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Initiating a CX Transformation? Helpful Tips for Success

Medallia: CX

In today’s world, experiences matter more than ever before because no bad experience goes unpunished. The standards are high for creating “wow” moments therefore organizations can’t afford to overlook CX as a core part of the business strategy. As more organizations invest in customer experience (CX) it often sparks internal transformation. We pulled together our top tips to be successful when leading CX programs.

[Learn more about Medallia’s study with Ipsos on the CX Tipping Point]

But what does CX transformation really mean? And how do you get started?

Posing these questions to 10 different organizations will likely result in 10 different responses. There is often a gap between what companies believe to be true, and what they are willing to invest in, particularly when it comes to CX and changes associated with it. That gap tends to widen based on inherent traditions, political tensions and cross-functional chasms that exist in every organization. This results in CX decisions being driven by internal interests and influencers rather than what otherwise would be obvious.

People make decisions based on emotional biases, and can be resistant to change…Leading change in an organization requires a renewed focus on people, to help get past their fears and biases so they can understand and then align with the vision.

Also, people make decisions based on emotional biases, and can be resistant to change. We overvalue short-term benefits over long-term gain because the future is unpredictable. Leading change in an organization requires a renewed focus on people, to help get past their fears and biases so they can understand and then align with the vision.

Here are 3 ways you can rewire and reorient your organization to successfully launch a CX transformation:   

1. Shift the narrative: There is often far too much energy spent on definitions and all-encompassing strategies that become politically charged and risk bifurcation vs. unison. There is also typically a lot of emphasis on creating grandiose plans to drive change top-down, which feel overwhelming or unachievable. Rather than forcing everyone to drop their functional hats and build consensus around big change (feels uncomfortable), encourage everyone to share their unique perspective and fuel collaboration (feels supportive) with small changes.

Shift the narrative from doing something to people, to doing it with them. Inclusively assess the maturity of your organization across proven practices required to succeed with CX transformation. Align cross-functional stakeholders around a framework to think about customer-centric actions in a neutral way, and prioritize them based on organizational maturity vs. functional influences.

[Learn more about Medallia’s OCEM Maturity Assessment].

2. Shape the environment: One of the common pitfalls of launching transformation efforts is poor coordination across all the key stakeholders. Initiatives get launched within a particular department or at the direction of a particular executive where the goals are too myopic to consider all the dependencies. Once the work gets underway, and others within the organization begin to learn about it, things get complicated fast. CX transformation, by definition, transcends internal boundaries. Rather than waiting for things to get cross-wired, align on a strong governance model up front to pre-emptively shape your environment for success.

Typically mature organizations operate with a hybrid model, even if they start with a central team or decentralized structure. A hybrid model consists of a core team with divisional alignment through liaisons and cross-functional teams. This creates a good balance of healthy tension, inclusive representation, and overarching consistency of goals, metrics and progress. It also creates an opportunity for people to work together vs. against each other.

To get people to change their actions, they need to feel safe, supported and valued. Overlooking the soft side of change, typically written off as ‘fluff,’ can eventually become a major hindrance to achieving transformation.

3. Embrace the fluff: There’s no such thing as a big change. Big change is the aggregate output of a lot of little changes. Most little changes come from people changing their thinking and their actions. To get people to change their thinking, they need to believe something will be better. To get people to change their actions, they need to feel safe, supported and valued. Overlooking the soft side of change, typically written off as “fluff,” can eventually become a major hindrance to achieving transformation.

Get an early start on cultivating new traditions and processes to encourage taking a chance, iterate, and celebrate micro successes. Are there things that exist in the current state that by design, are contrary to the transformation desired? Are there rewards in place for the very behaviors that are expected to change? Are leaders showing up in ways that conflict with the expectations set forth? Our human psyche hates hypocrisy. If the concept remains ethereal vs. practical, people will fall back into old habits and a cycle of resistance.

It boils down to this. Initiating and scaling a CX transformation requires acknowledgement and appreciation of your organization’s inherent emotions, fears and biases. So, leverage the sentiments rather than resisting them.

Learn how the best brands are embracing Customer Experience and delivering real business value.


Join us at Experience ‘19 to find out how companies including TD Bank, Petco and Ulta Beauty are creating and sustaining a thriving CX culture across their organizations.


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