Talking the Talk: Top Execs on Transforming the Customer Experience

It’s true, strictly speaking, that our clients are leaders of some of the region’s largest companies. But their leadership roles aren’t what define them. What does define them – in our view – is their commitment to transformational change. Their understanding that business transformation is a journey marked by a series of careful, deliberate steps. And, increasingly, their conviction that elevating the customer experience (CX) is central to driving better business performance.

We believe that executive leaders need not only to walk the walk of transformation (see our recent post about the transformational CX underway at AmerisourceBergen), but also to talk the talk. In other words, they need the chance to learn from others about how to tackle the most difficult issues. From us? Sure. But also, from each other.

On a recent evening, we gathered a core group of clients from a variety of sectors – including life sciences, manufacturing, and healthcare – to connect with one another on the topic of transforming the customer experience (CX). No pundits, no speeches: just accomplished executives benefitting from each other’s collective wisdom and experience.

Questions were asked, pondered, and answered. Triumphs and struggles were shared, the details of which we won’t share here. Specifics aside, a number of themes – lessons, almost – emerged over the course of the evening. Here are a few:

It Starts at The Top

There was much discussion of how to ensure accountability for elevating CX. Should there be a dedicated CX office or team? A CX champion in each segment of the business? Something in-between? This group had experience with a variety of approaches, and outcomes and viewpoints were diverse. Despite that, there was clear consensus that transforming CX inside large organizations is a little like turning around a supertanker. Doable? Yes. But a complex, coordinated effort. An effort that succeeds only with consistent, well-articulated support from the highest levels of the organization, buy-in from employees on the front lines, and all those behind them.

Go Big or Go Home? Not So Much

Although there was agreement that CX transformation must be supported at the top, there was also discussion around the risks of the “go big or go home” approach. Many had seen – inside their organizations or others – a variety of transformation efforts falter, or fail altogether, despite audacious beginnings. As a result, these executives were inclined towards a different approach for the early stages of a CX program: one focused on quick, early wins with measurable business impact. The goal? Establishing momentum and proving the case for further investment.

Nobody’s Perfect

The assembled group was both ambitious and realistic. They had their sights set high, but they agreed that even the best CX program would not eliminate bad customer experiences. In some ways, this realism further fueled their belief in the value of CX transformations. Establishing a steady stream of good interactions with customers through a successful CX program could mitigate the fallout from any periodic snafus. Instead of focusing on perfection, the group focused more on consistently positive interactions, and deft handling of any bumps in the road.

When it comes to business transformation, there are no magic wands, or “that was easy” buttons. But there is plenty of accumulated wisdom. When it comes to CX transformation – or any transformation – we believe it’s our job to help clients not just by walking shoulder-to-shoulder along that path with them, but also by connecting them with peers who are walking similar paths and facing similar challenges. Helping clients to leverage each other’s expertise is critically important to us because we know it can spur them (and their companies) on to greater success.

If you need to walk the walk or talk the talk about CX transformation, we’re here to help.

Brian Lee, Partner

Brian Lee

Change Management Done Right
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