Editor’s note: Recently we brought you the first 5 parts of our 7 part series “Customer Experience in a Business Discipline”. If you missed part of the series, please click the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
Mention “governance” to the average individual and you’ll conjure images of senior executives in closed-door meetings, codifying policies and ordering their implementation throughout the business. While high-level strategy like this has its place in the Customer Experience Management (CXM) discipline, this blog post concerns the practical implications of the Governance pillar, and emphasizes its role in interactions at the individual level.
“Implementing Customer Experience Governance”
Person-to-person interactions between employees and customers are a crucial part of CXM Governance. As such, every organization can benefit from roles organized around the ‘business’ side of that interaction. But how should the organization or individual act during customer interactions? What amount of sympathy and empathy is appropriate? What’s expected? And perhaps most importantly, how should that individual maximize the probability that the customer leaves the interaction with a positive feeling?
The answer is straightforward: organizations must define a clear and thorough set of standards which guide customer interaction, and set the expectation that those standards be applied uniformly in each person-to-person interaction. While complete standards will include a defined set of metrics for evaluating customer service resource efficiency, the standards must go well beyond evaluation, and concern a repeatable model for both pleasing customers and minimizing fallout from potentially perilous interactions. Whatever the standards are, they must be practical and actionable. In Outside In, Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine describe a practice at the Bank of Montreal; employees carry cards emblazoned with phrases like “Phone calls get returned… today” and “Sincere ‘thank you’s every time.” These are constant reminders of how the firm expects its employees to relate with customers.
“Monitoring the Customer Experience Governance Program”
While communicating the organization’s central tenets of customer experience is an important first step in CXM Governance, it’s in monitoring and adaptation that firms reap the greatest business results. Yet monitoring governance is no simple task; In general, most firms struggle with the enormous volume of customer interaction data to dissect. For this reason among others, all business units must be involved in the process. Consider Adobe, which according to Manning and Bodine, “…has established a customer advocacy council with senior leaders from product development, customer support, finance, marketing, business process management, and its two largest business units.” In so doing, the organization has ensured that when it interprets customer interaction data and adapts policy as a result, it does so under a united front. To reemphasize what the Content Strategy team at SDLC Partners has espoused in the past, transparency and unity of policy are keys to enhancing the Customer Experience Management discipline.
Finally, when enacting Governance policy, two questions should be asked:
- Does this change align with our customer experience management strategy? If so,
- What positive and negative impacts could it have on the customer’s experience?
It is imperative to keep the customer experience at the forefront in order to avoid costly and possibly disastrous incidences born of strategic misalignment, or worse, carelessness of implementation.
Positive customer experiences flow from person-to-person interactions founded on caring and compassion, and a vested interest in each customer’s satisfaction. Governance institutionalizes these feelings and behaviors through recognizable policies and procedures, and supports their consistent implementation until they become part of organizational culture. Stay tuned for our next post in which we discuss this very topic.
Ben Limegrover is a Consultant at SDLC Partners, a leading provider of business and technology solutions. Please feel free to contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions on this blog post or to further discuss Customer Experience Management.