When you’re searching for a customer experience management (CXM) platform, going from vendor to vendor can be overwhelming, so when you finally select one, there is definitely a sense of excitement. Implementation is ultimately full of possibilities: for your business, for your brand, and for your customers. This process can also be a lot of work, but with the right tools in place, you can realize these possibilities.
As an implementation specialist at InMoment, I help clients implement new CXM technology within their organizations. While every client and implementation process is different, I have found three key elements that deliver the most positive experiences and successful outcomes.
Key #1: Establish a Relationship
Successful implementations are built upon a relationship between the program owners and the implementation team. It’s important to remember that this process is highly collaborative and therefore, it is foundational for there to be a respectful partnership where both parties not only appreciate the work and technology, but also the people involved. When you have that relationship in place, teams communicate more effectively, expectations are clearly set, and the CXM solution is inline with promises and expectations.
Ultimately, building valuable relationships works to a mutual benefit. In order to build this relationship, program owners and implementation teams should schedule time for team building activities. As you start on your implementation journey, think about the following questions:
- How can you connect with the vendor team you are working with? On-site, in-person meetings are ideal, but may require effort due to geographical constraints.
- Do you know anything about the team who is leading the vendor execution? By establishing a relationship with your main point of contact, you stand to better benefit from that relationship. This can help stakeholders become acquainted with the personalities and communication styles involved, as well as the business culture.
Setting aside this time opens up the channels of communication for both teams and makes for positive experiences for everyone involved.
Key #2: Identify the Critical Elements of the Program
When you first set out to find a CXM solution, there was probably some discussion of program goals. Whether you have clear ideas of functions your platform needs to perform or a few areas you would like to focus on, it is absolutely imperative to let your vendor know about these as soon as possible.
Some specific points you may want to clarify are the technical functions your organization requires from its CXM solution. From there, you can set goals such as specifying the KPIs you will track to measure program success and value. Having these mapped out ahead of time allows you to send a clear message of expectations and desired outcome to your implementation team so you can develop a goal-oriented strategy together.
Key #3: Stick to the Timeline Whenever Possible
Once your goals and strategy are clearly outlined, it is possible for you to craft a reasonable timeline. This timeline is essential because it helps manage expectations and also gives both parties time to prepare for program launch. The implementation team is then empowered to meet deadlines. Additionally, the program owner is empowered to prepare the organization for the new CX program by setting up guidelines for data use and plans for how insights will be leveraged for business impact.
Failure to stick to the plan can undermine confidence in the solution as implementation often functions as a “first impression”—and as we all know, bad first impressions can be tough to overcome. On the other hand, meeting deadlines sets you up for a positive working relationship with your vendor. Even more, when stakeholders see that deadlines and expectations have been met, they can become program champions that further a customer-centric culture within your organization.
Implementation ultimately sets the tone for your entire customer experience program, so being intentional about collaborating, goal setting, and timeline creation right off the bat will help you kick off the process with confidence!
If you’re still exploring CXM vendors, check out our Buyer’s Guide for Customer Experience Technology!