To continue our Blog Rewind series, we invite you to revisit one of our favorites…
- Customer Experience
The CEO/Customer Experience Link
- Christa Heibel
- 11 April 2018
“There is only one boss – the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” — Sam Walton, Founder, Sam’s Club and Walmart
As a contact center consultant and customer experience advocate, I love this quote. It really sums up the importance of customer experience and gets to the heart of whose “job” it is to nurture CX – everyone’s! I’m often asked about who should “own” a business’ customer experience from the standpoint of responsibility and accountability. While the answer really depends on your business, I will say this, any CX efforts must involve the CEO. As I commented in a past blog, “Amid the pressures of finances, logistics, manufacturing, personnel, etc., customer experience can slip off the radar in the upper levels of management.”
This is a problem, and here’s why: According to a 2015 report, “The Value Of Experience” from Genesys in conjunction with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), there is a direct correlation between customer experience, profitability and CEO engagement. In fact, when CEOs are in charge of customer experience initiatives:
- 58 percent of all companies surveyed reported higher profitability than their competitors.
- 59 percent experience better revenue growth as a result of prioritizing customer experience investments.
However, the research also found a discrepancy between who CEOs think is in charge of customer experience, and what their colleagues say. While 72 percent of CEOs consider themselves in charge of leading customer experience, only 27 percent of their colleagues agree. In other words, despite a clear link between CEO oversight of customer experience and profitability, companies are confused about who is leading CX initiatives. This disparity in perception can hamper customer experience efforts over the long run, so it behooves businesses to not only clarify organizational “grey” areas when it comes to customer experience leadership, but also place the CEO firmly at the CX helm.
This CX effort requires the active involvement and commitment by the CEO. Why? Because transformation efforts can easily get bogged down in politics and silos. How does one start? By simply making the commitment to review progress of the firm’s customer experience efforts on a consistent basis. It is important for this engagement to become a regular part of the executive agenda.
From my experience, CEOs have the ability to drive real, lasting customer experience improvements when they embrace and embody the following CX principles:
- Customer experience is an imperative for the future of the business, not a “nice to have.” CX initiatives and a customer-centric culture must originate from the CEO’s unshakable belief that it impacts business results.
- CEO’s who are willing – even eager – to invest in customer experience send a company-wide signal that CX is a worthy endeavor that provides real financial benefits.
- In order to communicate the importance of customer experience at all levels of the organization, it’s imperative that you measure, incentivize and celebrate CX improvements. This is the only way to ensure customer experience becomes embedded within the core operating fabric of a company.
- The entire executive team must be held accountable for improving customer experience metrics such as Customer Satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores. Don’t offload the responsibility to a chief customer officer or single department.
Although everyone wants to realize the revenue growth that can come with improved customer experience, not everyone is getting it right. As companies across the globe continue to invest more in CX improvements, it’s important to understand the factors that drive CX results over the long-term. Despite the clear link between CEO control of customer experience initiatives and outcomes and company profitability, many companies are failing not only to clearly define who is leading the CX charge, but to firmly engage the CEO in the outcomes.
The bottom line is customer experience success requires CEO nurturing. To learn more about how to engage your CEO in customer experience, or how to become more of a driving CX force as a CEO, I invite you to contact me directly. Through my years of experience in the contact center space, I have seen how CEO involvement and ownership can dramatically – and quickly – impact customer experience improvements.