Customer experience is a multifaceted mystery that transcends any single technology, department, or best practice. It is a comprehensive methodology for organizing and running a business that does not always map to predefined organizational goals. So when a CX leader is asked to demonstrate ROI on their efforts, it can get tricky.
This week, we released our latest webinar, “The ROI of CX Transformation.” We tackled a topic frequently discussed in CX circles, and addressed one of the most common questions clients ask us: “How do I prove the value of CX initiatives within my organization?”
On one hand, there are myriad data-backed examples of the significant bottom-line impact that CX delivers when done well. In fact, we reviewed a few standout cases during the webinar. On the other hand, pinning a specific dollar amount to a technology or initiative can be difficult. So where do CX leaders begin?
We invited guest speaker Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian, principal analyst serving customer experience professionals for Forrester, to offer her perspective on the question. Following are the three takeaways from our discussion that left the biggest impression on me:
Most Executives Don’t Prioritize CX
Those of us who’ve chosen to make CX the center of our universe are passionate advocates for our customers. So it’s nearly impossible to imagine why executives aren’t in lockstep with these same ideals.
Executives are orbiting around a whole other solar system of planets (priorities) such as P&L statements, shareholder expectations, regulatory complexities, and demanding investors. It’s the job of CX pros to make an undeniable case that customer experience initiatives speak to—and help solve—those business realities.
Making the Case Means Knowing Your Business
In order to make a business case for CX, practitioners must first understand how their business works. Different industries and models are driven by different elements—from business models, to maturity, to where and whether CX investments reap exponential benefits, or reach a point of diminishing return. All of these factors should inform the design and prioritization in customer experience initiatives. It’s also essential to know which areas of the business executives have targeted as opportunities and risks. Lastly, it’s important to identify what makes your key decision makers tick at a more visceral level. Do they revel in spreadsheets and logic? Are they motivated by legacy? Do they bend to emotion? At the core, your leaders are human. Remember that, and it will be easier to align your approach with theirs.
CX Impact Requires Discipline…and Creativity
Customer experience and its essential fuel—the voice of the customer—are still maturing, with very few brands unlocking their full potential. Instead, they start with simple measurement, gin up a metric like CSAT or NPS, and are then surprised when their leaders find little or no value in the sacred number. The key is in looking beyond a traditional ROI equation, to the broader potential value that customer experience can bring to all corners of your business.
The challenge, and promise, of this approach is that it requires focused effort and discipline. Practitioners must be on a constant hunt for the places and people they can help—from giving HR specific ways to enhance training, to providing marketing with an early heads up on a marketing campaign that’s backfiring—a well-oiled CX program can and should become a guidance system for your entire organization. And that kind of impact is impossible not to value.