Do you understand your company’s vision for the customer experience (CX) it wants to deliver? How many of your colleagues do? If you’re a CX professional, how many colleagues have you shared your company’s vision with?
My guess is not many, and I confess, it’s not really a guess — I have data that shows few CX pros regularly share their CX visions/strategies with all employees, and even fewer do so in a consistent way.
And that’s a shame, because great customer experiences are built on solid strategies executed by people sharing a common vision. In other words, a CX strategy must see light to be actionable. Only then can it direct the activities and decision-making of managers and employees. In my recent research, I found successful strategy communication requires a four-phase approach:
- Inspire a sense of purpose. Spare the 50-page strategy manifestos and instead share a simple illustration, video, or set of promises that captures the essence of the CX vision and draws employees in. UK airline easyJet created a one-page customer charter that described the new easyJet flying promise to customers in plain language. Its CX team developed icons to represent each of the five promises and then enlisted its customer champions to act out life-size versions of the icons for photos and video, which it plans to share internally and externally.
- Arm managers with the right tools. Phil Hamburg, executive managing director for strategy execution consultancy Root, has observed that managers are the linchpin for driving change around a new strategy. To light a fire under these essential players, clarify their roles and responsibilities and give them the tools needed to execute. FedEx developed a CX toolkit for project owners and managers and then trained 1,500 employees in critical positions on using the tools to embed the intended FedEx experience into every product, service, feature, interaction, and relationship.
- Embrace interactive learning techniques. Eight-hour seminars won’t cut it when it comes to educating employees — no matter the subject. So when designing ways to teach employees about their roles in delivering the customer experience, companies should employ engaging techniques like videos, storytelling, and learning maps that increase knowledge retention. Cleveland Clinic takes 500 employees at a time away from their normal jobs for a half day to work with a facilitator and discuss overarching patient experience principles and what patient experience excellence means for their daily tasks.
- Institute regular reminders. Guard against employees treating the CX strategy like the flavor of the week by frequently reminding the organization of its commitment. VCA Animal Hospitals embedded client experience nomenclature in its employee handbook, performance evaluations, and company communications. DBS bank hired a former journalist to publish at least two stories a week in internal communication vehicles to generate buzz around its CX strategy of being respectful, easy to deal with, and dependable. And organizations including Saskatchewan Government Insurance and Ameriprise Financial created spaces on their intranets where employees can learn about new initiatives tying back to the CX strategy.
For more recommendations on how your company can bring your customer experience strategy to life, please check out the full report.