With so much evidence proving the competitive advantage of improved customer experiences, you’d assume that gaining buy-in for CX from management would be a simple task.
Those of us in the field realize just how herculean this feat is.
It’s frustrating to be the person in your business who clearly sees the need for investment in CX. You can all but feel how improving the experience your customers have with your products and services will lead to increased revenues, decreased costs, and – most importantly – long-term customer loyalty.
But alas, you aren’t in a position where you can approve the budget for and construct the projects needed to make CX improvements a reality.
How do you bridge the gap? How do you gain buy-in for CX to make it a priority and secure the investment you know it deserves?
The Slow CX Path to Nowhere
It’s not that CX champions inside of businesses don’t try to gain buy-in for CX. Many explain how streamlining customer-facing processes increases customer satisfaction. Or they describe how customer loyalty grows as communications get more personalized.
Unfortunately, leaders don’t always see the value and importance of these accomplishments – especially in relation to other priorities they have.
In fact, “Competing business priorities and misaligned visions for what customer centricity should look like often lead to a lack of alignment and CX progress.” 1
On the other hand, leaders may question the validity of CX methods. This is often due to insufficient concrete metrics and data (seen in more quantitative analyses). This quote from HubSpot’s piece on Customer Experience ROI illustrates the attitude: “For instance, does answering email faster really help you keep customers longer? And how much more would a customer spend if you streamlined your checkout process?” 2
CX champions fully understand how aligning customer intentions, business goals, and system capabilities leads to increased revenue and decreased cost. But without strong, direct correlations between CX methods and quantitative business results, it becomes difficult for business leaders to justify the investments CX folks ask of them.
Without these justifications from management, CX goals begin to fade. Despite consistent efforts, CX champions often make little progress and begin to wonder if there is hope.
‘Why’ Is Key to Gaining Buy-In for CX
Perhaps CX champions are not being heard because they aren’t leading with why.
Sure, they explain much about ‘what’ the company needs to do for better CX (i.e., streamline processes, improve communication times, listen to customers). They’ve discussed ‘how’ the company can get these done (i.e., create projects, review the data, facilitate customer interviews).
But have they led with ‘why’ these changes are important? Have they bolstered ‘why’s’ with data, even indirect data, to help clarify them?
When we say ‘why’, we’re referring to CX champions explaining why their suggested actions and strategies will make a difference. If you’re the CX champion in your organization, we suggest arming yourself with these reasons. Make it a point to learn why certain materials and activities exist and why they should be used.
For example, why does improved customer satisfaction matter? Does this lead to return purchases? Does this increase Customer Lifetime Value, thereby decreasing marketing costs?
Or we can take the example of “Great CX leads to increased revenue because customers are happier with our business.” A savvy leader will ask, “Why?”
We know it’s because better CX makes customers feel more competent, which is a main component of intrinsic motivation. This means that because customers are motivated by something inside of them (i.e., their preferences), they are more likely to return on their own accord. Compare this to motivation by something outside of them (i.e., marketing ads); how effective will that be in encouraging customers to keep returning?
Return customers = increased revenue. Customers who return on their own accord = decreased costs and saved marketing dollars.
That’s the ‘why’.
We understand how difficult it can be to tie CX initiatives to quantitative measures directly. We also agree that quantitative-only measures don’t show the true ROI of CX and that businesses that only look at these measures are choosing to be short-sighted.
But you don’t need definitive numbers to lead with ‘why’. You must dig deeper into statements and understand why they are what they are.
Shifting the CX Conversation
When CX champions lead with ‘why’, it shifts the conversation. Leaders begin to understand how CX impacts the business at an ecosystem level while gaining insight into CX itself.
Armed with this narrative, they can visualize how CX fits into the company’s larger vision. Leaders can then combine priorities with CX instead of contrasting them. Most importantly, they have the information to assess better the risk vs. reward of investing in CX.
Understanding the ‘Why’ Gains Buy-In for CX
Using the ‘why’ of CX to help inform leaders establishes a foundation from which you and your leadership team can create a path forward using CX—the ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ of the ‘whys’.
Understanding the ‘why’ helps leaders feel more competent regarding CX. These feelings lead to internalized motivation to invest and improve. All of this sets you up for operationalizing a strategy shaped by customer-first thinking.
Remember, ‘whys’ are the foundation upon which ‘what’ and ‘how’ can thrive. They will lead you to gain buy-in for CX and help you ensure a long-term CX program.
1. Walters, Jeannie, Customer Experience Works, Ideas to Gain Leadership Buy-in for Customer Experience
2. Stuart, Ryan, Hubspot, Customer Experience ROI: How to Convince Leadership It’s Worth It