Overcoming Obstacles In Executing Your CX Program (Part One): Unsupportive Line-of-Business Partners
At Hill City Global, we love customer experience (CX) and have experience executing CX programs at some of the world’s premier brands. In this 3-part series, we will lean on our expertise to tackle a few of the challenges you may face in developing or expanding your CX program. Our focus will be on the execution of your CX strategy. While CX is easy to articulate in a strategic discussion, its implementation can be difficult. We will cover the following topics: Managing unsupportive line-of-business leaders, making a case for your CX budget, and defining and measuring your CX program.
In the early months of your CX program, you’ll spend a lot of time trying to convince line-of-business leaders to be involved in the initiative. Some will be on board day-one, but most will brush it off as just another project that is taking time and resources away from their department. You’ll keep pressing on, seeking help from the ones that do understand its importance to the company and their department. As your CX program evolves, the executive team will begin to take notice of the positive outputs of the program (What executive doesn’t like to see unfiltered feedback from their customers that tie to specific processes within the company?). When this happens, the line-of-business leaders that wouldn’t give you the time of day months (or years) earlier become invested in the program. A program they have always been “doing” even before you started yours! Some might also go to HR and change their titles to reflect how they view their role in CX. Before, you could hardly get anyone to pay attention, but now you have so many people wanting to be at the table, you risk losing control.
Let’s take a look at two questions you may have in this scenario and discuss how to tackle them.
1.) How do you handle line-of-business leaders that don’t buy-in to the program in the early days?
- Ask them to be a “Champion” of your program. Being a Champion can mean as little as keeping them in the loop and having them pass down what you are working on to their team. Later, the role can become more defined and involved. This way, if their fear comes true and this is just another project that is going to flame-out, they haven’t had to invest too much. On the other hand, if the CX program becomes wildly successful, they will have carried the title of “Champion” for the program. Besides, they will be fully aware of everything that has happened to date.
- Offer to hand the keys of the program to them once it’s completed. Don’t give them everything, just the part that is directly applicable to their business. It will make them feel like they are getting something at the end of this process while giving them a sense of ownership.
- Remember that it’s OK to start small. You’ll be amazed at how much CX related work can get done with little support. Ask the leader if you can spend some time learning their business and go from there. The great thing about CX is there are wins to be had all over the place that will improve the customer’s experience with your company. In the meantime, you can be planning for a more significant solution and governance model to manage them for when things get big.
2.) What if they don’t bite in the early days, but later try to come along and demand heavy involvement?
- While this can be frustrating, it is an excellent problem to have. It means that your program is seeing some successes. By this time, you will be pretty far along in the deployment of the program into the departments that paid attention to you earlier. Create a prioritization mechanism and put everyone on a roadmap so the leader can know when they can expect to get your attention.
- If these leaders aren’t happy with how long it’s going to take for you to stand-up their program, now is an excellent time to request more resources. Even better, make them pay for it!
- At this point, you should have a governance model at least drafted up. It’s probably time to start implementing some of its components. It will give you the ability to manage the influx of attention your program has. If you don’t have one, put one in place.
In part two, we will discuss how to secure a budget for your CX program.
About Hill City Global: Our mission is to see our client’s vision come to life through the implementation of their strategic initiatives by working alongside them as a trusted partner. We do this by providing project implementation and related consulting services through our easy to work with team that knows how to communicate and fits your culture. We are proud to call Sofia, Bulgaria home. Learn more at www.hillcityglobal.com.
Company Leadership: Ryan Fischer, CEO and Founder
Board of Advisors: Chris Daum, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at FMI Corporation; Joseph Swarengin, Vice President and US CFO of Krispy Kreme; Adrian Donato, Ed.D, University of Southern California (USC) Lecturer and Founder of InterEd Strategic.