We know it’s a bad idea to pay employees for achieving customer experience (CX) metric targets. But how can companies move away from that practice if they’re already doing it?

Jason Bradshaw and Andrew Sherwood-Jones from Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) did it, and they shared their story with me (paywall).

Yes, in the automotive industry: the industry many of us love to use as the poster child for the practice of imploring customers to give high scores.

Ending CX-Based Bonuses Was A Commercial Success And A CX Success

In the two years since ending bonuses, VGA’s CX scores have increased, dealers have more money to drive sales, and the conversation about how to drive a CX culture has changed for the better.

VGA’s CX Team Achieved This By Building A Solid Argument For Ending CX Bonuses

The CX team at VGA:

  • Planted the seed by inviting Forrester to present on the perils of CX bonuses
  • Made a strong case to leadership that it should eliminate CX bonuses
  • Got buy-in by emphasizing that VGA expects great CX to be a standard, by highlighting existing enablement resources and by providing new ones

Start By Exposing The Underestimated Risks Of CX Bonuses

Some of the key underestimated risks of CX bonuses are:

  • Slower CX culture transformation. When conversations revolve around a score, not the customer, culture transformations take longer, not shorter.
  • High opportunity costs. Bonuses are a lot of work for the CX team. In recent research, we estimated that a CX team can spend up to 1,100 hours on bonuses! That’s money and time spent that you need elsewhere. Also, since these bonuses are typically not working as they should, money spent on them is money wasted.

For more details, read the Forrester report (paywall).