Overcoming Customer Experience Challenges - Where Should CX Be Placed within an Organization?
Recently I attended the Common Sense Customer Experience executive peer group in Chicago (see cscx2019.com) returning with a pool of ideas from CX executive of America’s leading brands. Since Content Bloom is a people-first services company, customer experience is at the forefront of our DNA. It was great to validate our approaches and get some fresh ideas. One topic that resonated with something I had been working on within our organization was, where should CX be placed within an organization? There are many opinions about this, so here are some of our thoughts.
Where should CX be placed within an organization?
At CSCX2019 there were many opinions on this. For example, a food distribution company had it as a branch of HR, another used it as part of the Quality department, while Ford Motor Company made a Global CX department serving all other departments. Another company’s CX VP was adamant that if you try to build it as a Center of Excellence that is responsible for customer experience, it becomes dictatorial and fails as a result.
It was an especially interesting discussion for me as Content Bloom’s Global Delivery Lead because we place our service and delivery quality among our top core values. We are also a people-first organization, which means our people are at the root of creating positive customer experiences for our customers and our customers’ customers.
Aside: If you’ve ever gone through a vendor selection process for your team or company, you probably experienced being sold a product or service of one quality, but got something else in the end and very subpar to what the sales guys said. The delivery team comes in after the sales team flies away, never to be heard from again, and says “the sales guys told you what!?” We see this kind of crap happening to our clients in dealing with many vendors (except us, of course) all the time, and it’s catching up. Some recent examples in the news are with Healthcare.gov and Hertz Car Rental delivery failures. I believe the issue is siloed objectives between Sales and Delivery causing a negative impact to the customer’s perception of the vendor’s competence. But in enterprise, it takes years to realize this. Sure, for services it’s easier – a few client complaints about the personnel’s lack of skill, and the vendor is out the door. But for products, it’s a lot harder. Customers sign million dollar software deals, invest years into development to mature the platforms, it gets implemented (badly) and who is to say whether it’s the software or the implementor? Either way, it is terrible CX for enterprise clients. And look at the evidence: Botch jobs at USA’s Healthcare.gov and Hertz Car Rental.
So how do we manage CX in such an environment?… And I mean both, from a vendor perspective or from the customer perspective, on the receiving side. At Content Bloom we place it at our customer touchpoints – i.e. all of our people. Yes, we have measurements such as regular employee valuations where customer satisfaction is one of the criteria. In the end though, it’s simple, if customers love you because you’re warm and competent – key CX attributes – they’ll want to work with you.
We also have a central department responsible for quality, we call it AIQ (the Q stands for Quality). This department’s job is to perform measurement and reporting around various quality criteria because satisfaction and a positive experience is a measure of the quality of service. These reports are provided back to the Delivery teams, both internally and externally.
If we follow the Kanban supply chain model, i.e. if you need something, put an order with the supplier and they’ll get it to you as best as they can to your timelines and specifications. In our case, the supplier is the vendor and you are the customer who naturally wants a good service experience. The same model works within a company organization. Instead of seeing things as a chain of command – bosses and their subordinates, consider that the boss is actually a customer (a client), you gotta keep your customer happy. Add more value to the customer, build a trust relationship and win repeated and often bigger business (get promoted). So it’s all scalable using the same model. The key is to have CX in the core of every individual within an organization.
In another article, I plan to continue this discussion and show how our organization empowers each Content Bloom person to deliver the key CX attributes to our customers: warmth and competence.