Lost in Translation: Decrypting CX for the C-Suite

By Lauren Feehrer, CCXP posted 21 days ago


This article was originally published on LinkedIn:

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the CX Leaders Advance, an annual conference hosted by the Customer Experience Professionals Association™ (CXPA). This gathering brought together practitioners from corporations, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and nonprofits worldwide, totaling 170 attendees spanning 5 continents who converged in Denver, Colorado. Among them were 70 Certified Customer Experience Professionals (CCXPs) and 7 CX authors.

In this room, I feel a sense of belonging—it's clear this is my tribe. From discussions on Voice of the Customer (VOC) to crafting Emotional North Stars, from mapping predictive journeys to stakeholder engagement, we share a common language of CX.

It's no surprise—we all have our industry acronyms, professional vernaculars, and the idiosyncrasies of our respective organizations. I'm reminded of a company I once consulted for, which endeavored to eliminate this complexity with the mantra "acronym-free in 2003." However, like many well-intentioned endeavors, the reality often fell short, leaving us chuckling at our slips into acronym-laden conversations.

This year’s conference theme was centered around influence and impact. How do we wield influence in the C-suite? How do we sway finance to support our initiatives? How do we collaborate effectively with IT to synthesize data?

Perhaps the most impactful statement of the conference: stop talking about CX.

My mom still doesn’t understand what I do. Thanks to fellow attendee, speaker, and author Michael Hinshaw, I can now explain it: I help companies increase growth and profitability by screwing their customers less.

Many of us started off in this profession by reading a book called Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine.

It seems like simple guidance, but it’s a massive ship turn for companies to truly put customers at the heart of everything we do.

And now it’s time for CX professionals to eat our own dog food, drink our own champagne, or—the PC version, “eat at our own restaurant.”

So here are my five tips straight from the conference for CX leaders to stop talking about CX and apply an Outside-In approach:

  1. Know Your CEO Persona: Thanks to a session led by Bryan Sander, CCXP and CX leader at AAA and Erin Wallace, NPSx Director at Bain: Get to know your CEO persona. Understand their timeline, their goal of organizational growth and value enhancement, and what leaving a legacy means to them. Dive into how the CEO allocates their time. And here's my favorite idea: create a CEO empathy map, delving into their thoughts and feelings, what they hear and see, and their pains and gains around what your proposing.
  2. Master the CX Story Canvas: Nienke Bloem, a CCXP and trainer from the Netherlands, introduced a valuable concept during her session: the CX Story Canvas. Her insights help reshape our approach to communication as CX leaders. Instead of relying on CX jargon, we must prioritize crafting narratives that resonate on a human level. We are refining our storytelling skills to create narratives that establish urgency, present the strategy succinctly in under 10 minutes, and clearly articulate our needs when seeking support. Gone are the days of generic requests for "C-suite commitment"; we must make specific, actionable asks that drive results.
  3. Calculate ROI Effectively: Sebastien Munar, CCXP and CX Economist, emphasized the importance of calculating and managing the return on investment (ROI) of the customer experience. He stressed treating customers as financial assets within a portfolio, assigning them value ratings. Munar urged us to explore how we can influence the profit and loss (P&L) statement in collaboration with our finance team, ensuring alignment with corporate objectives and the company's stage in its lifecycle. For instance, a startup or growth-stage company may prioritize increasing top-line revenue, while a mature organization may focus more on optimizing bottom-line profitability and reducing operational expenses.
  4. Advise the C-Suite Strategically: From Eytan Hattem, CCXP and CEO of the terrific software company Cemantica: Serve as an advisor to your C-suite. Inform them how strategic decisions will impact the customer. Make the CEO see the full breadth of customers, not just their limited view based on the anecdotes they’ve heard from the small group of customers they know.
  5. Bring the Puzzle Pieces Together (IT, Finance, and CX): And finally, inspired by our keynote speaker Roxie Strohmenger, CCXP and VP of CX Strategy at UKG, let's focus on bringing the pieces together. Cultivate strong ties with IT and Finance to harness the right data. Embrace your inner data scientist/CPA. Stay attuned to your audience's mindset. Embrace your inner marketer/storyteller. Ensure your team is well-equipped. And most importantly, continue to rally the organization toward our collective goals.

As CX leaders, we have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to shape the future of our organizations. Let's stop talking CX. Instead, let's start acting on it.

LoyaltyCraft was built out of a passion for helping companies create meaningful customer experiences. Founded in 2016 by Lauren Feehrer CCXP, we focus on strategy, qualitative research, customer design, and employee engagement to help mid-market companies open the door to new customers and keep existing ones from leaving out the backdoor.