I’m approaching two years in my role here at Forrester, where I serve as a strategic advisor and thought partner to senior customer experience (CX) leaders. As a long-time CX practitioner and enthusiast, it’s been inspiring to be part of the “extended team” across such a diverse set of brands and industries. While no two CX mandates are the same, I’ve observed that successful CX leaders do three things consistently — what I refer to as the CX leader’s agenda:

  1. Educate and align peers around CX and customer obsession.
  2. Mature the CX team and function.
  3. Activate culture and employee experience (EX) for sustained transformation.

Skipping any one of these three areas will stunt the impact of your CX efforts. A mature CX function could be ripe for the expense reduction chopping block unless you’ve reinforced it with executive buy-in and a customer-obsessed culture. For CX execs, this means devoting a significant portion of your time to driving and maintaining alignment across all levels of your organization. I describe each area in more detail below, including how my clients tap into their extended team at Forrester to support and accelerate their agendas.

Educate And Align Peers Around CX And Customer Obsession

Delivering consistently great CX requires working upstream organizationally to create the conditions for CX success — namely, executive alignment and buy-in on the ROI of CX. CX leaders must embrace their role as the convening authority around CX and customer obsession — the practice of putting the customer at the center of your organization’s leadership, strategy, and operations — and help the leadership team answer three key questions: What is customer obsession and CX, what role will they play in driving our strategic priorities, and how will we define our success? At the start of Prudential’s multiyear CX transformation, senior executives met and agreed that prioritizing CX would fuel growth, a top enterprise priority. They codified this agreement into one of the company’s three strategic pillars that then cascaded down throughout the organization.

How Forrester can help: Bring in a Forrester expert to present at your next senior leadership or board of directors meeting. An outside voice can add credibility and allow you to be an active participant in the conversation. Or you can leverage our research to build your own presentation and business case for CX.

Mature The CX Function

Once CX is established as a strategic priority, the CX function becomes the engine for success. Effective CX leaders assemble the talent, capabilities, and technology required to embed customer insights into organizational decision-making, pulling the customer obsession thread from strategy development all the way through to execution. They also design an operating model that maximizes interconnectivity both within the CX function and across the broader organization. Prudential’s head of CX partnered with HR early in its transformation to identify critical CX capabilities and reorient talent to those roles. The CX function then partnered across the business to harmonize CX metrics, democratize insights, and embed CX capabilities within agile teams.

How Forrester can help: Use Forrester’s tools to understand your current capabilities and build a roadmap to shore up critical gaps. Leverage our research, tools, certification courses, and analysts to build expertise, or book a strategy session to go deeper and accelerate progress on a specific topic or capability.

Activate Culture And Employee Experience For Sustained Transformation

You’ve got executives committed to customer obsession and the CX function firing on all cylinders. Now how do you bring the rest of the organization along? As Forrester’s James McQuivey says, “Customer obsession is about people, all of them.” Customer-obsessed leaders connect employees to customers by providing training, resources, and leadership to consistently exceed customer expectations. Shaping culture, including the vision, behaviors, rituals, and artifacts to support customer obsession, is an essential part of every CX leader’s agenda.

How Forrester can help: Forrester’s future of work (FoW) team covers topics such as culture, customer-obsessed leadership, change leadership, employee experience, and employee burnout. Review your latest employee engagement data with a FoW analyst and create an EX strategy to enable your customer and business objectives.

As you prepare for 2024, consider how you will allocate your time and energy to each of these three areas. If you’re a client, read our detailed case study on Prudential’s CX transformation for inspiration. Then, activate your extended team here at Forrester to support your initiatives. Non-clients: Forrester’s CX Cast is a great resource for CX leader insights. Reach out to learn more about our VIP program and how we can support your 2024 CX agenda.