Communication Is Essential for CX
OUR COMPANY recently hosted a virtual event that highlighted 10 key traits for customer experience (CX) leaders. They included an impressive list of qualities: passion, knowledge, communication, collaboration, influence, analysis, focus, innovation, dedication to change, and business savvy. All are important traits for a CX team. But when we asked two panelists who lead CX programs in large organizations if any trait stood out, I was a little surprised at their response. Without hesitation, both said communication skill.
Their explanation made it clearer. First, they described how effective communication enhances all of the other key traits. And second, without effective communication, CX doesn’t succeed. No action. No change. No results.
A FORMULA FOR COMMUNICATION
Years ago I began promoting a simple formula for CX communication that still makes a lot of practical sense.
Awareness + Understanding + Belief = Action
Notice the focus here is on action. We don’t communicate for the sake of communication. CX programs are focused on employee actions that drive results. Communication is a primary vehicle to make it happen. Let’s break down the components of this simple formula.
Most organizations have a lot of corporate clutter—countless corporate initiatives competing for mindshare. All are important, and it is easy for your message to get lost in the clutter. If your CX program is ever going to drive action, people need to know about it. Thoughtful repetitive communication is necessary for anything to get attention. Here are a few ways CX can stand out.
- Branding: Give your CX program a meaningful name, logo, and tagline to enhance visibility.
- Promotion: Routinely feature CX initiatives in corporate communications to reinforce their importance.
- Endorsements: Encourage executives and managers to talk about the program throughout the organization.
Unfortunately, awareness is not enough. Employees need to understand what the program is all about and what role they are to play. This gets more complex because it will vary by department, but there is plenty you can do to enhance everyone’s understanding of CX.
- New employees: Integrate CX into your new employee orientation to stress its importance from day one.
- Education: Make sure CX is a component of any learning platforms or ongoing education programs.
- Training: Arrange tailored training programs for areas of the organization that influence the experience of customers—sales, account management, customer service, product management, process design, and others.
The most challenging step in the communication formula is belief. It’s not enough for employees to be aware and understand CX. You want them to believe in it. If you can inspire them to truly believe in CX, they are much more likely to take action and create amazing experiences for your customers. Here are a few ways to encourage belief in CX.
- Ambassadors: Build a team of CX ambassadors from groups across the organization to constantly encourage and promote the impact of CX.
- Resources: Too often employees see CX as one more thing to do. Make sure they have access to tools and data to make it easy to integrate the perspective of customers into their daily decisions and tasks.
- Recognition: Notice and recognize customer-focused actions. Create programs to regularly reward employees who create great experiences for customers.
- Results: Share the impact. Nothing fosters belief more than knowing the program is working.
CX COMMUNICATION IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED
Too often an organization will hire our firm to build a CX program and the first thing they want to do is design and launch a survey. It’s such a shortsighted approach. Who will use the feedback? How will it be delivered to them? How will they know what to do? What actions will you want them to take? Is a survey even the right approach? Unfortunately, the common response to these questions is, “We’ll worry about that after we launch the survey.”
As a CX leader, don’t fall into this trap of overlooking, minimizing, or postponing communication efforts. Instead, take the time to develop a thoughtful communication plan that will increase your program’s impact. CX programs need to focus on employees taking action. And employees need to be aware of your program, understand their role, and believe in its merit.
Patrick Gibbons is a principal at Walker, a leading experience management services firm. He leads marketing and experience management programs and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.