The First Step to Building a Customer Experience Strategy – Understand Corporate Strategy

In this series, I’ll be talking about the 5 steps to building a differentiating customer experience strategy. The Customer Experience Strategy is a part of the Competency pillar within the Three Cs Framework I introduced in 2010 – Competency, Credibility and Culture.

The 5 steps to building a customer experience strategy.

Step 1: Understand Corporate Strategy

Step 2: Who are you as a company?

Step 3: What do your customers want?

Step 4: Redefine your mission statement

Step 5: Get CEO Buy In

After you’ve done this, start to id your holes.

Step 1: Understand Corporate Strategy.

When I’m working with a new company, one of the first steps that we have to take together is to build our customer experience strategy. All too often, I see executives dive into journey maps and listening posts without a clear idea of where they are trying to go. Knowing that you want to improve your customer experience is a start, but a dream without a strategy on how to get there is doomed to never be realized!

The first step that I take when working with a firm on their CX strategy is to fully understand what the corporate strategy is. Now – this may be an unpopular opinion, but a Customer Experience Strategy can’t be the only strategy that a company has. I’ve found that CX efforts are most successful when they are a component of an overall corporate strategy. Many places have three or five “pillars” to their strategy. When I think about CX, I think about it as one of those pillars. It is a very important pillar, but it isn’t the only one.

When trying to understand the corporate strategy, I’ll spend time talking to the Chief Strategy Officer, the Chief Marketing Officer, the CEO, the CFO and the board of directors. It is imperative that I understand where the company is trying to go. Are they trying to become best in class in their industry for operational efficiency? Are they trying to leapfrog the competition and come out with the newest and best product? Are they trying to figure out how to level out and actually operate efficiently after several years of rockstar growth?

All of these scenarios and more are key to understanding what company goals you’ll need to ensure that your customer experience strategy tie to. For instance, I was consulting with a firm and they were very clearly in a crunch time. They’d grown exponentially over the previous 5 years – but they hadn’t invested enough in their infrastructure and operations to actually keep up with what they’d sold! Knowing that they were going to be in a “catch up” period where their technology teams and operations teams would be garnering most of the financial resources, I knew that my strategy had to be lean from an investment perspective.

Another great example was a company that I was consulting with that had really hit rock bottom. Their stock price was lower than it had been in years. They were losing customers left and right. I knew that we’d have to really figure out the drivers of attrition first – and ensure that our customer experience strategy focused on stopping the bleed of attrition before we could move onto other focus areas.

There are so many differences in how companies are approaching their corporate strategy – and if you’re reading this, chances are that your company has already figured out that customer experience is a key part of corporate success. Ensure that as you build your customer experience strategy and plan that you are complementing and supporting the corporate strategy. Doing that almost ensures you at least first tier support.

2 thoughts on “The First Step to Building a Customer Experience Strategy – Understand Corporate Strategy”

  1. This is a great message – I am struggling just to convince management that we need to start with a strategy. Quick hits or plugging some new technology in starts a whack-a-mole game that eventually gets expensive. And nobody wins. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  2. I think of Customer Experience as a part of a great corporate strategy in the beginning phases. The goal of a true customer experience transformation is that you’re taking customer experience from being “a” part of strategy to being “the” strategy. It is a long journey my friends, but you can do it!

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