Customer Experience Must Be Relevant to Executives at Top of the House

Erich Dietz, VP, Worldwide Strategic Accounts, InMoment, believes that cultural commitment is an absolute necessity in creating a superior brand customer experience.

Dietz, who was a featured speaker during a recent Loyalty360 webinar titled, “CX: The Art of the Possible,” which was presented by InMoment, believes that culture and leadership extend beyond a CEO saying on an earnings call that “we care about the customer.”

Loyalty360 caught up with Dietz to learn more about how crucial cultural commitment is to creating a powerful brand CX.

Cultural commitment was one of the main themes during your recent webinar with us. What advice can you offer brands that don't have that cultural commitment, that cultural buy-in from the top down, but so desperately want it to greatly enhance the customer experience?
Dietz: Customer experience must be relevant from a hard business perspective to the executives at the top of the house. And that doesn’t happen by accident. CX leaders must understand what’s most important to both the business and customers, and then use that information to prioritize where they put resources. Identify the places that are most important to the business, and then determine which of those are the low, or lower hanging fruit. Start there. Early, relevant wins are important. And don’t forget to communicate these with your team, your executives, with everyone in the organization. People need to know that what you’re doing matters. That it’s making an impact on your customer relationships, and to your bottom line.  
When that cultural commitment happens, what are the keys to maintaining it so that CX becomes the daily focus for the brand?
Dietz: First, make sure everyone in the organization understand where CX investments are being made, and why. Providing your leaders and employees with context will help them understand their roles in both accomplishing CX goals, and how those relate to the success of the business. Ongoing sharing of customer and employee stories is another very important method for getting and keeping CX embedded in the culture. A client of ours had a report it shared with the entire company called, “The Good, the bad and the ugly.” The report included both the metrics as well as verbatim feedback from customers, including voice recordings and even video from real customers adds an even more powerful emotional element. At the end of the day, human beings both receive and deliver the customer experience. Metrics and ROI are critical for the business case, but including the human element will help your people understand the impact they’re having on the CX process at an emotional. You’ve got to have both to make customer experience an enduring part of an organization. 
How has customer listening evolved in recent years?
Dietz: We’ve moved from a transaction-oriented approach where customers were mostly anonymous and feedback connected to a single moment, to a more relationship or journey-based approach where customers are known, and interactions are considered stops along an ongoing conversation. Wise brands are listening in more relevant and personalized ways along this journey. There are also more ways and places to listen to customers, allowing them to engage in feedback in forums that are most comfortable, from more traditional web and phone surveys, to communities, social, and even video. Not only is this appealing for customers, these new channels also allow for more authentic storytelling, which results in richer data and better insights for brands. 
What are some of the wrong things that brands focus on in developing CX programs?
Dietz: Designing programs that don’t map to organizational goals and business outcomes is very common. Often, CX leaders are so passionate about customer experience and even the related metrics, they forget it’s a business strategy. Not only does success require deliberate mapping of CX goals to business outcomes, it also necessitates a level of political savviness that some CX leaders either don’t have, or are uncomfortable acknowledging.  Executing a successful and sustainable CX strategy is tough, and it takes tough-minded leaders to do the work.  Another essential element brands forget to include in developing a CX program is an internal communications. It’s an absolutely imperative that every department and person in the organizations understands what the CX priorities are, why they are important to the business, and how each person should contribute. Every person in the organization must feel ownership for the customer experience for CX initiatives to reach their full potential.

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