Editor’s note: This is a chapter from the ebook, Unlock the Value of CX. You can download the entire book here.
Customer experience is the next competitive battle ground… because while features, functions, and materials are easy to replicate, experiences are not. Organizations may have ample data on the way customers view their brands, but the key isn’t knowing what customers think of you today; it’s knowing how to improve what they’ll think of you tomorrow.
A New Framework to Assess CX Progress
In more than five decades of work with organizations around the globe, we’ve seen one overwhelming need: a framework within which to assess an organization’s CX progress—and against which to evaluate new investments. The lack of such a comprehensive framework is likely the reason that organizations are planning to spend more than $8 billion dollars on CX by 2019, but 72 percent of CX professionals aren’t satisfied with the impact those CX efforts are having on business outcomes.
The problem isn’t generally the will; it’s the way. To achieve new levels of CX maturity—and the business benefits that accrue along the way— organizations need to go beyond a Voice of Customer (VoC) program. While VoC is an important cornerstone of any CX program, true customer and business success requires three things:
And while maturity models in the CX industry abound, most of them aren’t objectively validated, detailed enough to allow for measurable progression, or capable of producing recommendations that drive real action and change. A true solution includes not only a robust assessment, but the right combination of products, services, and expertise to help you evolve along the continuum.
How To Get on The Map
The CXEvolutionTM maturity model, by contrast, is empirically validated and benchmarked, granular enough to guide action and planning, and based on an assessment that reflects 14 CX competencies and decades of real-world experience. It not only categorizes your organization into one of 8 discrete stages based on your policies, practices, and general readiness; it tells you exactly how you compare to multiple benchmarks and specifies what you can do to achieve the next level of CX maturity. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And in the case of CX maturity, that step is to assess where you are.
You may think that pursuing revenue goals, innovating your product, or achieving greater operational efficiencies are the most fruitful areas for investment. But the truth is that CX underpins and drives success in each of these areas. In other words, get
the customer experience right, and all else follows. Better yet, there’s still time to use the differentiating power of CX to your competitive advantage. The global CXEvolutionTM study indicates that a full 72 percent of organizations haven’t yet put a formal CX program in place and are still operating at the lowest levels of maturity. That means the opportunity for you to lead the way and leapfrog the competition is significant.
CXEvolution is a radical new approach to not only understanding how well you are delivering on CX, but specifically what you need to do to improve. You can evolve your CX maturity step by step—and deliver concrete benefits to the bottom line all along the way.
The Measurement Trap: More Data Doesn’t Help
Part of the problem, the data suggests, is that too many organizations think they can improve CX by simply adding more listening posts. While this provides more feedback, it still leaves the organization wanting for successful business outcomes. Why? Because in most cases other CX and organizational competencies are holding them back.
In the early days of CX, organizations were focused on measurement—largely to get 60% feedback at the individual contributor level to drive performance improvement. Over time, more listening posts were added to expand the ability to get feedback from different channels, including call centers and websites. The focus of CX then shifted to include relationship studies and customer loyalty in addition to performance improvement. While some organizations attempted to link CX activities to business results, this was more of a bonus than a central goal. More measurement in and of itself does not equal more direct impact on business results.
The Other Measurement Trap: Whiz Bang Metrics Don’t Solve The Problem Either
A number of years ago we were introduced to NPS®, which in some ways heralded an era of greater focus on CX impact on the business. The C-suite began to care more about CX because there was a correlation to business outcomes. Since that time, numerous metrics have been introduced by industry consultants. These introductions have led to internal arguments over which metric to use in a CX program to drive business results. The truth of the matter, however, is that they are wasting valuable time focusing on the wrong thing. Furthermore, the focus on metrics can often be counterproductive. Many organizations reward their teams based on reaching a specific target score on their chosen metric. Unfortunately, this leads to unwanted behaviors such as asking for a score or giving away merchandise or services. In short, it creates score chasing. Employees often feel that their organizations are more focused on the score than actually improving the experience for their customers.
Results from the CXEvolution study not only point out the failure of strategies that use measurement disciplines alone, but also provide insight into what a successful formula for CX entails. As part of the CXEvolution model, an assessment examines 14 specific competencies across six dimensions of CX—all of which have a direct impact on CX performance and business success.
While adding more touch points to your program is important, as are metrics that are both consistent and capable of creating alignment, they do not—in and of themselves—drive CX improvement that impacts the bottom line. Our validation research shows that the 14 competencies do, in fact, distinguish between companies that simply want to drive business outcomes with their CX programs and those who actually do.
When it comes to process documentation, just one in four respondents say that their companies document customer- related processes very consistently. However, two-thirds of these folks report that their CX programs have been very successful at impacting business results. is is 2x the level of success seen for companies that are less consistent in their process documentation. While there are very few companies with no documentation of processes, the data suggests that doing something halfway may in some cases be worse than doing little or nothing at all.
For customer response, the difference in business impact is even more significant. Customer response programs typically include follow up with customers who have experienced a problem or expressed a desire for contact. This is often referred to as “customer recovery,” and these programs typically involve using a case management tool. But some companies have gone beyond customer recovery and have begun to use CX tools to anticipate when a customer may encounter an issue—and use customer response systems to proactively meet their needs.
Companies on the cutting edge of this competency have taken it one step further and are using these tools to identify next steps in the customer journey and proactively support customers, unlocking significant growth opportunities. The data from the validation research shows that having an integrated, systemic approach to customer recovery yields improved business impact over ad hoc or siloed approaches, but a select few achieve even greater impact. Among those few companies (14 percent) that are addressing both recovery and opportunities proactively, three out of four report they have been very successful at driving business outcomes with their CX programs, compared to just half of those who have integrated customer recovery efforts only.
CX Maturity Yields Big Results
While there has long been widespread belief that greater customer-centricity and a more robust CX program will lead to better business results, for most companies this has been more of a dream than reality. The CXEvolution framework cracks this code. Companies that have reached the highest level of CX maturity are 3x more successful at driving significant financial improvement and customer retention than companies in the bottom half of the maturity framework. Considering that 87 percent of companies in our benchmark study reside in the first four stages of the maturity framework, it is not surprising that for most companies the goal of making CX the differentiator they need it to be remains elusive.
In fact, as the graph below shows, companies that focus on CX realize significantly higher financial performance and customer retention as they move up the CX maturity scale.
In the decades of work we have done with organizations around the globe, we’ve seen one overwhelming need: a framework within which to assess an organization’s CX progress—and against which to evaluate new investments.
The CXEvolution framework and assessment tools provide not just an assessment of a company’s level of CX maturity, but also a comprehensive understanding of why they land where they do and a roadmap to move up the scale. According to a recent study by Gartner, 89 percent of companies will compete mostly on the basis of customer experience in 2016, nearly a three-fold increase from just five years ago. More than ever, CX is a strategic priority for companies. CXEvolution goes beyond assessing measurement and tools to understanding the very organizational foundation that determines the relative success of CX efforts.
The prescriptive results allow CX pros to more effectively assess their own programs and have the conversations with company leadership that will be key to driving future success. In the end a tool like the CXEvolution Maturity Model and Organizational Assessment helps you focus on what matters, set clear objectives for your program, gain executive buy-in and commitment, and align the organization behind your efforts.