Who is responsible for the customer experience (CX) in an organization? While your average contact center agent has a responsibility to ensure customer satisfaction, agents alone cannot control the entire brand experience of a company. The brand experience includes elements such as product quality, marketing and sales, technology, and retail shopping experience.
In other words, a central entity needs to drive the brand experience to ensure a consistent and satisfying customer experience. Does this mean that the primary CX responsibility should be given to a Customer Experience Executive? Sure, that is possible. However, it is simply not enough. You can have an entire team of Customer Experience personnel led by a Customer Experience Executive, but the biggest driver of CX is undoubtedly the CEO. The CEO's role in CX is a huge reflection on how effectively it is deployed, analyzed and championed.
Why the CEO Matters
A recent survey from Deloitte shows that 62% of companies surveyed view customer experience delivered by contact centers as a competitive differentiator. Out of these organizations that view CX as a competitive differentiator, 92% offer multiple contact channels. The customer experience may seem like an abstract concept and difficult to manage, but it is possible to translate it into a concrete strategy with clearly defined goals and objectives.
For the CX strategy to work as a whole, the CEO must prioritize the customer experience and filter the processes down through the various departments. In short, a CEO cannot shrug his shoulders and say, “It's not my job” or “I have someone else overseeing it”. If CX is not defined as a priority for the CEO, will the rest of his or her organization be inclined to take on initiatives that support it?
What the CEO Can Do to Take Ownership of Customer Experience
Understand the Importance of CX for Your Business
There has never been an easier time to set up a business. Our technological evolution and an e-commerce friendly culture have made the process of being an entrepreneur easier. More and more people are willing to invest in and create start-up enterprises.
On the flip side, this also means that competition has never been fiercer. Businesses must continue to stay on top of their game to thrive and stay relevant for years to come. The customer experience becomes crucial to holding on to this relevance. If your organization doesn't embrace CX, your customer can find another business that does.
Also, remember that social media has brought more visibility to bad customer service experiences. A reputation that has taken years to build can be destroyed by a single negative post that gets shared virally on social media. The impact on the bottom-line can be disastrous.
Develop an Internal Culture Dedicated to Customer Experience Management
Set up an internal work culture that prioritizes CX. Do your employees understand the value of placing the customer experience first when considering:
Research and product development
Marketing and sales activities
Ease of use of technology associated with the brand
Ease of getting in touch with the organization
The buying experience
Ultimately, it is your responsibility as a CEO to oversee the culture and ensure that it is aligned with the customer experience that you have envisioned.
Walk Through the End-To-End Experience from The Customer's Perspective
Do a walk-through of the end-to-end experience from the customer's viewpoint. This is an effective way to highlight the more obvious red-flags and help you get a feel for brand perception at all contact points.
Develop Systems to Receive Feedback from Customers
Create feedback/suggestion mechanisms to encourage customers to come forward with what they liked and what they believe could be improved. Feedback of this nature is important for helping you to create better business processes, improve your products and services, and add more value.
Maintain Open Lines of Communication With Your Front-Line Team
It is your front-line team that deals with customers on a regular basis. Take the time to meet with the team consistently to understand what goes on in the trenches. Also, take the time to listen to feedback from other departments. Implement strategies that take this feedback into account.
Create a Rewards and Recognition System
Having a rewards and recognition system in place is necessary for ensuring that your employees are vested in customer service management. Create rewards systems that not only encourage good performance but also recognize customer service that goes above and beyond the call of duty.
Managing the customer service experience is an ongoing process. Test, tweak, and modify processes depending on trends in the industry to keep up with changes and to stay competitive.
Christa Heibel is the Founder/Owner of CH Consulting Group where she leads a nationwide network of Customer Experience Consultants that specialize in the Omni-Channel Contact Center. Christa brings 25+ years of contact center experience to the table where she has successfully developed, implemented and managed numerous contact center operations across the U.S. She has dominated the contact center industry and is known widely as thought leader and C-suite business growth strategy expert. Christa can be reached at ChristaH@thechcg.com or 218-286