How to build a cross-functional customer experience team

Does your company currently run an NPS or CSAT program that nobody cares about? Too often, organisations survey customers "for the sake of it" without investing into relevant infrastructure, processes and people to translate raw data into actionable insights.


Whilst coordinating cross-functional resources to work towards a common goal can be difficult, doing it correctly can yield substantial customer value / return on investment.


In today's blog, we highlight the 5 critical functions that should be considered when establishing a Voice of Customer (VoC) program within your organisation.

1. CX SteerCo

Who they are

  • A committee who defines and governs the customer-centric culture across the organisation. It is generally made up of Executive staff - CEO, CMO, CIO, CFO, CXO.

Skills / Responsibilities

  • To review, discuss and evaluate results related to the VoC program.

Level of involvement

  • 5-10%: SteerCo's involvement follows the cadence of business performance results i.e. quarterly, bi-annually or annually.

Other things to note

  • Whilst all Executives should have an inherent interest in the VoC program, there should only be one Executive Sponsor who is accountable for the program.

2. CX Executive Sponsor


The Executive sponsor has the most important role in aiding the program’s visibility and viability.


Who they are

  • An individual who sits on the Board and has accountability for the overarching VoC program up to the CEO and across to other Executives.

Skills / Responsibilities

  • Maintaining program visibility / communication up to the Board

  • Establishing program goals & targets

  • Provision of CX budget & resource allocation

Level of involvement

  • 15-20%: The Sponsor will meet with program team periodically (~monthly) but is not involved in the day to day.

Other things to note

  • According to Answering the Ultimate Question, "the best executive sponsors spend time outside their own organisation to understand successful strategies at other organisations. They invest in their own development and that of the program through networking, conferences, and formal or informal benchmarking exercises".

3. CX Program Team


The CX program team can sit within many types of business units. It’s more important for the team to have the right skillset rather than the right functional location.


Who they are

  • The CX program team runs the infrastructure (CX platform), provides education, prepares data analysis, and distributes (actionable) information to internal functions so they can improve the customer experience.

Skills / Responsibilities

  • Understanding business context - If no one on the team has line management experience, the program risks losing credibility and traction among the very group that you are relying on to implement actions. It is integral that the insights delivered by the CX program team are contextualised correctly.

  • Data analytics skills - Whilst market research / statistical skills are useful, they are not the only type of analytic skillset useful for this team. Financial analysis & six sigma skillsets can also play a major role. Within this team, you need staff who understand how to use data in a variety of management contexts. The most important skill is the ability to draw actionable management conclusions from data, making them easy to understand for those who need to implement the actions.

  • Process improvement skills - Process design & system thinking skillsets are extremely important for this team. Members of this team will be attempting to change the underlying processes of your organisation so business process knowledge will be at a premium. Most importantly, you want people on the team who are effective at acting through others. They see the program success as being enabled through education, ensuring engagement and providing information with an awareness of the needs of those who use the data.

Level of involvement

  • 100% - The CX team have the responsibility of managing the entire operations of CX program; governance, distribution, survey representativeness etc

Other things to note

  • The CX program team are the cornerstones of any CX program. There is a heavy reliance on this team to ensure that the integrity of the program is always sound - data quality, survey representativeness, best practice survey structures etc.

4. Business Function Owners

This is generally the most hotly debated function when it comes to VoC programs. Should the CX program team manage customer improvement, or should it be the responsibility of a business function? Our strong view is that it should be the responsibility of the business function.


Who they are

  • The line of business owners who are responsible for driving improvements across their business functions based on the insights of the program.

Skills / Responsibilities

  • Takes action of insights providing by the CX program team.

  • Holds team members accountable for customer experience

  • Involved in KPI / loyalty metric target setting

  • Provides resources for cross-functional champions to implement CX initiatives

  • Reports back to the SteerCo on progress regarding CX action plans

Level of involvement

  • 5-15%: Works with cross-functional champions and reports back to SteerCo

Other things to note

  • The most successful programs put clear ownership for taking action of insights into the hands of business functions and are methodical in establishing goals / reviewing performance. CX programs often fail when accountability for CX initiatives sits with the CX Program team as they do not have enough influence / context to effectively drive change.

5. Cross-Functional Champions


Cross-Functional champions are the glue that brings the entire VoC program together.

Who they are

  • Champions are individuals who sit across different parts of the organisation, who can drive action in their respective groups. They are the connectors who allow cross-collaboration between CX expertise and business units who generally work closest to their customers.

  • Champions do not necessarily have to be managers in their respective business units however they do have to be advocates of VoC and also have to be well respected by their peers, ensuring they are able to leverage strong internal networks that they have established.

Skills / Responsibilities

  • Communicate program information and data into their business unit

  • Conduct further analysis

  • Provide context / feedback to the CX program team

  • Assist with implementation of CX initiatives

Level of involvement

  • 20-30%: they work closely with the CX program team and assist in implementing the actionable insights that are provided.

Other things to note

  • Champions are the "insiders" who understand how certain business functions operate (context) and likely have the influence to get new initiatives endorsed.

Conclusion

Executive engagement and sponsorship is critical to the success of a CX program. In addition to this, we firmly believe that the most effective CX programs have a clear delineation between the program team who produce the insights and the business function who implements these insights.


Establishing a program governance structure with cross-functional champions who are led by an executive sponsor will create organisational alignment however this will not happen overnight. Change management is both an art and a science - we hope that this article will help your business find the structure which works for you!


Cheers,

Ben the Bearded Man







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