In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, agility is crucial for organizations to stay competitive and meet the ever-changing needs of customers. This holds true for CX initiatives as well. As a CX leader, you likely recognize the importance of adopting a more agile approach to work on CX opportunities. This means embracing flexibility, adaptability, and continuous improvement in your CX strategy and execution. These are key themes in my book review for Adaptive Enterprise, by Stephan Haeckel, and also a key area of focus in my video discussion with Lou Carbone here about the shift from a make-and-sell economy to the post-industrial age where experiences are paramount.
Let's explore 10 complementary approaches to reinforce agile behaviors as part of your customer-driven culture that will help you accelerate and amplify value from your investments in your prioritized CX opportunities.
1. Embrace iterative and incremental development
Instead of pursuing large-scale CX initiatives that take months or even years to implement, embrace an iterative and incremental approach. Break projects down into smaller, manageable components and deliver value incrementally. In my book review for The Lean Startup I wrote about how you can rank your CX opportunities with “green, yellow, red” scores, where green can be pursued out of the box, yellow require process and data workarounds for which a manageable number of yellow opportunities can be chosen to work on in the short term, and those marked red require larger investments to fix the foundation before you can make meaningful progress. This allows for faster feedback loops and enables you to course-correct and refine your approach based on customer insights and changing market dynamics.
2. Build alignment on your CX playbook
Traditional hierarchical structures often hinder agility. Instead, adopt a cross-functional team-based approach to your CX initiatives. Bring together individuals from different departments with diverse skills and perspectives. This fosters collaboration, knowledge sharing, and faster decision-making. Cross-functional teams can respond more quickly to customer needs, make data-driven decisions, and adapt to emerging opportunities. Take this a step further and define a playbook for how your teams will work on your prioritized CX opportunities, building alignment for the specific roles and ways of working across ideate, test, and scale stages of your CX playbook.
3. Adopt agile methodologies
Agile methodologies, such as Scrum or Kanban, offer frameworks to manage CX initiatives in an iterative and collaborative manner. Implement agile practices, such as daily stand-up meetings, sprint planning, and retrospectives, to promote transparency, accountability, and continuous improvement. These methodologies enable you to prioritize work, manage dependencies, and respond to changing customer needs efficiently. For most companies a monthly sprint cycle will be sufficient to capture the benefits of an “agile-esque” approach to your CX playbook. If you aspire to be a more of an ecommerce company (like Dominoes now sees itself as an ecommerce company that sells pizza), you can push the velocity of your sprints to be much more frequent.
4. Empower your teams with clear decision-making authority
To enable agility, empower cross-functional teams with decision-making authority. Provide them with the autonomy and resources they need to make decisions and take action. Encourage experimentation and a learn-fast mentality, where teams can learn from both successes and failures. By empowering teams, you foster a culture of ownership and accountability, which leads to faster and more effective CX improvements.
5. Leverage technology and automation
Technology plays a vital role in enabling agility. Invest in CX tools and platforms that streamline processes, automate tasks, and provide real-time insights. Often it will make the most sense to weave together platforms with complementary strengths. For example, in developing the tech roadmaps as part of broader CX transformation efforts, many clients have implemented platforms for customer listening, 1st party data management, content management, and data-driven journey orchestration.
These platforms increasingly use AI and machine learning to analyze customer data, identify patterns, and generate actionable insights. Automation frees up time for your teams to focus on value-added activities and accelerates the pace of CX improvements. For more on these opportunities, see my AI & CX blog series here, as well as my video discussions with Greg Kihlstrom here.
6. Embrace the use of low-code platforms
Low code platforms such as Salesforce, Mendix, OutSystems, and Appian Corporation enable you to build out the UX/UI for your CX opportunities much more quickly at far lower cost. Low code platforms enable you to create a “design template system” where you can reuse objects that are common elements for your CX across different digital assets. You can also tap into the growing communities of freelance talent skilled in UX/UI using specific low code platforms. See my earlier blog on Disrupting the Operating Model for Emerging Companies for other ideas to embrace agility and greater flexibility.
7. Encourage a learning culture
Agility requires a learning mindset and supporting behaviors to encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Foster a safe environment where employees feel comfortable experimenting, sharing ideas, and learning from one another. Provide opportunities for training and upskilling to enhance the capabilities of your CX teams. Embrace a data-driven approach, where decisions are based on insights and analytics.
8. Promote open communication and collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration are essential for agility. Encourage open and transparent communication channels within and across teams. Emphasize the importance of sharing knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned. Leverage collaboration tools and platforms to facilitate virtual collaboration, especially in the context of remote or hybrid work environments.
9. Embrace customer feedback loops
Agile organizations prioritize customer feedback as a valuable source of insights. Establish mechanisms to collect and analyze customer feedback in real-time, expanding your CX listening posts to tap into additional sources of experience (X) data beyond surveys. Implement feedback loops that leverage insights from your X data to optimize your approach to user testing, social listening, and more proactively engaging customers with messaging during the customer journey (i.e., next best content and action). Regularly incorporate customer feedback into your decision-making process to drive iterative CX improvements. For more on getting beyond surveys, see this blog here in my AI & CX series.
10. Measure and track key performance indicators (KPIs)
Establish relevant KPIs to monitor the effectiveness of your agile CX approach. Define metrics that align with your strategic objectives and provide insights into the impact of your initiatives. Don’t focus on a “golden metric” such as NPS or CSAT alone, but weave this together within a system of metrics that allow you to better monitor your progress on your CX opportunities and see the impact on business outcomes. I recommend building out a set of “IF…THEN” statements for your CX opportunities, where the IF portion focuses on what you will change in the experience for specific personas on their journey, and the THEN portion gets specific about the business outcomes you will monitor to prove out the impact of your CX investments. Your metrics can combine a set of experience (X) data that measure what your customers are thinking, feeling, and saying and a set of operational (O) data that measures their behaviors. Your X and O data tied to your IF…THEN statements will have much more measurable linkages to business outcomes and will lend themselves better to your agile approach. Regularly track and analyze these metrics to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions as part of your agile teams working on your CX opportunities.
In conclusion, creating a more agile approach for working on CX opportunities requires an intentional approach to evolve your customer-driven culture. By embracing these ten complementary approaches you can enhance your organization's ability to respond quickly and effectively to customer needs. Remember, agility is not a one-time effort but a continuous journey of adaptability and improvement.
To see the other blogs in this series on how you can Drive Change & Evolve the Culture, click here.