Is Leadership REALLY On Board with Your CX Agenda?

by Colin Shaw on October 5, 2015

In my experience everyone loves the idea of improving the Customer Experience (CX) until you ask him or her to change their business as usual. It is especially true when you are talking about your senior team. Unfortunately, you must have the engagement of the senior leadership to be successful.

While the good news is 20% of executive teams fully support the CX agenda, that also means 80% don’t. The second group either doesn’t believe in the value of CX or is undecided.

The problem is the second group can be hard to discern from the first. Why? It’s political. Everyone feels like they should say they support a CX Agenda. So they nod. They hold their tongue in meetings. But they don’t support the agenda.

Unfortunately for you, you don’t know whether you are lucky and have the 20% or fighting an uphill battle with the 80% (which is more likely, statistically anyway).

Unless you know what to look for in their day-to-day actions.

To that end, here’s how to tell if your leadership is not REALLY on board with your CX Agenda:

  • Their schedule rarely (if ever) accommodates a discussion regarding Customer Experience Implications. If your meeting requests have remained unanswered or “get pushed,” then it indicates that other things are more important to your leadership team than improving CX.
  • Time devoted to your agenda in meetings is short and sweet.  If you spend the majority of a meeting talking about sales reports and operations, and just a little bit at the end about CX, it’s clear what the leadership team values.
  • They send their representative to your meetings. To be fair, there can be a lot of meetings for senior leadership. But if they always send their “representative” to your meeting, then it says yours was a meeting they didn’t feel it was necessary to attend.
  • You hear nothing about your CX measurement reports—even when they are bad. There is a lack of understanding (or concern) about the implications of a poor Customer Experience. When you report the Net Promoter Scores dropped for the third consecutive quarter, you hear nothing about it. Ever.
  • Their talking points focus on operations. If you hear a lot about margins, fixed-costs, and overhead allowances from leadership, then their focus is on the company, not on Customers.
  • They don’t talk about Customers. If they don’t tell Customer stories, it could be because they don’t have any. If you lose touch with Customers, it’s easy to see how they might lose touch with the importance of providing an excellent CX.

I sincerely hope you work for the 20% who really do support the CX improvement agenda. If you recognize these behaviors from your leadership, however, chances are you aren’t quite that lucky.

You need a new approach:

  • Identify who is blocking your agenda. It’s time to recognize  those who don’t support CX and put in place a program that will convince them. It’s time to convince them to get on board.
  • Figure out what is most important to him or her. You have to make what you are doing attractive to them. Discover what they value most and frame your CX strategy as the catalyst for change in favor of that value.
  • Present your CX agenda again in their language. I have found that if you focus on the cost savings that will be made, many people will be interested.  

CX agendas can be difficult to get senior leadership to support. They are time and resource consuming, and challenge business as usual. However, to be successful you need support from the top. You need the commitment from everyone in the organization, from the C-Suite to the mailroom.

The key to getting your leadership on board is speaking their language. When you speak in terms they can understand—increased margins, fixed cost savings and reduced overhead allowances—your CX agenda will REALLY get the support from leadership that it deserves.  

This post is part of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s Blog Carnival “Celebrating Customer Experience.” It is part of a broader celebration of Customer Experience Day. Check out posts from other bloggers at http://community.cxpa.org/blogs/lesley-lykins/2015/10/02/cx-day-blog-carnival. – See more at: http://cxday.org

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of five best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker & also recognized as one of the original top 150 Business Influencers by LinkedIn. Beyond Philosophy provides consulting, specialized research & training from their headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter and Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

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Colin ShawIs Leadership REALLY On Board with Your CX Agenda?