The Fifth Step to Building a Customer Experience Strategy – Get CEO Buy In

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.

This fifth step, getting your CEO Buy In, should be easy, right? She/he hired you, gave you this position, this mandate and asked you to go and figure out how to make your company more customer centric. More focused on voice of customer.

You’ve studied the company; you’ve really immersed yourself in the DNA. You’ve spent months listening to your customers and you’ve come up with a mission statement that you believe really reflects where the company is going. You’ve built an incredible strategy that clearly lays out how you will become the best in your industry, or the best across all industries. You’re so proud.

And then after meeting after meeting to socialize the strategy and after what seems like the entire company says that they support you, you go the CEO. You’re sitting in his or her office.  You’ve worked with all the right people. You’ve done all the right things. You share your strategy – well rehearsed and clear and concise and with any luck, your CEO says “this is brilliant! Go forth and make it happen!”

If you’re a more collaborative culture, you’ve most likely already done pre-reads with all of the C-Suite. They’ve all challenged parts of the plan, so that by the time you walk into the CEO’s office, you can tell them that everyone on their team supports it!

If you’re in a more command and control culture -then you’ve already made sure that your strategy has the special sauce that everyone knows it takes to get approval. (Every company has some version of this…)

You think to yourself “this makes perfect sense! We’re doing what the customer has asked of from us. I found the perfect cross section of who we are as a company, what the brand represents and what our customers’ goals are! This is common sense! This should be so easy.”

Never forget, common sense is so rare that it should be declared a super power.

The reality is, getting the CEO’s approval or buy in is really the easiest step in the strategy process. What is hard is what comes next. Making it real. Making it tangible. Getting the investments. Getting the work prioritized. Keeping it moving. Making it more than a deck or a strategy document that sits on your desk. Now you’ve moved into trench warfare.  Stay tuned for more real life CXO tips, tricks, stories and best practices for taking all the Customer Experience theory that is out there and turning it into real life practice.

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