As a business leader, you understand the importance of prioritizing customer experience (CX) initiatives to drive business growth and enterprise value. However, implementing CX priorities requires more than just identifying the right strategies and initiatives—it also requires building and sustaining motivation and commitment to change throughout your organization. Without a motivated and committed team engaged on your CX priorities and adopting the right behaviors for a more customer-driven culture, it is hard to achieve your desired CX outcomes. This requires not only getting upfront alignment with your executive team and those you enroll in building out your strategy and working directly on your CX initiatives, but also engaging and building a movement more broadly among your managers and frontline employees.
In an earlier blog introducing the full set of CX problem statements (see here if you missed it), I quoted Peter Drucker’s often repeated phrase that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Drucker, one of the world’s leading strategy gurus, recognized the importance of not only practicing good change management, but being especially sensitive to how your culture can help or inhibit your strategy. Without a culture-led approach to change management, your efforts won’t be sustainable.
Here are some effective practices to build and sustain motivation and commitment to change for your CX priorities, using your focus on CX to catalyze a positive evolution in your culture that in turn helps you create a virtuous cycle for your CX strategy. This reinforces the growth flywheel that I write about in my Accelerate Value blog series.
Communicate a compelling vision
To inspire and engage your employees, it's essential to communicate a compelling vision for your CX. Clearly articulate why CX is a strategic priority, how it aligns with the organization's goals and values, and the benefits it brings to customers, the business, and your employees. Paint a vivid picture of the desired customer experiences and the positive impact they will have on customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business outcomes. By creating a shared vision, you can generate enthusiasm and commitment among your employees to drive CX initiatives forward.
Moreover, pay attention to emotion when developing and sharing your CX vision. Have you worded your CX vision in a way that focuses not just on what you want customers to say about you, but how you want customers to feel about themselves along their journey? Do you understand the “deep metaphors” that customers are using unconsciously to sort their experiences with your brand? Have you developed an “emotional motif” than prioritizes the three to five emotions you want to evoke from your customers along key peaks in the customer journey? Similarly, have you thought about the motif for your employees, too? For more on these practices, see my Reimagining Insights blog series I’ve been collaborating on with Lou Carbone and my review for his book, Clued In.
Foster a customer-driven culture
Cultivate a culture that values and prioritizes key behaviors to deliver on your CX vision, where employees feel empowered to take ownership of delivering exceptional customer experiences. Encourage cross-functional collaboration, knowledge sharing, and continuous learning to foster a customer-driven mindset throughout the organization. Celebrate success stories and recognize employees who go above and beyond to deliver outstanding CX. By fostering a customer-driven culture, you can tap into your employees’ intrinsic motivation and a sense of pride in delivering exceptional CX.
Provide resources and support
Motivation can be hindered when employees lack the necessary resources and support to implement CX priorities effectively. Ensure that employees have access to the tools, training, and data-driven insights they need to deliver on your prioritized CX initiatives. Invest in employee development programs that enhance their skills and knowledge related to experience management. Evolve your approach to training so that your employees can spot clues for where you can further amplify or create new peaks in the customer journey, not just reduce friction that leads to valleys. Provide ongoing coaching and support to help employees overcome challenges and achieve your CX goals. By equipping employees with the right resources and support, you can empower them to take ownership of CX priorities and maintain their motivation.
Foster a sense of community
Employees are more likely to be motivated and committed when they feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the success of CX initiatives. Involve employees in the decision-making process, seeking their input and ideas for improving the customer experience. After all, people embrace what they help create. Encourage cross-functional collaboration and create opportunities for employees to contribute their unique perspectives and expertise. Foster a culture of accountability where individuals feel empowered to take ownership of CX outcomes and are recognized for their contributions. By fostering a sense of community, you can tap into intrinsic motivation and create a sense of pride in driving CX outcomes.
One way to reinforce this sense of community is to engage your employees as a source of ongoing CX insights. By raising the “clue consciousness” of your employee via training in Clue Scanning (see my review for Clued In and my Reimagining Insights series in collaboration with Lou Carbone), you can generate a shared vocabulary and shift the mindsets of your leaders, managers, and frontline employees so that they can contribute to ongoing conversations about the clues they spot along the customer journey. This is akin to best practices from quality management, where empowered and engaged employees with the right skills contribute to a significant cumulative impact on enterprise value.
Celebrate milestones and successes
Recognize and celebrate milestones and successes along the CX journey. Think of this as your internal CX journey to become a more customer-driven organization (note that when we talk about sparking ideas there is a triple meaning for the customer journey, your company’s journey, and your own journey as a CX leader). What are your peaks on your company’s journey and how can you celebrate them better? Acknowledge and reward individuals and teams who have made significant contributions to advancing your CX priorities. Share success stories and highlight the positive impact of CX initiatives on customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business results. Celebrating milestones not only boosts motivation but also reinforces the importance of CX and the value it brings to the organization. By celebrating successes, you create a positive and motivating environment that fuels sustained commitment to your CX priorities.
Continuously communicate progress
Regularly communicate the progress of CX initiatives to keep employees engaged and motivated. Share updates on key metrics, customer feedback, and the impact of CX initiatives on business outcomes. Use various communication channels such as town hall meetings, internal newsletters, and other drip feed learning and communications to keep employees informed and engaged. Transparency and open communication foster trust and ensure that employees understand the importance of their contributions to CX success. By continuously communicating progress, you maintain motivation and keep CX priorities top of mind.
In conclusion, building and sustaining motivation for your CX priorities is crucial for driving your desired outcomes and maximizing the ROI of your CX investments. By communicating a compelling vision, fostering a customer-driven culture, providing resources and support, fostering a sense of community, celebrating milestones, and continuously communicating progress, you can create an environment that motivates employees to actively contribute to your CX initiatives and achieve sustainable success. Remember, evolving the culture is not a one-time effort but an ongoing process that requires consistent attention and nurturing!
See my book reviews for Leading Outside the Lines, Linchpin, and The Catalyst for more on these topics. You may also enjoy two articles I collaborated on featured in Strategy + Business, Activating Culture is Key to Making Customer-Centricity Stick and The Inside Out Approach to Customer-Centricity. You can find links to these and other relevant articles on our website here.
I hope this blog sparked some great ideas for you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to discuss these opportunities further.