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Why So Many CX Initiatives Still Fail

Why are so many customer experience (CX) initiatives failing? We all know how important CX is, both as a competitive differentiator and the best way to organically grow business. The desire to “get it right” has not diminished in any sense. In fact, the urgency around CX continues to increase in nearly every industry. Technology is certainly not to blame. We have better VOC (Voice of Customer) data than ever before, and incredible tools for designing and facilitating effortless experiences. So why do we still struggle? The more I work with various companies on CX strategy, the more I believe it's the execution phase that’s most prone to misstep. What can we do to change that? This article will offer a fantastic exercise to take VOC priorities and leverage them to drive meaningful change!

The fact of the matter is that CX work requires tremendous patience. We are planting seeds and subsequently earning the right for them to grow through small changes. It can be very tempting to take our golden tablets of VOC data and try to beat the organization upside the head. We assume that we can drop the customer right into the center of the business and have every leader suddenly “get it.” Friends, this not only unrealistic, but it's also entirely ineffective. I can say this from personal experience. :)

As CX leaders, we must behave much less like Moses coming down from Mount Sinai to berate the Israelites, and much more like Gandalf crafting “ The Fellowship of the Ring .” The White Wizard managed to unify the tribes of men, elf, dwarf and even hobbit under one epic quest, much as we are trying to unify various departments and silos under the banner of improving customer’s lives. Each area has to want it and to own it for themselves. The real work of CX is awakening the intrinsic desire to serve customers well inside of as many employees as possible. Historically, many of us have had a tendency to generate clear Voice of Customer insights and then stop there. Sadly, this is only the beginning.

One of the greatest methods to accelerate change and awaken CX across the organization is to begin with the power core. Jeanne Bliss introduced this concept in her book Chief Customer Officer 2.0  and it's immensely helpful for establishing a CX stronghold. Consider where in the organization the primary concentration of power resides. This will likely be the area with the largest budget, the loudest voice in strategic decision making, and control over the high-visibility projects. Below are a few common power cores inside of organizations today:

Jeanne Bliss Power Core

While these are several of the most popular, many other power cores exist. Once identified, it is essential to earn the power core as a CX ally. When we fail to do this early in the process, the power core will likely sense a threat and become our worst nightmare. CX benefits everyone in the long-term; it's how organizations grow and secure a profitable future. The objective is to personalize this reality and translate it to the power core in such a way that they become part of the work and help to drive the change. In most cases, it's foolhardy to try to take on or displace the power core. This will often doom a CX initiative before it even has a chance to take root. Alternatively, when we tap into the power core and add our momentum to theirs, our chances of success are dramatically increased.

Far too often, customer experience initiatives become a fight for survival. We need to alter our way of thinking. Instead of laying pieces on a chess board (a game in which there is only one winner) we should be finding ways to completely change the game and bring people together for the good of the customer!

Spotlight on CX: Join your peers at ICMI Contact Center Connections from October 28-30 in Chicago. Take a deep dive into case studies and expert guidance for driving the customer experience