Transforming the word no into yes for CX project approval

How to gain CX project approval

How do CX initiatives drive desired business outcomes?

Many organisations cite that improving customer experience is among their biggest priorities. However, despite the growing focus, internationally recognised measures are indicating that it is not improving. A recent Forrester study across 19 industries showed that the progress of customer experience improvement has remained stagnant for the third year in a row.

With all the effort that companies are putting into improving their customer experience and services, why aren’t organisations seeing significant improvements? It is little wonder why organisations have questions about whether implementing CX initiatives will actually drive desired business outcomes. 

Winning hearts and minds of the leadership team in seeking approval for your customer experience project is the first hurdle that must be overcome, so it’s imperative to be equipped to help them understand the business case for the project. Senior Leadership and departments need to understand the proposed benefits of the CX project for them to provide the support required. 

Before presenting CX projects to senior leadership there are 4 key questions you must be able to confidently answer to attract company-wide support. Our clients have also shared their thoughts on how their recent CX projects delivered against these questions.

Organisations are on a journey to becoming more customer-centric. They are also finding that there are few silver bullets to improving the experience of your staff and customers.
They call it a journey for a reason.

  1. How will this project improve our business results and help us meet our KPIs?

  2. Any business changes that are derived from a customer experience project must demonstrate business value. If CX initiatives don’t deliver business growth, the leadership team will disengage with the initiatives and cease to support them. Customer-driven change must have the support of senior stakeholders if it is to have any chance of success.  This means all initiatives must not only align with the overall organisational strategy but also connect to the business context of what value they will drive such as reduced churn, increased repeat purchase, reduced cost to serve and/or referral.  

    Connecting to the core business drivers, bringing operational staff along the journey and building alignment and collaboration are the key ingredients to the successful implementation of CX initiatives. 

    " Proto was great at engaging with all different stakeholders throughout this process – from getting our operational staff on board to educating executives on why we were going through this process and how it would look. They had a clear understanding of what needed to be done and how best we could achieve it. They have certainly been instrumental in changing the viewpoint of a number of executives and stakeholders."

  3. Will the CX insights be useful, actionable and help us differentiate our brand?

  4. The quality of insights should be measured by their ability to present customer truth in a way that creates an impetus for change. If insights don’t drive empathy and connect with employees at an emotional level, or they are not sufficiently prescriptive to withstand the scrutiny of senior management, they will not change behaviour. Insights must be able to be operationalised through the implementation of improved products, services and customer experiences. 

    Customer insights must reveal stories about customers underlying needs, their emotional state and mindsets including what, why and how they specifically want you to help them. This depth of insight will enable teams to connect to their customers and incite the organisation to enact the changes needed.

    Ensure you have a guaranteed approach to generate insights from customer experience research that are both surprising and actionable.

    “The insights we gained from the customer journey map Proto designed were surprising! We knew we had a big journey ahead but I don’t think we realised that at every single touchpoint we had an opportunity to improve customer experience. We had done a lot of process mapping previously but working with Proto helped us to really establish a foundation of what was actually going on with our customers and to visually understand our customer journey and what our opportunities were. It was a game-changer.”

    " The detailed insights and advice not only gave us clarity on what the ideal end state looks like but also provided actionable ways for us to improve in these areas. From the insights and initiatives provided, we’ representing 6 phases to the Strategic Counsel from training and onboarding to managing partnerships, best practice and increasing our levels of service around the product.”

  5. Don’t we have enough research already?

  6. In today’s environment, customer data is available from multiple sources. There is more risk of having too much customer data than too little. An even bigger risk is that there is customer research that has been undertaken and not acted upon. This can occur due to fragmented and disorganised data, hidden in separate locations and siloed systems. Pulling the data together, analysing it then acting upon it becomes overwhelming with the problem being too much data, information and ideas to address the issues rather than too little. There is also the question of whether an organisation has the right kind of data and research including the answers to the questions of what customers are really looking for. Without the right information, rigorous frameworks and processes for synthesising it and prioritising ideas, organisations can be tempted to act on intuition, rather than solving the real customer problem.

    Have a proven process ready to implement the right initiatives, not the ones that you assume customers will like, but rather those that solve customers most important problems. 

    "We'd previously gone out to the customers ourselves and asked them how things are going and they had given us some insight. However, I wanted a third party to give that delineation point so we could really hear from the voice of the customer and what they had to say,  without them feeling as though if we asked them, we only want to hear good things. We had a large amount of NPS data, but didn't have the time or expertise to synthesise it and prioritise the learnings.”

  7. Can’t we do this CX project ourselves?

For a business to achieve true customer-led transformation, they must be prepared to take on insights that have the ability to challenge the organisation. With the escalating expectations of customers, they are no longer satisfied with the service that they were happy with 12 months or 2 years ago. To really understand customer emotions and motivations, often an objective and external approach is needed to deliver deep cross-category customer insight.

Understand that customers are comparing their interactions with your organisation across different categories and applying a “last app used” lens to assessing their level of satisfaction. Ensure you know before you start what expectations and experiences your customers are using as their baseline. What is their best last app used? 

"I think sometimes what is said is not what is heard. Our customers spoke to us but we weren't really hearing what they were saying. And we were probably making excuses for ourselves. Proto gave us really clear cut feedback, identified the issues and what the current customer pain points were. Proto interviewed customers confidentially and provided anonymised feedback. This allowed customers to confide in them with their deeper thoughts on the service that we provide.

For CX projects to be valuable and drive business change, they must be able to inform organisations what their customers desire most and how they can help customers achieve these outcomes. Organisations must differentiate themselves with a customer-informed strategy that will convince customers to stay. If customers cannot achieve their desired outcomes, they will leave. To deliver a return to your organisation, CX projects must answer this question: If your organisation disappeared tomorrow, would you be missed? 

Training and Development Workshops

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Customer Journey Mapping

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Building Voice of the Customer Program

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