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Steps toward achieving world-class impact and return

Impact and return involve demonstrating how customer initiatives provide a financial benefit to the company. Metrics such as satisfaction and loyalty cannot be the end goal. Rather, they must connect with other business indicators and activities. When this is in place executives are more willing to invest in customer programs, knowing that results have been shown to positively impact financial performance.

Here are four steps you can take to achieve world-class impact and return:

  1. Start by aligning the customer perspective with other authoritative sources, such as financial, operational or employee metrics.
  2. Analyze the information to determine if there is a strong and meaningful relationship. As one area improves, is it having a positive impact on growth and profitability?
  3. For areas with a strong relationship, prioritize initiatives that will most directly impact the measure.
  4. As improvements are implemented, measure the business impact.

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Every Day Questions

There are certain questions we should constantly ask ourselves. Every day, these questions should be on our minds. I’ll bet we can all come up with a list. Here is a starter list:

  1. Every positive experience you encounter as a customer should be followed by the question, "How can I provide that kind of an experience to my customers?"
  2. And the first question's sibling: for every negative experience, “How can I make sure I never do that to my customers?”Questions to ask yourself every day
  3. Every time you think about how strategic your customers are to you, ask yourself, "How can I be as strategic to my customers as they are to me?"
  4. “What did I do today to create value for my customers and my company?”
  5. Time is precious. Days, weeks, months, quarters, and even years fly by. So, “Did I accomplish what I set out to today?”
  6. “Why?”
  7. It’s easy to think about the things we should do, but “What should I stop doing?”
  8. Sometimes a clean slate would be nice. No baggage, no history, no constraints. “If I were new in this position, what changes would I make?”

Add to the list. I know there are many more, and one question just might cause someone to think and act in a new way.

Framework to deliver business outcomes

Customer-focused strategies have emerged as one of the best ways to give your company a competitive advantage, and CX professionals are the catalysts transforming CX. Here is a recommended framework to help CX professionals deliver business outcomes:

Step 1: Identify business outcomes. Business objectives are the outcomes defined as imperatives by the CEO and other stakeholders. Growing revenue from existing customers, increasing customer retention, reducing costs and increasing market share are examples of business objectives.

Step 2: Define success measures. Objective evidence is necessary to signal that the business objective has been achieved. Some are direct such as retention or growth rates.

Step 3: Develop meaningful insights, recommendations and alerts. This is the heart of a well-defined and well-executed CX program. It combines targeted customer intelligence with proactive and predictive analysis.

Step 4: Act on recommendations and alerts. Move beyond just delivering customer information and insights. Action plans are required to turn intelligence into catalysts for change.

Step 5: Track and measure results of actions. Use financial and operational data to validate the ROI of customer experience initiatives. It means showing the progression from what customers said to how you responded and then to the result achieved.

Step 6: Communicate successes. Laying firm groundwork across the steps in the framework allows for telling the story in a way that’s objective, fact-based and shows that success was achieved through improvements to the customer experience.

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World-class impact and return

Impact and return involve demonstrating how customer initiatives provide a financial benefit to the company. Metrics such as satisfaction and loyalty cannot be the end goal. Rather, they must connect with other business indicators and activities. When this is in place executives are more willing to invest in customer programs, knowing that results have been shown to positively impact financial performance.

World-class impact and return occur when:

  • The CX team maintains a discipline for measuring the impact of customer initiatives.
  • Best practices learned from successful initiatives are shared to improve future customer experience initiatives.