From ‘Department’ to ‘Discipline’: Extending CX Influence throughout Your Organization

On a recent Forrester panel at CX North America, Analyst Angelina Gennis posed a great question: “When did you feel your CX career take off?” While I’m always a work in progress, I’ve felt the most personal and professional fulfillment when witnessing CX evolve from being a function to being considered a discipline and way of working within the broader enterprise. But how does that evolution happen and what’s most critical for success? What are the observable behaviors that signal organizational adoption of customer-centricity?

One of the fastest ways to weave CX into the fabric of the organization is to make your story — and your tools — as accessible as possible:

On insights, find ways to disseminate and share customer insights with key stakeholders. Maybe it’s creating a centralized and accessible “Top 5 Customer LOVE/HATE Reasons” Sharepoint site with specific data and feedback for employees to examine (you’d be surprised how many employees and executives can’t cite or guess this of their own company). If you haven’t already, consider standing up a cross-functional Insights Center of Excellence with specific objectives and roles to ensure both the dissemination and alignment of the insights agenda to help drive action and move the business forward.

Metrics can also be a great way to gain buy-in and commitment, though it’s critical to surface accessible and relevant metrics to the business that ultimately influence THEIR goals and KPIs. If your organization uses NPS or CSAT as its key beacon metric, but teams don’t feel connected to it, find ways to translate those metrics into actionable root cause insights, dashboards, and recommendations for key leaders and stakeholders. Regardless of the ‘holy grail’ CX metric you may be using, it’s important that organizations don’t lose sight of the myriad of signals that customers provide as indicators of satisfaction and loyalty. Are service calls increasing or decreasing? Is cost-to-serve on the decline? How are online product engagement levels? Are retention rates improving? Being a customer advocate means observing the behavior of customers where it counts for them. Understand these operational metrics and partner with teams to understand the ‘why’ and how you can lend support. It’s not just about getting the organization to “get” CX or NPS. The work also falls on CX professionals to lean into all aspects of customer behavior — and business goals — to influence improvement and reduce friction in the process.

You rarely hear a colleague say they don’t believe in CX. Rather, goals, process, or lack of direction impede their ability to get involved. Look for barriers that prevent more customer-centric ways of working. Advocate not just for customers, but for your fellow employees. Competing goals and misaligned processes or prioritization are often culprits of stalled CX efforts. Establish a CX executive sponsor and elevate issues while working across teams to eliminate the barriers to customer-focused momentum.

When it comes to the creation of new experiences, creating and socializing design guiding principles can ensure better continuity of experience across journeys and channels. Establish an easy 5-point rubric of experience design elements or questions to assist teams in assessing how well their programs, processes, or experiences solve key customer needs (effectiveness), eliminate unnecessary friction (ease), or invoke an emotional or memorable connection (emotion).

Finally, from a cultural perspective, look to create role or functional-specific behaviors that align with your customer or brand promise. These behaviors should translate into measurable and specific actions that lead to improved empowerment and accountability across the organization.

We preach making it easy for customers to do business with you — the same is true for your CX department. Make their agenda your agenda. Make your insights and tools accessible. Provide small, easy, implementable actions that leave no room for stakeholder confusion or hesitation. And finally, remember that CX delivery is in the hands of your employees, all of whom ultimately want to do right by the customer. Arm them with the right tools, behaviors, and insights to help move them, and the organization, along the customer transformation journey.

Originally published at

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