By Bruce Pollock, Vice President of Strategic Growth Planning
Every year, the Customer Experience Professional Association hosts CX Day, in which thousands of consumers and CX professionals honor customer experience achievements through online posts, company celebrations and local networking events across the world.
CX software and service vendors gleefully spread the festive spirit across their websites, social media and to their prospects’ email inboxes. Industry bloggers and other CX aficionados don’t dare miss the opportunity to offer key dos and don’ts. And in hallways, boardrooms, and home offices afar, CX professionals leverage the day to promote their plans and successes to date and buck for new budget dollars for their cause.
But as consumers across the globe incur good and bad experiences every day, this begs the question, “Do we really need an international CX Day?” Or should every day be CX Day?
There seems to be not-so-good CX news nearly every day. Major computer hacks, like millions of customer records stolen from leading consumer credit agency Equifax’s coffers. Large national banks apparently giving customers credit cards they didn’t ask for and don’t need. And multiple airlines that have kicked paying passengers off planes.
But it’s not all bad. Such incidents have led some airlines to change their “bumping” policies — albeit after much public discourse. Banks paid back customers for their abusive selling practices. And “HBO Go” didn’t crash when millions of Game of Thrones viewers tuned in at the same time to watch the season’s final episode.
So with customers having good and bad experiences every day, we still ask, “Do we really need a CX Day?”
Every day should be CX Day
Having a “CX Day” certainly raises the profile of CX in the minds of company practitioners and executives. And it surely draws attention to the importance of creating exceptional experiences.
Yet with that said, I would argue that every day should be CX Day and be treated as such. Here are three reasons why:
1. CX Day can’t be just another marketing opportunity.
In some ways, designating only one day of the year to CX trivializes and diminishes the notion and importance of CX. And it encourages opportunistic corporate marketers to position it as such. Wishing your social media followers a “Happy CX Day” is a nice gesture, but it doesn’t actually improve their experience.
2. CX is a 365 commitment.
CX isn’t and shouldn’t be treated as a once yearly flash in the pan. Rather, it should be something that CX practitioners and corporate and government leaders ingrain into their daily thinking, actions, accountabilities and milestones. Every day, business leaders should be talking about, planning for and practicing better CX. After all, CX is one of the few ways companies can differentiate themselves in today’s competitive marketplace.
3. CX is reeeeaallly important.
By 2020, Gartner predicts CX will outpace price and product as the key brand differentiator. Consumers spend 140 percent more on average if they have a great experience, according to Harvard Business Review. And according to Forrester, 19 percent of global business and technology decision makers have prioritized CX by creating a dedicated user group for CX initiatives.
Businesses without a CX strategy could soon find themselves behind the pack. If you haven’t created a plan to assess and improve your customer’s experience, now is a good time to start.
Where do I begin?
A good place to begin your planning is to examine where you’re at now, in terms of the maturity level of your CX approach, and specifically, the people, processes and technologies that support CX. Check out this mini questionnaire, and see what your results mean by clicking here. Or take the full assessment for a complete picture of your CX infrastructure.
Once you’ve examined and discussed the current “lay of the land,” set a goal for where you’d like to be with your CX over the next several years and map out a plan to get there. Here are five tips to guide you on that path:
1. Assess CX efforts already underway
There may already be CX-improving activities happening across your company, even if there’s no formal strategy in place. Who is leading them? What are the goals? How expansive or limited is the scope of this activity? Be sure to document these early efforts as part of your current assessment.
2. Obtain sponsorship and support
Go to the very top. Getting executive leadership to back your CX initiative will give you the authority and ability to make the changes you need. Plus, you’ll gain much greater access to all-important data so successes can be shared across the enterprise.
3. Designate a CX leader
If you haven’t already, select an individual or group to coordinate and guide plans. CX isn’t just a side project. Make CX a priority and treat it like the ROI booster that it is.
4. Establish a governance system
Along with a leader, your CX strategy needs rules. The best laid plans do no good if they’re left in the boardroom without action steps to move forward. So ensure everyone clearly understands the timeline and how you expect to manage, coordinate and implement your efforts.
5. Get enterprise-wide buy-in
Involve every impacted department, ensuring they have representation “at the table” for your CX project or program. In particular, be sure to include IT, marketing, sales, service and other key groups.
After these five steps, assess the quantity and quality of customer and interaction data you have. Do you have a single view of the customer that helps you understand the overall experience across the customer journey? Or is your data fragmented, inconsistent and in need of cleansing?
When driving this broad assessment of your CX situation, it will become obvious to you and your colleagues (if it isn’t already) that CX is a way of thinking. It’s a philosophy and methodological approach that needs to be part of your everyday thoughts, plans and actions. Not just a once yearly opportunity to celebrate CX Day and revert to your traditional, somewhat randomized way of managing CX.
If you need more advice, start with these five keys for exceptional CX, which will ensure your business infrastructure is set up to create the best experiences possible. And feel free to call or text West Interactive Services at 800.841.9000 to get personalized guidance from one of our experts.
So should you celebrate CX Day? Sure, but celebrate it knowing that at your organization, every day is CX Day.
Bruce Pollock is vice president of strategic growth and planning at West. He has 19 years of experience in the technology-based customer service and engagement field, including 15 years of tenure at West. Bruce remains active in the customer engagement industry and served on numerous industry boards and advisory committees over the past decade. He holds 24 industry related patents, has been cited in The Economist magazine and various industry publications and has also served as a panelist and moderator at technology industry forums.