Here’s a hard truth: Most organizations overestimate how well they perform on customer experience (CX).
Maybe they have mature voice of the customer (VOC) programs, or they get ample (and decent) survey responses. Programs are robust, digitized, and they follow up with customers quickly and regularly. It appears they’re on the right track and they pat themselves on the back.
But they’re not looking at their CX Truth. They’re not looking at how effective CX programs are.
Listening to customers is only part of CX. If customers keep lodging the same complaints without resolutions, then CX isn’t working as well as it should. Your CX program becomes an echo chamber that only reinforces existing programs and ideas.
More than a Score
Organizations that are exceptional in CX look beyond customer surveys and scores. They understand how CX intersects the business, and they have permission (and tools) to pursue cross-functional strategies.
If the CX team hears that customers hate the packaging or a pricing structure, best-in-class organizations are empowered to do something about it. That feedback doesn’t get trapped in a loop that starts and ends with the CX machine.
That means “improving CX” is a different strategy than improving response rates or even survey scores. CX can—and should—have a higher ROI. Most organizations barely scratch the surface of what’s possible. Their CX operations revolve around customer feedback and insights, instead of actions that drive value.
What is CX Truth?
Companies need to find their CX Truth: an unbiased, outside-in evaluation of CX performance.
CX Truth is revealed when companies invite an outside perspective and back up their assertions with evidence. When assessments and evidence are combined, companies understand where they stand and what they should be doing differently to drive value.
Companies need to hear the truth. They need an evidence-based look at what’s real today, what’s possible, what they should be marching toward, and how to bridge the gap.
A Framework for CX
Companies also need a framework, or a common language, to operate cross-functionally and drive change. Different departments need to rally around CX, and they need to speak the same language. Everyone must understand how to support CX across brand, culture, capability, and execution. In our CX Advance Framework℠, we demonstrate what this industry-defining customer experience looks like.
- The brand must genuinely reflect customers’ experiences - during every interaction and across every touchpoint.
- Leaders need to model behaviors that build a customer-centric culture and empower employees to enrich customers’ lives.
- Companies need a strong set of capabilities to listen, learn, and act on customer feedback.
- CX teams need the ability to execute on information to improve customer journeys and products, engage customers, and manage relationships.
CX cannot sit in a silo and get it right.
Product teams have to be connected to journey and experience teams. Operational data, financial data, feedback data, and predictive data must come together to form a single view of the customer. It must all come together around CX.
CX leaders have a much larger mandate—and the opportunity—to drive initiatives across the organization. CX Truth guides how they make an impact.
How to Find Your CX Truth
When we assess CX Truth, we look at more than 60 standards across nine pillars of CX, in what we call our CX Advance Framework℠. And during an assessment, we ask for evidence for every single item.
Other CX maturity assessments are based on surveys, so they’re naturally subject to bias. It’s a human tendency to overestimate our abilities. So instead, we ask for dashboards, documents, and decks that demonstrate how an organization practices and measures CX and customer value today. We look at data and processes that exist (not just what people say) to establish CX Truth.
Yes, it’s tedious. Yes, it can take a long time. But it is undeniably worth it.
CX activity is dispersed across organizations, within product teams, marketing, sales... And it’s rarely coordinated. While the collection process can be painstaking, it’s invaluable to understand what CX activities are happening and how to advance them.
During fact-finding missions for CX Truth, we often uncover pockets of opportunity. There may be best practices happening in your organization right now that you don’t realize you can scale and exploit.
Can You Handle The Truth?
Naturally, there’s a psychological element to this. People don’t typically invite scrutiny because it’s hard to hear that you’re lacking or could do better. And nobody wants their boss to hear they’re delivering C+ work. But what you don’t know absolutely can hurt you. It certainly holds companies back.
CX leaders need to be very open to the results coming in and lead with curiosity. Ask questions. Provoke discussions.
They also need executive support to make a difference. Some CX leaders lack the power to influence broader operations. “Stay in your lane,” they’re told. But it doesn’t work that way. CX is inherently cross-functional. You can’t win customer loyalty without connecting the dots across the organization internally.
Best-in-class organizations are very clear on where they stand on CX and how it delivers value—and not just at the leadership level. Every single employee understands the value of CX and how they influence it.
We challenge CX leaders—and their executive sponsors—to see the full scope of CX and its impact. They need to broaden the definition of CX and what it means to be successful.
For years, CX leaders have measured their performance with CX scores, follow up logs, and survey response rates. Now, they need to look at customer lifetime value, brand value, and the value of product and process improvements that are driven by customer feedback. They need to tie their work back to churn, retention, growth, and revenue—which are numbers that executives understand and can stand behind.
Suddenly, CX has a much wider scope and a more important role in the organization. Customer feedback and insights touch nearly every aspect of the business and influences where it needs to go.
Where Will the Truth Take You?
Remember, CX Truth has three parts: what’s real today, what’s possible, and how to bridge the gap. An assessment for CX Truth should include a roadmap. Companies need to understand their biggest gaps (objectively, based on evidence) and where to focus first.
A roadmap is important for companies that are just starting their CX journeys, as well as programs that are fairly mature. Companies in the earlier stages of CX want to “get it right” the first time. And companies that are further along can ruthlessly prioritize their resources based on value.
When accompanied by a roadmap, CX Truth helps leaders see and exploit competitive advantages so they can double down on the most effective strategies.
Get an Outside Perspective
NPSx experts can work with your team to gather evidence and find your CX Truth. Driven by our CX Advance Framework℠, we assess your current program and capabilities against industry peers and cross-industry best practices, and then recommend ways to improve.
Together, we can develop a roadmap toward gold standard CX performance.
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