The CMOs I advise are feeling the pressure to improve customer experience in a way that positively impacts short and long-term revenue. They spearhead many initiatives, talking about Customer Experience (CX), Digital Transformation (DTX), Account-based Experience (ABX), OmniChannel or building a Center of Excellence (CoE). But studies show that 75% of such initiatives fizzle out within a year. Because, no matter what you call it, change is a challenge – and sometimes C-level peers don’t get the whole CX concept.
CMOs trying to affect organizational change are facing strong headwinds… Legacy org structures (and politics), skill gaps left by rotating associates, unstructured data, and martech proliferation are just some of their problems. Short tenures make affecting large-scale change all the more challenging. What’s a CMO to do?
Create a working model for creating change and stick to it. Don’t talk about ABM one quarter and OmniChannel the next. In my discovery interviews, nearly every associate reports some form of change fatigue and is sick of buzz words. Change management requires consistency over time, not just enthusiasm at the kick-off.
HBR’s 4 Tips for Managing Organizational Change include:
- Start with a small cross-functional (pilot) group – Select teammates who are loosely-connected but united by a share purpose.
- Identify a keystone challenge – Identify something problematic, aspirational, but achievable.
- Network the movement – Ensure solid C-level support and help them to communicate and support changes over the long-term.
- Survive the victory – Don’t stop when the first pilot goals have been met. Publicly celebrate the victory and then broadcast your next-level goals.
CMOs who make Customer Experience their top priority reap many other benefits, because everything else is related. In the effort to optimize CX, workstreams naturally develop to handle the challenges we’ve discussed: Org structure, skills and resources, data management and martech optimization. Collaboration becomes imperative to meeting the primary CX goal, so bridges get built across the organization.
One of my clients, the CMO of a leading RPO company, is doing everything right. In 2020 she set goals, built a strong team and internal network, then got the data under control. In 2021 we streamlined her martech and planned an overarching Account-based Experience (ABX). Her communication up and across the organization has been consistent throughout and we are piloting ABX with strong support. Early results are great, and I expect this change effort to yield results in 2022 and over the long term.
DTX, COE, ABX…Whatever you call your Customer Experience initiative, consistency and change management techniques are your best bet for success. When you can make change happen – and stick – excellent CX will be the outcome and revenue the reward.