Customer experience (CX) is definitely a thing. And yet it’s not – it is many things. When your business focuses on CX, there are many directions to look, and a wide range of approaches you can take to create value.
So how can you build a foundation that supports all your efforts?
Most likely, your CX maturity is constantly evolving, so it’s always worthwhile to circle back to basics. From years of helping companies improve their customer experience, I’ve seen that it always comes down to three C’s: Champions, Culture, and Communications.
These fundamentals also apply to managing major change – which is often what’s needed to make a measurable impact in your customer experience. Let’s take a quick look at the three C’s…
In every organization, no matter what kind of change or impact you’re trying to make, you need championsat the top. When you’re trying to improve customer experience, that’s even more critical.
It’s not enough to have leadership say “customer experience is important” as a lip service thing, and then let others focus on it. You need executive champions who represent a customer-first mindset in their words and actions.
Your champions rally the organization to understand the big picture of why customer focus is so important to the business. Even better, they put a stake in the ground. If a voice at the top says, “This is how we run our business now, this is where we focus,” then people and processes will start to shift to align with that.
Beyond clarifying the CX vision, your champions need to advocate customer empathy and why it matters. And, everyone should know who your customers are, their core needs and concerns, and what motivates their actions and decisions.
Why? Because everything the business does, every interaction at every touch point, should align with that understanding of the customer.
It’s very rare that an entire organization is genuinely customer focused.
Customer-facing employees have to think about it because it’s part of their role. But many other teams are more focused on products and processes, because that’s their job. Those employees may think customer experience isn’t relevant to them because they never directly engage customers. But if their work does not reflect a customer-focused mindset, it may be having a negative impact down the line.
So a critical part of moving the needle for CX improvements is to actively engage everyone. Whether it’s team huddles, training, or tools, you need to help every employee understand how they play an important role in influencing the customer experience.
To support that culture shift, it takes the voice and commitment of your CX champions. More than just reinforcing why to care, these leaders need to offer practical support as well. That means dedicating resources toward helping employees get the guidance and tools they need to understand how to bring the CX vision to life in their mindset and actions every day.
And that brings us to the third C: Communications.
Initially, it circles back to your champions. Those people need effective communications early on, to clearly and consistently convey the customer experience vision and why it matters. For instance, it might be a well-crafted soundbite they can share in emails, videos, and town hall meetings.
Next, you need various communications to nurture the culture change. For example, to support employees in shifting to a customer-centric mindset, it can help to demonstrate what customer-focused communications really look like, using before and after examples. Also help your people understand how to use language and tone that may resonate better with different audiences.
And then there are all the business-as-usual communications. That means taking a good look at your marketing and customer service messaging and visuals. They may need a refresh to ensure they are empathy-focused to improve your customer experience.
Internal communications should get some love too. Make sure company emails, information portals, tools and procedures are employee-focused, so they represent empathy for your people and their concerns as well.
Putting the 3 C’s into action
Mastering the three C’s may seem simple – but in a large company, it’s harder than it looks. The reality is that people operate in silos. There is rarely a unified customer experience vision and mindset adopted by everyone. However, even a grassroots effort within individual lines of business or departments is a powerful start.
Even with the best intentions, sometimes employees are too close to the business to see that how they’re communicating or interacting is more about the company than the customer. An outside perspective can make a big difference.
As a CX strategist and Director of Creative Services at Beyond the Arc, I’ve had the privilege to help clients solve business problems and improve customer experience by focusing on the three C’s.
I’ve also seen a fourth C: Challenges. Groups often face many hurdles just trying to get stuff done (such as complex processes, legal and compliance issues, bureaucracy). It’s given me deep insight — and empathy — for how hard it can be to drive changes that will make a real difference for the customer.
But I know it IS doable. And the three C’s are an effective way to focus your efforts to deliver the most value in the shortest time.
Start small to achieve quick wins that help boost momentum. Over time, you’ll have an empowering foundation of champions, culture, and communications that enable you to deliver experiences that win customers for life.
Need a helping hand to jumpstart your efforts or refresh your communications? Let’s connect!