I’ve been asked so many times – “How do you approach customer experience each time you walk into a new company?”. My answer is that every company is different and every customer is different. Of course, over the two decades of doing this work, I’ve definitely learned what works and what doesn’t. I’ve also created a set of tools that I apply every time to every transformation. I call them the “3 Cs of CEM: Credibility. Competency. Culture”.
I think of them of buckets of work that will have to be done each time I approach a new challenge. Every bucket has a set of artifacts or tasks within it. Not every artifact will be used at every company, but I know that I can rely on them to help me help a company to make strides towards a better and differentiated customer experience. After more transformations than I care to remember (they age me a little each time!) and coaching a ton of CXOs/VPs/CEOs on how to drive Customer Experience change, I’ve learned that these three categories really do cover the bulk of what we have to do.
Credibility is all about data. It is about ensuring that you aren’t just another voiced opinion in the crowd. It is about building voice of customer programs and listening stations. It is about aggregating all the data from all the silos and actually looking across it for the first time. It is about being able to pull out unstated needs because you’re peeking above the silos. Credibility also has a ton of correlations to business results. ROI, Customer Lifetime Value, retention, acquisition. All of those have a place within credibility. You have to be able to separate yourself from the crowd in order to make change. And you have to do in it a credible way.
Competency is all about actually having people on your team who know how to do stuff that no one else in the company knows how to do. I call this my super-highly-paid internal consulting team. These are the people who can design, and pattern and can immerse themselves into personas and represent them appropriately in every meeting, in every conversation. Competency is bred by helping great user experience (ux) designers start to think about all the channels. I remember back in 2007 when I posted a job for a customer experience architect. Apparently, it was the first instance of that job being created in America. I found amazing user interface (ui) and ux people and taught them how to design in omni channel. I taught them how to use personas to base their omni channel design. These are the people who bring competency to an organization. Competency is also about teaching the broader employee population how to start thinking about the customer experience. Everything from how to prioritize work to how to design. It is about translating the language of customer experience into the language of the C-Suite so that you have their voices carrying the message instead of yours.
Culture is last, but it is the most important. Culture is the DNA. When I start my culture work I tackle mission, vision, value, compensation, hiring, promoting – everything. Culture is about how you measure. Lost luggage metrics. Tying compensation to customer experience metrics. Customer Experience is really just one big change leadership movement – and change leadership is all about the culture you create. In this case, customer-centric cultures. Culture is about asking your employees to help you do something differently and creating compelling cases for change. Culture is about changing language, approach – how you look and feel. Culture is your backbone.
I’ll dive deeper into each of the three Cs and each of the underlying tools I use in future posts, but remember – everything you need to do in order to drive customer centricity and customer experience fits into one of them!