5 steps to get executive buy in for EX (and CX) programs
If you’re reading this, you no doubt know the value of providing good experiences for the customers and employees of your company alike. You’re likely also aware that while the Venn diagram of what creates a good experience for both employees and customers isn’t completely a circle, there are several common points. From the essential nature of feedback to the importance of ambience to the value of personalization, employees and customers value largely the same things. Though companies increasingly recognize the rewards reaped by placing customers and employees on equal pedestals, their efforts to guide their organizations in this new direction are sometimes met with resistance in the C-suite.
Before finalizing your CX EX program, be sure to review our article on the four ways CX & EX have more in common than you think. Bear those ideas in mind, as they aim to help you streamline your methods and cover the most ground with the fewest steps.
Key components of EX & CX programs
There are several common elements in successful CX and EX programs. Though they differentiate by necessity at a certain point, they’re both built from similar elements. Here are some key components of both:
- Strong Leadership
- Vision and Clarity
- Engagement and Collaboration
- Listening and Learning
- Alignment and Action
- Patience and Commitment
As Jim Hall once said, “[You have to] ask the right questions to get the right answers.” Then, formulate a plan to turn those answer into actions. In implementing programs, communicate clear goals–customers and employees can’t help you unless you tell them that you want to improve. To make sure your plans are carried out to their full potential, select and train the right leaders to be both the face and the brains of your company, leaders who provide their teams with meaning and context for their work. Finally, make your vision beautiful and believable. Set your aim high, but not so high that people will dismiss it as pandering.
5 steps to get executive buy-in for your programs
1. Demonstrate How Your Vision Aligns (or Improves) with the Company’s Employee Culture
Every successful measure instituted by a company must, to a certain degree, be in harmony with that company’s core tenets and ideals. Those values, after all, are what brought the organization to that point so far, both with respect to customers and employees. When drafting your solutions, keep your company’s mission statement in mind. Any program that flows as a natural extension of that core will be more successful than one that isn’t because it improves on the ethos that attracted customers and employees in the first place. Prove you can make that even better and you’ll have all the support you need.
2. Prepare a Flexible Presentation
When presenting your plan, you might have ten minutes or two (and you might not know which until you get there). Be able to elaborate on your main points as much as you audience wants, but also make sure you can sum them up in as briefly and convincingly as possible. There’s a power in brevity. The best ideas are almost always the ones that can be condensed the most simply. They’re the ones that get remembered. If you can’t sum it up in a few lines, simplify. Conversely, know your material inside and out; brainstorm a list of questions you could be asked and know how to respond to them.
For more tips on crafting your presentation, read this article from the Harvard Business Review.
3. Data Are Your Friends (But Only if You Treat Them Right)
It’s no secret that your proposal won’t win anyone over unless you can can quantify the resulting success. However, there are as many wrong ways to go about this as there are right ones. It can be tempting to flash as many statistics as you’ve collected in an attempt to dazzle your audience with your research. Don’t. Charts and table and graphs can be headaches as easily as they can be helps. Remember what your main points are and stick to the data that support the bottom line. For example, instead of telling executives about all the new revenue your plan will net, tell them how profitable it will be. Keep it simple, keep it slick.
For more on data use, read this article from the Qualtrics blog.
4. Show How You’ll Make Your Plan Happen
The last thing an executive wants is something new to worry about. Demonstrate how your plan will reduce, rather than add to, their stress. Lay out an actionable series of steps you’ll take to bring your vision to fruition and what it is you’ll need from your audience to make it happen. The more bases you have covered, the more runs you’ll score. Tell them who else in the company you plan on bringing on board, how you plan on using their talents, and how their involvement in your plan will affect their other responsibilities.
For more on plan execution, read this article from AON.
5. Leave the Ball in Their Court (But with a Plan to Get It Back to You)
After you’ve done all you can do to share your plan, make sure you leave a trail for it to get back to you. Whether or not you think the powers that will decide to implement your proposal, leave a handout with each person you present to so as to make it as easy as possible for them to bring you back. Busy schedules mean that things fall through the cracks all the time. A physical reminder of the meeting that winds up in an executive’s briefcase or on their desk could make the difference between the issue being forgotten and it being resolved.
For more on following up, read this article from Forbes.
Why this matters
Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave current positions for other companies, saving their employers approximately 200% of their annual salaries in replacement costs. Keeping them happy matters.
On average, it costs five times as much to win over a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. Keeping them happy matters.
The more efficiently you can design programs that will boost both employee engagement and customer retention, the better off your company’s bottom line will be. Remember that integration of customer and employee programs wherever possible is the ideal. What makes one party happy will likely make the other happy, as well.
Remember, that this is all a process and that executive buy-in, while essential, is only one piece of the puzzle. When your other planets are aligned as best they can, the C-suite is at its most likely to back your proposal. If you missed the first webinar in the series, go back and watch it. Then, don’t forget to tune in for the remaining four!
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