Wise Use of Champions in Customer Experience Governance

By Lynn Hunsaker, CCXP posted 05-22-2015 08:47 AM


Many customer experience efforts start off with a small group of people conducting a survey. The idea is to show the results to management and then figure out what needs to be done. This may go on for a few survey cycles in order to show a compelling trend, or to assure managers that the status quo is acceptable or fodder for public relations and customer engagement. Most often, the small group gets consumed in survey administration, and takes pride in the micro level of improvement: responding to survey action alerts. Consequently, most customer experience programs have little bandwidth or know-how for engaging the company in acting on customers' collective requests and patterns in the customer insights. This is a big problem because the micro level changes aren't enough to move the needle for the whole customer base. They're insufficient for differentiating the customer experience, getting ROI on the survey itself, and sustaining business growth.

What's needed are customer experience champions to drive awareness and action in every nook and cranny of your company. Don't just throw VoC over the fence to business unit champions. Carefully plan their selection criteria, roles, skill-building, routines, processes, and communication with their CX champion peers. This planning is part of customer experience governance -- an essential yet oft-overlooked factor for successful (read: revenue-building) customer experience management.

This post is the second in a series of 3 articles to cover 3 keys to getting it right: (1) CXM infrastructure, (2) CX champions, and (3) CX momentum.

2. CX Champions: Localized ownership of CX success, deeply and broadly across employees, is key to making customer experience excellence a way of life in your company. (And that's more cost-effective than investing in remedial efforts to make up for what wasn't done right the first time.)

DO THIS: Set up C-team customer experience leadership roles and processes.

  • Determine selection criteria for CX champions in every business unit, region and functional area. (charisma, know-how in driving change, organizational learning, quality tools, organizational savvy)
  • Make CX championing a significant part of their other duties, and strengthen their skills for facilitation, story-telling, and influence.
  • Teach champions how to motivate action on root cause issue resolution. (i.e. ask "why?" 5 times to get to the true root cause)
  • Enable grass-roots ideas for CX improvement and innovation to be piloted by CX leaders.
  • And wallpaper employees' world with customer-centered messaging and opportunities.

NOT THAT: Don't assign CX management to a department or rely on tribal knowledge.

  • Avoid underestimating the dynamic skill set needed to influence others without authority over them, and to drive progress over the long haul.
  • Refrain from keeping CX champions separate from active roles specific to their organization.
  • Don't assume executive sponsors automatically know how to be effective in their role.
  • If you can see that the company's money comes from customers' choices to do business with you, then don't give CX championing short-shrift!

Choose your company's CX leader wisely:  The advice above is especially important in appointing an overall leader who should work with the C-team as their agent for facilitating all CX management. Warm bodies, bright minds, or a stellar specialized career path might initially seem like a good fit for this role, but you're better off to appoint someone who already knows a lot about CX, holistically (not siloed), and who has a rich career background in overall business management, process improvement methods, systems thinking, change management, and driving momentum in large initiatives through influence.

Customer experience governance is one of the FIRST things you should tackle in setting up your CX endeavors — or overhauling them, or updating them for the new fiscal year or quarter. If you haven't set it up yet, don't delay. Time is of the essence. It's actually a quite exciting component of CX management, one that requires a lot of strategic thinking and creative solutions.


  1. Customer Experience Governance is part of Organizational Adoption and Accountability, one of the six domains in the body of knowledge advocated by the CXPA. (ClearAction offers a CCXP Exam Prep Course.)
  2. The concept of "Do This, Not That" is borrowed from the popular book "Eat This, Not That", where the weaknesses of common practices and myths are brought to light and sensible replacements are recommended.

Other articles in this series:

  • Customer Experience Strategy: Do This, Not That
  • Customer-Centered Culture: Do This, Not That
  • Voice of the Customer: Do This, Not That
  • Customer Journey Mapping: Do This, Not That
  • B2B Customer Experience: Do This, Not That

  • Image purchased under license from Shutterstock.

    #EmployeeEngagement #AssociateEngagement #ChangeManagement #ProjectManagement #BestPractices



    05-24-2015 12:40 AM

    Thanks, Sarah. It's always nice to see what readers think! I appreciate your views.

    05-22-2015 11:11 AM

    Another great piece from you chock-full of wisdom.
    "empowered and accountable" = Such critical words to successful CX governance.