapt to the needs and expectations of your customers.”

It’s a continuous journey, not a single destination, but the rewards will be worth it.

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