According to Forrester Research’s predictions for 2018, customer experience (CX) performance will take a dip.
“CX became the centerpiece of business strategy as companies adjusted to the experience economy. But according to Forrester’s 2017 CX Index™, CX quality plateaued or declined for most industries and companies. Why? CX initiatives tackled low-hanging fruit to put early points on the board, and most CX initiatives had too little clout to force meaningful operational change.
Customers’ expectations will outpace companies’ ability to evolve or invent experiences, and the deferred transformation in 2017 means that companies can’t adjust fast enough or well enough. In 2018, 30% of companies will see further declines in CX performance, and those declines will translate into a net loss of a point of growth.
Smart executives will intervene to make CX an internal disruptive force, one that is underpinned by the fundamentals of CX management with customer trust at the core; too many executives will continue to ignore evidence of market disruption and procrastinate until the evidence is overwhelming, putting their firms at risk as we enter 2019.” – Forrester Research
At Audienz, we have been delivering CX strategy and business value by understanding customer needs via research, experience planning, marketing content and implementation. Our efforts have helped refocus businesses on realizing customer priorities, improving customer satisfaction and increasing revenue. Our continued commitment to CX is embodied in our most recent efforts to build out our CX practice, crystallize our offerings and be strong with the “disruptive force” that can champion CX.
I will never forget the inspired talk by one of my Forrester Research partners, Megan Burns. Megan spoke to what it takes to build a successful CX strategy, practice and team. She broke it down into 5 key areas:
- Team orientation
- Core attributes
- Cultivating a reputation
Team orientation and partnerships are very important. CX teams are dependent on help from others — you cannot perform CX in a vacuum. Success comes from building strong relationships with your business and technology partners. The teams need to work together to establish a CX vision with experience goals that align to business goals and are feasible within the existing technology platform. Alignment with the technology team will shape technology decisions going forward.
Competency is required. CX is not just a function that’s part of a development or delivery process. Architecting a world-class customer experience requires a CX methodology, knowledge and skills to execute against a plan. Customer research, journey-mapping, empathy-mapping, developing insights, managing stakeholders, delivering process, content or user experience enhancements, and CX competency will drive measurable results.
What people think of us determines our level of influence. If we want to impact the business beyond quick wins and drive meaningful operational change, we must increase our ability to influence leaders and decision-makers. Influence is rooted in trust and we earn trust through action, exhibiting the right qualities and delivering measurable results.
These core attributes are found among the most influential CX team members:
- Credible – we operate from business intelligence and are data driven
- Service-oriented – we truly care about the customer and focus on their needs
- Impartial – we hold everyone equally accountable
- Expert – we are focused and specialized in the art of customer experience
- Pragmatic – anything we propose is practical and realistic
- Determined – we do not lose sight of the vision to positively change the way we all do business
- Inspiring – our passion and excitement is contagious
Cultivating a reputation starts with communicating a clear and compelling vision of success. Explaining how and why CX can make things better, backing it up with data, while acknowledging the magnitude of the task, can give the team purpose. Being credible, pragmatic and inspiring.
How we deliver CX strategy requires having a defined process. We start by understanding the business goals, create shared business and experience goals, and reinforce our actions by including our business partners in every step of the process. Being expert, service-oriented and collaborative at every step.
We will own the reputation by holding everyone accountable to the commitment of CX improvement. We will track and follow up on all assignments throughout the process, especially in our own team. We will be determined and impartial, eliminating bias and follow the data.
2018 is just a blink away, and if Forrester is right about the 30% decline, it’s a perfect opportunity for Audienz to jump right in and help our business partners find their way in CX strategy. Peace.