Any successful customer experience (CX) program needs buy-in from the top of the organisation – to fund it, shape it and to help embed it from the top down. Here’s how to get them on board with your plan
With the right buy in from the top, you’re much more likely to succeed with your CX program. Here’s the ‘three E’s’ for winning over the leadership team: engagement, explanation and expectation clarity:
Involve leadership in the strategic decisions that will affect them, right from the beginning of your plan and at multiple stages. Ask for their input on your vision and invite them to challenge the ideas and assumptions.
There may be some naysayers who worry about potential disruption; get to the bottom of what worries them and appreciate their value and contribution.
Reassure them that a good CX program delivers unique insights for them to make better business decisions – it doesn’t dictate how to run it. Engaged leaders who feel listened to make better strategic decisions and are more committed.
A great example here is Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty – when setting up their Total Customer Centricity program, their CX team sat down with each board member to understand their expectations and objectives before designing their program.
That way, you get buy-in from the outset and you understand exactly what the organisation’s leadership is looking to achieve.
Some of your leadership team will be the ones signing off your CX program, so it’s essential you explain to them the benefits to their areas of responsibility.
You can use data modelling to demonstrate how your CX program will impact the business.
Leaders will have different understandings too: the CEO will appreciate the implications of unsatisfied customers, whereas the CFO’s focus will be on the financial impact: e.g. churn, the impact on Customer Lifetime Value cost to acquire, cost to serve, ROI etc.
So tailor the explanation of your program’s benefits to each leader’s area of responsibility for maximum understanding and buy-in.
Expectation – providing clarity
Many leaders are uncomfortable with change, and need to see how a new strategy will be implemented before they buy in.
By clearly establishing new targets and milestones, clarifying who is going to do what, and how you will measure and communicate the results, leaders will know exactly what is expected of them.
Expectation clarity eliminates stress and confusion from your plan and invites collaboration. A ‘no blame’ culture also ensures that any failures become learning opportunities. With clarity and shared risk, leaders can concentrate on delivering results as part of a team and everyone involved will feel good about your CX program.