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17. Mar 2021

CX management – from insights to impact

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Successful customer experience management often fails not in the interaction with the customer, but within the own organization. What is the reason for this?

How can CX management become more effective within the organization? We talked about this with CX experts Luca Meister (diffferent) and Bianca Sünkel (cxomni).

What are the main challenges CX managers face within the organization?

Luca: One of the most important factors is that while many companies have user-centricity written all over them, a user-centric mindset is often not yet ingrained in the minds of their employees. The structures for successful CX management are often in place. It's just that they don't take effect because the other departments are not yet as far along and/or management does not prioritize the topic enough.

Bianca: A big problem is still silo thinking between departments. Even though the insights of CX managers sometimes have the greatest implications for Operations, this information often does not reach the right place. Marketing talks to Marketing, Operations talks to Operations. With departmental silos usually come data silos. For example, CX managers often do not have access to feedback data from customer service or Mafo results from marketing.

What needs to be considered in the targeted preparation of insights for internal target groups?

Luca: CX managers mediate between end customers and internal addressees with a mixture of tenacity and empathy. Those who are successful are those who not only know the problems of the users, but also the current issues of their colleagues and support them in finding solutions. This includes both content-related and structural aspects. Simple example: When departments are working with Jira, inputs, such as user stories, should not be sent to them in Excel.

Bianca: First, there needs to be a common understanding of terminology. Not every person in the company defines "insight" the same per se. CX managers are challenged here to ensure that they speak the same language in exchanges with other departments and describe insights accordingly.

CX managers also have the task of finding the right points of reference for their work results. For example, if they reference current projects or specific touchpoints along the customer journey compared to general insights, they tend to be heard more by the relevant colleagues.

What practical tools can support CX management within the organization?

Bianca: One should definitely use tools that are already learned by the workforce to transfer knowledge into the organization. Within the CX department, it is important to create a common ground for project management. Schedules, project progress and responsibilities must be clearly documented. Even simple Kanban boards can suffice for this purpose. Dedicated CX software only becomes necessary in most companies when there are recurring projects such as customer journeys and their updates.

Luca: To structure the content of individual projects, the tools that are used elsewhere in uncertain environments help. For example, joint scoping at the beginning is absolutely elementary. A clear definition of the work order helps not only the CX team, but also the requesting department itself. Stakeholder mapping can also be very valuable for the internal acceptance of CX projects because it shows whom you should regularly pick up on a topic to ensure a high level of acceptance of the work results later on.

How does CX management empower other departments to make decisions that pay into a holistic customer experience?

Luca: Talk to each other. You should never leave colleagues alone with content. If you share documents without talking about them, misunderstandings are bound to happen. If you instead provide space for personal interactions and dialog, you create opportunities for building trust in addition to clarity of content. A clear understanding of the role of the CXM department itself is also important: What is our role? More precisely, do we implement ourselves or do we support others in implementing? If this question is clarified and clearly communicated, the foundation is laid for constructive collaboration without a tussle over competencies.

Bianca: It helps immensely if there are customer ambassadors as enablers in other departments. They are naturally close allies of the CX managers. Regular meetings with them and a common platform are needed to ensure that CX is and remains anchored as a topic in the respective departments.

What do you see as the biggest levers for successfully establishing customer experience in the company in the long term? So how can the step from Insights to Impact succeed?

Bianca: Culture. CX management is still a young professional field. Most companies have only established very small CXM departments so far, and often CX managers are still lone wolves. They need clear mandates so that they can have an impact within the organization. This is not possible without the backing of management and the appropriate targeting of the departments involved.

Luca: CX Management must be integrated into the standard processes of the overall organization. When a CXM department is established, it first means more work for the other departments. That's why we shouldn't talk about additional committees or customer advisory boards, but about how to integrate customer centricity into the development processes of products and services.

Both: Last but not least, the personality of CX managers can be a decisive lever. CXM in a company is not a sprint, but rather can be compared to a triathlon. You need consistency and daily endurance, you have to be good at different disciplines, you have to adapt quickly to different course requirements. You have to be able to demonstrate strategic vision and operational pragmatism at the same time. If you can manage this balancing act, you have a good chance of taking your organization a good step forward in the field of CX.

Bianca Sünkel

Bianca Sünkel is CSO at cxomni GmbH, a leading provider of SaaS-based CXM solutions and related services. She is an EFQM assessor (TÜV) and TQM coach and was previously a management consultant with a consulting focus on customer-oriented quality management.

Luca Meister

Luca Meister is Senior Consultant Strategy & Innovation and Practice Lead Customer Experience Management at diffferent. He advises his clients in the areas of customer experience strategy & design, innovation enablement and human-centered design.

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