By Annette Franz, CCXP; founder + CEO, CX Journey Inc.
Customer experience (CX) professionals are facing an uphill battle. Consumer expectations are evolving, and meeting customers’ needs is increasingly difficult. According to a recent SurveyMonkey report, 40% of CX pros say they’re challenged to adapt to changing customer expectations. Additionally, 34% say they lack the right technology and tools to understand and address their customer’s needs.
It’s not surprising that customer experience professionals would like to see more investment in two areas: customer feedback programs (52%) and product feedback programs (47%). However, for many teams, investments in CX programs are waning. Nearly three out of four CX pros say their team’s budgets are staying the same or increasing only slightly over last year.
Unlocking team-wide support and commitment
With executive buy-in, feedback programs will get the financial resources, headcount, and time commitment needed to be successful. However, getting support for your feedback programs doesn’t only come through executive commitment—employee involvement and engagement are also crucial. After all, a successful feedback program is a collective, team-wide endeavor.
Getting started may seem daunting. However, here are six steps to effectively launch a customer feedback program while receiving a commitment from executives and key stakeholders.
Step #1: Discover and prepare
Start your customer feedback program by uncovering the key stakeholders in your organization who possess the authority to allocate resources and make strategic decisions. It’s essential to identify those who hold significant influence across the organization and can champion the program. Conducting stakeholder interviews will provide valuable insights into team readiness, organizational goals, desired outcomes, and the key metrics that drive them to take action.
In-depth research is also required to understand customer needs, industry benchmarks, and best practices related to customer feedback programs. Data gathering is critical to building a compelling business case for the customer feedback program. Feedback trends, operational data, and competitive analysis all contribute to the foundation of the case.
Step #2: Define program objectives
Defining clear objectives and desired outcomes forms the bedrock of a successful customer feedback program. Establish the program's foundation to ensure its purpose is well-defined and aligned with the organization's overall CX strategy and broader goals. This alignment ensures that the customer feedback program becomes integral to the organization's vision and contributes to the larger objectives.
Asking questions like "How will you track your progress?" and "What will it look like when the work you're doing is successful?" can help you identify specific, measurable indicators of success. Defining how success will be measured and developing a continuous improvement plan guarantees the ongoing progress and enhancement of the program's impact.
By carefully defining objectives, aligning them with broader strategies, and establishing robust success metrics, you’ll create a customer feedback program that positively impacts the overall customer experience.
Step #3: Demonstrate quick wins
Explore smaller-scale initiatives or pilot projects that can yield quick wins and deliver tangible results in the near term. To assess the effectiveness of these initiatives, gather relevant data and metrics that highlight their positive impact. These measurements may include:
- Improved customer satisfaction levels
- Cost savings
- Increased efficiencies
- A boost in revenue generation
By showcasing the concrete benefits of these early successes, your organization can demonstrate the practical value of its efforts and gain support for investments in the future. These quick wins can also serve as valuable learning experiences and pave the way for more ambitious and impactful projects.
Step #4: Secure executive sponsorship
Securing executive sponsorship is critical in gaining support for your customer feedback program. To do this, present a compelling business case to your executives, outlining the program's objectives, emphasizing how it contributes to the organization's goals. Use the evidence of success from your quick-win projects as powerful supporting examples.
Highlight the program's benefits, such as improved customer satisfaction, increased efficiency, and potential revenue growth. When requesting resources, be specific and articulate exactly what you need—budgetary allocations, employee resources, or technology support—to ensure transparency and targeted allocation of resources.
Finally, communicate executives' and stakeholders' roles in this effort. Underscore their crucial involvement in decision-making, resource allocation, and continuous support. Demonstrating their involvement will enhance their ownership and commitment to the success of the customer feedback program, fostering a culture of collaboration and accountability for the program.
Step #5: Educate and communicate
Develop an internal communication plan to inform stakeholders and employees. This plan should create awareness about the program's objectives, emphasizing the significance of customer feedback and how it will be utilized to drive improvements.
Conducting workshops and training sessions is a powerful approach to disseminating valuable insights, industry trends, success stories, and best practices. This knowledge-sharing initiative equips stakeholders with the necessary tools and understanding to participate in the program and contribute to its success.
Consistent and transparent communication is key throughout the program's implementation. Regularly sharing updates, progress reports, and success stories keeps employees engaged and informed about the positive impact of the customer feedback program.
Step #6: Establish program governance
Establish a well-structured governance system of stakeholders passionate about CX within your organization. This cross-functional committee should work collaboratively to amplify the program's message, garner support from all levels of the organization, and encourage active participation from stakeholders.
Defining the operating model of the governance structure is equally important. This entails determining the people, tools, data, and processes that drive the program forward.
Launch successful feedback programs
While launching a customer feedback program may appear daunting, following the six steps outlined in this blog can pave the way for an effective program with strong commitment from executives and key stakeholders.
Embracing these strategies, CX professionals can navigate the challenging landscape and elevate customer experiences to new heights, ensuring long-term success and sustainability in an ever-evolving business environment.
For more insights shaping the CX landscape, grab your free copy of The state of CX: Emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities.